community-outreach
Associates from Aaron's, Inc., a leading omnichannel provider of lease-purchase solutions, and its divisions Aaron's and Progressive Leasing, unveiled the newly renovated Keystone Teen Center at the Lied Boys & Girls Club of Southern Nevada on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 in Las Vegas. Keystone is Boys & Girls Clubs of America's premier teen leadership program, helping teens develop their character and leadership skills in hopes of helping them reach their potential and creative positive change in their community. (Isaac Brekken/AP Images for Aaron's, Inc.)

Aaron’s, Inc. and its divisions Aaron’s and Progressive Leasing surprised teens on Wednesday with this newly renovated Keystone Teen Center at the Lied Boys & Girls Club of Southern Nevada. As part of Aaron’s three-year, $5 million partnership with Keystone, which inspires teens to “Own It” by taking ownership of their choices to build the lives they deserve, Aaron’s associates have remodeled 19 Keystone Teen Centers across the U.S.

Aaron’s, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), a leading omnichannel provider of lease-purchase solutions, and its divisions Aaron’s and Progressive Leasing, surprised teens on Wednesday with a newly renovated Keystone Teen Center at the Lied Boys & Girls Club of Southern Nevada.

Through a partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and input from the teen members, Aaron’s associates and Club officials worked on Monday painting, decorating and furnishing a computer study room, game zone, and lounge area at the Club. On Wednesday, local Aaron’s associates and Club officials unveiled the new space, which is now equipped with new technology, sectionals, tables and chairs, sound systems and fresh coats of paint. Teens chose the special Sherwin-Williams™ paint colors for the rooms: Surfin Blue, Olympus White, Wishful Blue and Chalkboard Paint.

“Our 19th refresh in Las Vegas demonstrates Aaron’s continued commitment to helping teens across the country reach their full potential by providing the resources to allow them to grow as leaders in their communities,” said John Robinson, CEO of Aaron’s, Inc. “The Lied Clubhouse is vital for providing local teens a safe after-school space and we are certain this refresh will energize the club and attract more teen members who will become community leaders.”

Associates from Aaron's, Inc., a leading omnichannel provider of lease-purchase solutions, and its divisions Aaron's and Progressive Leasing, unveiled the newly renovated Keystone Teen Center at the Lied Boys & Girls Club of Southern Nevada on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 in Las Vegas. Keystone is Boys & Girls Clubs of America's premier teen leadership program, helping teens develop their character and leadership skills in hopes of helping them reach their potential and creative positive change in their community. (Isaac Brekken/AP Images for Aaron's, Inc.)

Keystone teen members of the Lied Boys & Girls Club of Southern Nevada were surprised on Wednesday when associates from Aaron’s, Inc., a leading omnichannel provider of lease-purchase solutions, and its divisions Aaron’s and Progressive Leasing, unveiled a newly renovated Keystone Teen Center in Las Vegas. As part of Aaron’s three-year, $5 million national partnership with Keystone, Aaron’s associates have remodeled 19 Keystone Teen Centers across the U.S.

In 2015, the Aaron’s Foundation, Inc. announced a three-year, $5 million national partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Keystone Program, helping teens develop their character and leadership skills in hopes of helping them reach their potential and creating positive change in the community. Keystone Club teen centers provide members ages 14-18 an environment to plan and participate in activities that focus on community service, academic success, career preparation and teen outreach.

The 18 previous Keystone Club makeovers have included Boys & Girls Clubs in cities such as Los Angeles, San Antonio, Nashville, Buffalo, Chicago and Miami. The makeover at the Lied Boys & Girls Club of Southern Nevada includes an additional in-kind retail donation valued at $28,000.

“Thanks to our partnership with Aaron’s, our community has an improved and updated space for teens, as well as a shining example of how giving back can make a big change,” said Tomarco Glasper, Clubhouse Director of the Lied Boys & Girls Club of Southern Nevada. “We were so excited to see our members’ jubilant reaction to the remodeled club and we know it will inspire teens to work even harder to become leaders and own their futures.”

Aaron’s partnership with BGCA’s Keystone Program inspires teens to “Own It” by taking ownership of their choices to build the lives they deserve. The Aaron’s and Keystone Club “Own Your Future” campaign supports three principles:

  • Own Your Path:  No matter where you come from, the future is yours to decide.
  • Own Your Decisions:  Making good choices opens more doors for your future.
  • Own Your Community:  Use your talents to make an impact in your community.

