Just in time for back-to-school season, Kevin Hart teamed up with The Children’s Place to open a new learning space at a community center in New York City’s East Harlem neighborhood late last month.
The award-winning actor and comedian helped cut the ribbon at The Children Place’s first reading center packed with over 2,000 new books at NYC Parks’ Thomas Jefferson Recreation Center.
“Today is a big day. We’re in East Harlem, and we’re unveiling one of 10 learning centers for kids,” said Hart at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 26. “You’ve got to understand what this does. It incentivizes kids to create, to be active, to dream.”
The 43-year-old father of four encouraged children at the recreation center to explore the world through books by reading a passage from his book Marcus Makes a Movie” to a group of students. The book is about a middle school boy who dreams of creating his own blockbuster superhero film.
In addition, Hart, who appears alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the new film DC League of Super-Pets, also handed out back-to-school supplies, clothes, and backpacks to students and parents at the event.
“Whether opening a new book, taking on a new challenge in the classroom, or making memories with fellow students, these are the times that most impact a child’s life,” said the comic.
The initiative is part of The Children’s Place’s 2022 Back-to-School campaign, which includes a plan to revitalize 10 public spaces as learning centers in underserved communities across the country. The retailer will also donate books, school supplies, and products to students in need.
“The Children’s Place is committed to giving back, and moreover, we understand the importance of access to education and supporting key moments that will shape children’s lives,” said Maegan Markee, senior vice president of Marketing of The Children’s Place, Inc in a news release. “Kevin Hart was the perfect partner to help launch this year’s back-to-school campaign. He too advocates for children’s continued education, both in and out of the classroom, and as a father, sees firsthand the impact that access to books and both play and practice materials can have on a child’s life.”
The Children’s Place also partnered with ThriftBooks, the leading independent online seller of new and used books, which is donating more than 20,000 books to the 10 centers.
“It’s motivating for the kids. They can see someone that they see on TV and in movies who’s reading a book, who’s publishing a book, and they can see, understand how reading and books play an important part in their lives,” said Barbara Hagen, the VP of Sales and Marketing at ThiftBooks, at the event. She added that reading opens a realm of opportunities for kids that includes education and creativity. “They can start to see that the world is full of possibilities.”
Watch a recap of the opening ceremony below.