Music, Sports, Action!

On Nov. 5, Villa—a specialty retailer of urban apparel and footwear with 24 stores in Pennsylvania—hosted a service day at West Philadelphia High School, with musician and humanitarian Wyclef Jean, The Timberland Co. and NBA Cares getting in on the action. “Our mission is to educate and inspire youth in inner cities, especially Philadelphia, to become community leaders,” Villa CEO Jason Lutz said, explaining the reasoning behind the retailer’s Big Serve initiative. Last week’s effort marked Villa’s largest service event to date.

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On Nov. 5, Villa—a specialty retailer of urban apparel and footwear with 24 stores in Pennsylvania—hosted a service day at West Philadelphia High School, with musician and humanitarian Wyclef Jean, The Timberland Co. and NBA Cares getting in on the action. “Our mission is to educate and inspire youth in inner cities, especially Philadelphia, to become community leaders,” Villa CEO Jason Lutz said, explaining the reasoning behind the retailer’s Big Serve initiative. Last week’s effort marked Villa’s largest service event to date.
Wyclef—recently tapped as one of Timberland’s Earthkeeper Heroes, who are aiming to spark a new movement of environmental and social activism—gave the opening remarks alongside Philly mayor Michael Nutter. Afterward, Wyclef talked with students about the history of hip-hop and the significance of respect, and Philadelphia 76ers players and coaches spoke about the importance of leadership and how sports can effect social change and activism within communities. More than 125 volunteers—including Villa employees and some of the 76ers—also lent a hand to enhance the school, undertaking various projects such as building an outdoor classroom, overhauling the student lounge, creating murals in several school offices and halls and freshening up the weight room.
Lutz said Villa selected West Philadelphia High School as its latest benefactor based on the school’s transformative impact on students and the community at large.  “We see this school as a true beacon of hope for urban schools,” he noted.
“It’s an honor to be a part of a community initiative that engages and motivates youth, and shares our own purpose and passion,” said Theresa Palermo, senior director of marketing for Timberland North America. “We thank Wyclef Jean and the 76ers for sharing such valuable life lessons with these students today, and we commend Villa for the meaningful work they continue to do in the city of Philadelphia.” Timberland is planning future events surrounding its Earthkeepers program, hoping to combine music, product, digital media, social networking and service projects to incite consumers to action. In turn, the Stratham, NH-based brand is giving $2 from every pair of Earthkeepers Yéle Haiti boots sold to Wyclef’s Yéle Haiti organization, to support reforestation in his native Haiti. Villa is the first metro Philadelphia location to be carrying the Yéle Haiti collection, which features recycled and organic materials.

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