To see photos of the Keystone Club remodel at the Lied Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada, visit Aaron’s on Facebook (www.facebook.com/aaronsinc), on Twitter (www.twitter.com/AaronsInc) and at www.AaronsGives.com.

About Aaron’s, Inc.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Aaron’s, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), is a leading omnichannel provider of lease-purchase solutions. Aaron’s Business engages in the sales and lease ownership and specialty retailing of furniture, consumer electronics, home appliances and accessories through its more than 1,860 Company-operated and franchised stores in 47 states and Canada as well as its e-commerce platform Aarons.com. In addition, Progressive Leasing, a virtual lease-to-own company, provides lease-purchase solutions through approximately 22,000 retail locations in 46 states. Dent-A-Med, Inc., d/b/a the HELPcard®, provides a variety of second-look credit products that are originated through federally insured banks. For more information, visit investor.aarons.com, Aarons.com, ProgLeasing.com, and HELPcard.com.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,100 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at www.facebook.com/bgca.clubs and https://twitter.com/BGCA_Clubs.

 

2017-03.15 WDC 154 family

Georgia resident Lula Jobir and her son receive the keys to their new Habitat Home from former NFL star Warrick Dunn, founder of Warrick Dunn Charities (WDC), as part of the Homes for the Holidays (HFTH) program.

Aaron’s, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), a leading omnichannel provider of lease-purchase solutions, and its divisions Aaron’s and Progressive Leasing, provided the home furnishings this week for a Surprise Home Presentation to Snellville, Georgia resident Lula Jobir and her son as part of Homes for the Holidays (HFTH) program sponsored by former NFL star Warrick Dunn and Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity.

“Aaron’s is excited to continue our meaningful partnership with Warrick Dunn Charities to help make a difference in single parents’ lives across the county,” said John Robinson, CEO of Aaron’s, Inc. “It’s clear that Lula has worked hard to achieve her dreams and we’re proud to contribute to her and her son’s bright futures by furnishing her new home with beds, furniture, electronics and appliances.”

Warrick Dunn Charities’ (WDC) Homes for the Holidays assists single parents in becoming first-time homeowners by providing the materials necessary for long-term stability and the provisions required to ensure that both parent and children can thrive educationally, socially and economically. To date, in partnership with Aaron’s and Habitat for Humanity affiliates, WDC and its sponsors have rewarded 154 single parents and over 400 children and dependents with the American Dream of first-time homeownership in 15 cities across the nation. This fall marks WDC’s 20th year in assisting single parents and their families through the Homes for the Holidays program.

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This featured bedroom is one of the rooms that Aaron’s, Inc. filled with furniture, electronics and appliances in Georgia resident Lula Jobir’s new Habitat home. The home, filled with furniture, electronics and appliances from Aaron’s, Inc.

Lula Jobir arrived in the United States 16 years ago as an Ethiopian immigrant seeking asylum from the country’s harsh politics, gaining her U.S. citizenship in 2011. She is moving out of a two-bedroom apartment she lived in with her mother, sister and son, with whom she shared a room. She works as a certified animal care tech at Emory University.

“Our fundamental goal at Warrick Dunn Charities is to provide single parents with financial stability and, thanks to Aaron’s, these families are able to begin their new lives with homes full of furniture, electronics and appliances,” said Dunn. “I began this charity as a tribute to my mother’s dream of homeownership and Lula embodies that dream with her dedication and unwavering enthusiasm every time she talks about living in her family’s new beautiful home.”

Aaron’s has been a longtime supporter of WDC initiatives and began contributing home furnishings, appliances and electronics to the Homes for the Holidays program in 2003. Warrick Dunn Charities, founded by former NFL star Warrick Dunn, was registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2002.

About Aaron’s, Inc.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Aaron’s, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), is a leading omnichannel provider of lease-purchase solutions. Aaron’s Business engages in the sales and lease ownership and specialty retailing of furniture, consumer electronics, home appliances and accessories through its more than 1,860 Company-operated and franchised stores in 47 states and Canada as well as its e-commerce platform Aarons.com. In addition, Progressive Leasing, a virtual lease-to-own company, provides lease-purchase solutions through approximately 22,000 retail locations in 46 states. Dent-A-Med, Inc., d/b/a the HELPcard®, provides a variety of second-look credit products that are originated through federally insured banks. For more information, visit investor.aarons.com, Aarons.com, ProgLeasing.com, and HELPcard.com.

