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AT&T donates to South Bend learning center

Peter Durbin | Friday, March 1, 2013

AT&T Indiana recently made a $10,000 donation to the Robinson Community Learning Center to cultivate a sense of entrepreneurial spirit in South Bend area youth.

The contribution comes from the AT&T Aspire Program, which donates money to various organizations that help students prepare for college and future careers.  According to an AT&T press release, the Aspire Program has committed $350 million to programs around the country.

The Center works with local middle and high school students, providing them with opportunities for exposure to various business facets.

Jennifer Knapp Beudert, manager of the Robinson Learning Center, said part of the Center’s mission is to work to develop the professional ability of community children.

“We’ve been working with youth in the community to teach entrepreneurial concepts such as idea generation, problem solving, how to write a business plan and public speaking,” Beudert said.

These students work with mentors from the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Mendoza College of Business, who help turn ideas into business plans.

Some of these plans become a reality, and Beudert said the Robinson Center hopes this monetary donation will further benefit students who recognize the importance of creative thinking.

“Providing opportunities for tomorrow’s leaders to acquire skills that will contribute to their future success is one of the best investments any company can make,” said Beudert in an AT&T press release.

 George S. Fleetwood, president of AT&T Indiana, said his company is invested in the area.

     “We’re dedicated to the communities we serve, and I’m very proud to be part of a company that gives back like we do,” Fleetwood said.

AT&T started the Aspire program in 2008 to cultivate growth today’s youth.
“Since 2008 the major thrust of our foundation’s giving has been on high school retention, graduation rates and preparedness for the workforce,” Fleetwood said.

This is the second donation AT&T has made to the Robinson Center.

“AT&T has long been a supporter of the Robinson Center and the University of Notre Dame and we appreciate their partnership in our efforts to develop the next generation of young entrepreneurs,” Beudert said in the release.

Fleetwood said he prioritizes a sense of purpose in young people and the prospect of their future.    “The youth of our community are our most precious resource,” Fleetwood said in the release. “The young entrepreneurs of today will develop into the business leaders that companies like AT&T will look to for leadership in the future.”

The partnership between the two organizations culminates in the “Summer Biz Camp” and an Entrepreneurship class, according to the AT&T press release.