For the City Times
Domtar employee volunteers read to students at Nekoosa Head Start, and were joined by the Student Conservation Association and Miss Wisconsin Rapids Area for a community conservation project that included Humke Elementary Kindergartners.
NEKOOSA — Employee volunteers from Domtar Corporation (NYSE: UFS) (TSX: UFS) visited local Humke Elementary students to read and donate 133 new books to students of the Nekoosa Head Start Program, as part of its partnership with First Book.
Domtar employees were joined by Ally Ratliff, Coordinator of Corporate and Community Engagement at the Student Conservation Association—another longtime Domtar partner—and Miss Wisconsin Rapids Area, to lead a hands-on community conservation project with Nekoosa Head Start students and Humke Elementary Kindergarteners. Domtar makes a wide variety of everyday products from sustainable wood fiber, and is one of the world’s largest producers of a complete line of absorbent hygiene solutions and an innovator in absorbent technology. Domtar is the largest employer in Nekoosa and employs nearly 450 people in the local community.
“Domtar is so grateful for the wonderful relationship that we’ve developed with the students and teachers of Nekoosa Head Start and Humke Elementary School through our book grants, volunteer reading events, and conservation projects,” said Domtar Corporate Responsibility Manager, Heather Alverson Stowe. “We’re committed to promoting literacy and sustainability, two of Domtar’s core corporate giving pillars, which is why we continue to partner with First Book to put books in the hands of children in our local schools, and spearhead community conservation projects with the Student Conservation Association that engage our employees, benefit our neighbors, and enrich our environment.”
Over the last year, Domtar has provided multiple grants to local schools in Nekoosa and the greater Wisconsin City Rapids area to purchase more than 400 books from First Book for students to read and enjoy. As part of its Powerful Pages campaign, Domtar has partnered with First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides books to children in need, since 2012 to provide more than half a million dollars in grants to schools and programs in towns that are home to Domtar facilities.
Domtar’s grants provide funding to educators to purchase books through the First Book Marketplace, a website available exclusively to First Book programs, and then the school’s children are able to bring home the new books.
“Access to books is transformational in the lives of our children and the educators who serve them,” said Kyle Zimmer, First Book president and CEO. “Domtar’s work with First Book has opened up a world of opportunities to children who might not otherwise have books at home.”
In addition to reading books to the Nekoosa Head Start students, Domtar employee volunteers were joined by Ally Ratliff, Coordinator of Corporate and Community Engagement at the Student Conservation Association, and Miss Wisconsin Rapids Area, in making “seed balls” with Nekoosa Head Start students, as well as Humke Elementary Kindergarteners. Making seed balls is a fun, hands-on conservation project that creates a pollinator-friendly environment for the local community. By combining soil, clay, and native seeds, volunteers are able to produce quarter-sized “balls” that grow into pollinating wildflower. Seed balls can be easily “planted” in yards, flowerpots, or placed in lots to attract birds, butterflies, and similar pollinators.
Since 2012, Domtar has partnered with the Student Conservation Association to lead conservation and restoration projects that promote sustainability in the local communities where Domtar operates. The Student Conservation Association provides opportunities for young people to make a positive impact on the world around them by protecting, enhancing, and restoring national parks, marine sanctuaries, cultural landmarks and urban green spaces.
“The Student Conservation Association stands for service, stewardship, and sustainability – and seed ball events combine all three with equal doses of teamwork and fun,” said Student Conservation Association President and CEO Jaime Matyas. “Pollinator populations urgently need help, making these projects ideal for companies that want to aid our environment as well as our communities.”