About Warrick Dunn Charities
Warrick Dunn Charities provides hope and healing to communities through innovative programming inspired by our Founder’s life journey. Since 1997, the Homes for the Holidays program has awarded 154 single parents and over 400 children and dependents that have achieved first-time homeownership in Atlanta, GA, Baltimore, MD, Baton Rouge, LA, Dallas, TX, Jacksonville, FL, Tallahassee and Tampa, FL Serving single-parent families nationwide, WDC and its partners have combated poverty, hunger and ensure families have basic necessities and comfortable surroundings to improve their quality of life. For more information, visit www.wdc.org.

YMCA kids and their new bedsThere they were, 80 beds, lined up in the gymnasium each perfectly outfitted with pillows, sheets and comforter. On March 4, 2017, 80 deserving area K-5 children and their families took part in a huge slumber party at the Sterling – Rock Falls, Illinois YMCA.  They played games, enjoyed great food, went swimming and watched a movie before falling asleep on a brand new bed.  At the end of the night they were told they get to keep the beds, too.  None of these children had a bed at home to sleep in, but now, thanks to Watershed Development Corporation and its local business and community partners they are in for some sweet slumber.

Watershed, which operates an Aaron’s franchise store in Sterling, the Sterling-Rock Falls Family YMCA, Candlelight Inn, and the Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, collaborated with schools in Sterling, Rock Falls and Morrison, to identify deserving K-5 students without a bed.  Mike Ceruzzi, Sterling resident and Watershed vice president, stated, “this small idea has grown into a great collaboration with partners who understand there is a need in this community and are willing to take action to address it. “We are pleased and excited to be a part of it.”

YMCA partners

YMCA Partners L to R; Matt Prescott, Mike Ceruzzi, Kris Noble, Scott Wallingford, Andy Thornton.

Sunday morning the kids were treated to breakfast before they went home.  Then Watershed’s associates rallied its fleet of trucks and delivered the beds to their new homes. Casey Pristou, Watershed’s President related, “My son, Derek, and I delivered beds to a number of homes Sunday morning.  I realized just how special the effort was during our very first delivery.  As we approached the house we heard a young girl’s voice from inside screaming with excitement ‘mommy, mommy, my new bed is here!’”

“Beds might not be the first things that come to mind when you think of the basics some families need.

“Many times we can the take the simple things in life for granted,” YMCA CEO Andy Thornton said. “Something as simple as a bed with sheets and a blanket are easy to underappreciate. A project like this helps you evaluate your own life and the things that really matter.”  Ceruzzi added, “Without doubt this is among the most meaningful events we have ever done.  We are grateful for the opportunity to help.”

Click here to view more photos of the event.

About Watershed Development Corporation
Watershed owns and operates Aaron’s (NYSE – AAN) stores throughout Northern Illinois and Iowa.  Aaron’s is a leading rent-to-own company with more than 2,000 company and franchise stores throughout North America.  Watershed, a franchise operator since 2004, has earned the distinction of being an Aaron’s Top 5 Performing Franchise Operator multiple times since its inception and has been recognized as Aaron’s 2016 Franchise of the Year.

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(L to R) Grammy and Oscar winner Common, Houston Keystone Teen Kivin Gant; Washington, D.C. Keystone Teen Erikah Moore; and Chicago Police Department Deputy Chief of Community Relations Eric Washington led a discussion with 2,500 teens attending the Keystone Conference, sponsored by Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Aaron’s, Inc., and share ideas on how teens can engage in meaningful conversations with local leaders including law enforcement officials.

More than 2,500 teen leaders from around the country convened in Chicago this week for Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 50th annual Keystone Conference presented by Aaron’s, Inc. (NYSE: AAN) a leading omnichannel provider of lease-purchase solutions, and its divisions Aaron’s and Progressive Leasing. This morning, teens participated in a session on community policing featuring Grammy and Oscar winner Common, learning how to engage in conversations that help bridge relationships between teens and law enforcement. The conference kicked-off earlier this week with a newly renovated teen center at the Miguel A. Barreto Union League Boys & Girls Club in Chicago thanks to national partner Aaron’s.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Activate Your Legacy,” showing teens how they can develop and enhance leadership skills enabling participants to be leaders and ambassadors in their Clubs and communities. The first Keystone conference, in 1967, also took place in Chicago.

“Each day, Boys & Girls Clubs around the country inspire and empower teens to elevate their voice and activate their legacy to build a great future,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Thanks to the support of partners like Aaron’s, thousands of teens will realize opportunities to lead and make a difference in their Clubs and communities through the Keystone Club. The 50th anniversary of the Keystone Conference is a celebration of our incredible teens and the legacy of millions of Club alumni who have found their voice through their Boys & Girls Club.”

Associates from Aaron's, Inc., a leading omnichannel provider of lease-purchase solutions, unveiled the newly renovated Keystone Teen Center on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at the Union League Miguel A. Barreto Boys & Girls Club in Chicago, IL. Keystone is Boys & Girls Clubs of America's premier teen leadership program, helping teens develop their character and leadership skills in hopes of helping them reach their potential and creative positive change in their community. (Jean-Marc Giboux/AP Images for Aaron's, Inc.)The Miguel A. Barreto remodel was the 18th renovation made possible through a partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Aaron’s. With input from the teen members, Aaron’s associates and Club officials worked Monday painting, decorating and furnishing a study, games and lounge area the Club. On Wednesday, local Aaron’s associates and Club officials unveiled the new space, which is now equipped with new technology, sectionals, tables and chairs, sound systems and fresh coats of paint.

“For five decades, Keystone, Boys & Girls Club of America’s premier teen leadership program has transformed the lives of youth across our country, and Aaron’s is honored to help make a difference in these teens’ lives,” said John Robinson, CEO of Aaron’s, Inc. “The 50th Annual Keystone Conference is a shining example of how young people can learn to be leaders and affect social change even at their young age. Aaron’s is grateful to help America’s teens realize their potential by investing in this instrumental program.”

In 2015, the Aaron’s Foundation, Inc. announced a three-year, $5 million national partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Keystone Program, helping teens develop their character and leadership skills in hopes of helping them reach their potential and creating positive change in the community. Keystone Club teen centers provide members ages 14-18 an environment to plan and participate in activities that focus on community service, academic success, career preparation and teen outreach.

Aaron’s partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Keystone Program inspires teens to “Own It” by taking ownership of their choices to build the lives they deserve. The Aaron’s and Keystone Club “Own Your Future” campaign supports three principles:

  • Own Your Path: No matter where you come from, the future is yours to decide.
  • Own Your Decisions: Making good choices opens more doors for your future.
  • Own Your Community: Use your talents to make an impact in your community.

To see photos of the Keystone Club remodel and the 50th Keystone Conference, visit Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/bgca) or Aaron’s on Facebook (www.facebook.com/aaronsinc), on Twitter (www.twitter.com/AaronsInc) and at www.AaronsGives.com.

About Aaron’s, Inc. Headquartered in Atlanta, Aaron’s, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), is a leading omnichannel provider of lease-purchase solutions. Aaron’s Business engages in the sales and lease ownership and specialty retailing of furniture, consumer electronics, home appliances and accessories through its more than 1,860 Company-operated and franchised stores in 47 states and Canada as well as its e-commerce platform Aarons.com. In addition, Progressive Leasing, a virtual lease-to-own company, provides lease-purchase solutions through approximately 22,000 retail locations in 46 states. Dent-A-Med, Inc., d/b/a the HELPcard®, provides a variety of second-look credit products that are originated through federally insured banks. For more information, visit investor.aarons.com, Aarons.com, ProgLeasing.com, and HELPcard.com.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,300 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at www.facebook.com/bgca.clubs and https://twitter.com/BGCA_Clubs.

SOURCE Aaron’s, Inc.

CEO in STERLING Group

CEO Class of 2017 at the Aaron’s in Sterling, Illinois

Watershed Development Corporation hosted a rent-to-own business seminar for the WACC – CEO class of 2017 at its Aaron’s store in Sterling, Illinois on February 28, 2017.   The seminar was conducted by Mike Ceruzzi, Watershed’s VP of Business Operations, and included detailed histories of the industry, Aaron’s and Watershed.  Assistant Manager, Jerry Marquez, explained store operations and the inner workings of the RTO transaction.  The 2017 class is an elite group of 20 seniors selected from eight Whiteside county high schools.  Watershed invested $3,000 in the Sterling, Illinois chapter of Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) in January.

CEO Sterling Ceruzzi

Watershed VP Mike Ceruzzi addresses students at RTO Business Seminar.

CEO partners with a community’s businesses and local school systems to mentor high school juniors and seniors to become the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders.  Each CEO course spans an entire school year and is designed to utilize partnerships that provide an overview of business development and processes.  Students visit area businesses, learn from guest speakers, participate in a class business, write business plans, and start and operate their own businesses. Business concepts learned through the experiential CEO class are critical; the 21st century skills of problem-solving, teamwork, self-motivation, responsibility, higher-order thinking, communication, and inquiry are at the heart of a student’s development throughout the course.

The RTO business seminar and workshop at Aaron’s provided the students with an inside look at the rent-to-own business.  “The CEO students were attentive and sharp.  They really grasped the essence of the business” stated Mike Ceruzzi.  “And RTO isn’t the most intuitive business.  It’s a unique hybrid – part retail, part leasing and 100% customer service.  There is nothing else like it,” Ceruzzi added.

About Watershed Development Corporation
Watershed owns and operates Aaron’s (NYSE – AAN) stores throughout Northern Illinois and Iowa. Aaron’s is a leading rent-to-own company with more than 2,000 company and franchise stores throughout North America. Watershed, a franchise operator since 2004, has earned the distinction of being an Aaron’s Top 5 Performing Franchise Operator multiple times since its inception and has been recognized as Aaron’s 2016 Franchise of the Year.

Catie McDonal House FireRent One’s Store Manager Catie McDonald experienced a fire in her home last week that resulted in the loss of her house along with all of her possessions. Fortunately, there were no injuries however she and her family are faced with starting over. “Treasure what you have because it can be lost in minutes, literally,” shared Catie. “I’m trying my best to just hang in there. I even came into work the following day. What else can you do?”

Rent One worked quickly to help their colleague. “We have a tradition of rallying around our own in need and have found a way that has been successful over the years,” said APRO Treasurer and Rent One President Trent Agin. They shared the news with Rent One associates and allowed them to pledge a contribution through payroll deductions and as of Monday they had raised over to $4000 from over 140 associates along with a $1000 contribution from APRO Past President and Rent One Owner Larry Carrico. “People are kind. When they understand a need and we give them a channel to give they are quick to garner support.”

Catie’s oldest daughter created a gofundme account for her family’s loss with a goal of $1000.

The page reads: Tonight the house that my mom and little brother and sister live in burned down in Vincennes, Indiana due to a stove fire. Luckily both her and her boyfriend came out of it unharmed, and my brother and sister were at their dads. Unfortunately, they lost everything. The house is completely gone. Any little bit counts that anyone can donate. My entire family appreciates it from more than anyone can know. Thank you.

Help spread the word!

Click here to donate today.

Catie McDonald’s contact information:
812-882-5082
catiemcdonald@rocketmail.com

Sure, every kid needs nutritious food, decent clothes, medical care to get by. Add to that list a good night’s sleep. In fact, kids ages 5 to 10 should be spending 3,650 to 4,015 hours a year with their eyes shut tight, getting some quality zzzzzs in a comfortable bed.

Aarons Inc., The Sterling-Rock Falls Family YMCA, Candlelight Inn, and the Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce plan to make that happen for dozens of area youngsters.

In collaboration with schools in Sterling, Rock Falls and Morrison, the partners will be giving away 80 twin beds and bedding to 80 area K-5 students who qualify for free or reduced food programs.

Mike Ceruzzi of Sterling is vice president of operations for Watershed Development Corp., which owns Sterling’s and several other Aaron’s franchises.

“This small idea has grown into a great collaboration with partners who understand there is a need in this community and are willing to take action to address it,” Ceruzzi said in a news release Friday. “We are pleased and excited to be a part of it.”

On March 4, the 80 children and their families will be invited to test out their new beds and pick their bed-in-a-bag bedding at a huge slumber party at the Y, complete with free food and fun activities. The next day, Aaron’s will deliver the beds, one per family, to their homes.

Beds might not be the first things that come to mind when you think of the basics some families need.

“Many times we can the take the simple things in life for granted,” YMCA CEO Andy Thornton said in the release. “Something as simple as a bed with sheets and a blanket are easy to underappreciate. A project like this helps you evaluate your own life and the things that really matter.”

“When we heard about this opportunity, we knew this was an effort we wanted to be part of,” Candlelight Inn owner Matt Prescott said in the release.

“Our kids and our community are a top priority in my eyes. Anything that Candlelight can do to help make our community a better place is simply the right thing to do.”

Source: Sauk Valley Media

United Way of Southern Illinois

Pictured L to R: Regional Manager Brandi Robison, Toni United Way of Southern Illinois and Marion Manager Michael Tripp.

Rent One continues their charitable donations covering more ground making behalf of their Charity of Choice Great Expectations campaign.

Region 2 presented the Charity of Choice check to The United Way of Southern Illinois. Regional Manager Brandi Robison and Marion Manager Michael Tripp presented the check to Toni with United Way of Southern Illinois.

Region 8 also presented a$1,268 check to the United Way of Erie County. Rent One Store 102 Manager Chris Paul, Rent One Store 101 Manager Tony Battaglia, Region 8 Manager Jim Guthrie presented the check to Joelyn Bush from the United Way.

Rent One United Way check presentation

Pictured from L to R: Rent One Store 102 Manager Chris Paul, Rent One Store 101 Manager Tony Battaglia, Region 8 Manager Jim Guthrie, Joelyn Bush from the United Way.

Stay tuned for Rent One’s next stop!

 Click here to read more about Rent One’s 2016 Great Expectations Charity of Choice campaign.

 

CEO CHECK Presentation

Drew Gray accepts a generous $3000 donation on behalf of the CEO class from Mike Ceruzzi, V.P. of Business Operations at Watershed Development Corporation and Illinois Rental Dealers Association board member. Senior Watershed representatives Scott Wallingford, Don Stutzke and Nick Pappocia were also present at the check presentation.

Watershed Development Corporation has contributed $3,000 to the Sterling, Illinois chapter of Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO).  CEO partners with a community’s businesses and local school systems to mentor high school juniors and seniors to become the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders.  Each CEO course spans an entire school year and is designed to utilize partnerships that provide an overview of business development and processes.  Students visit area businesses, learn from guest speakers, participate in a class business, write business plans, and start and operate their own businesses. Business concepts learned through the experiential CEO class are critical; the 21st century skills of problem-solving, teamwork, self-motivation, responsibility, higher-order thinking, communication, and inquiry are at the heart of a student’s development throughout the course.

Mike Ceruzzi, VP of Business Operation of Watershed Development and IRDA board member presented the $3000 check at the SVAAC annual dinner on January 27, 2017.  “We were all so surprised and also grateful for such kindness. I am so often humbled by the support we receive, financial, as well as in the form of tours, expertise, mentoring, and more” commented Le Andra Hartman, CEO Facilitator.

In addition to the financial gift Watershed will host the current crop of CEO students at its Sterling Aaron’s store on February 28, 2017 for a tour and business workshop at which the students will receive an inside look at the rent-to-own business.  Watershed, in conjunction with the Illinois Rental Dealers Association (IRDA) board of directors spent much of 2016 learning about CEO which was started in 2008 by The Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship.  “We are excited to partner with CEO in Sterling.  Business formation is the lifeblood of our economy and we are thrilled to be able to support and nurture our community’s future business owners and job creators,” stated Watershed Development’s President, Casey Pristou.  

About Watershed Development Corporation
Watershed owns and operates Aaron’s (NYSE – AAN) stores throughout Northern Illinois and Iowa. Aaron’s is a leading rent-to-own company with more than 2,000 company and franchise stores throughout North America. Watershed, a franchise operator since 2004, has earned the distinction of being an Aaron’s Top 5 Performing Franchise Operator multiple times since its inception and has been recognized as Aaron’s 2016 Franchise of the Year.

About IRDA
The Illinois Rental Dealers Association (IRDA) works closely with the Association of Progressive Rental Organizations (APRO) to provide membership and the general public with the latest information regarding legislative initiatives concerning the rent-to-own industry. The IRDA works to ensure a vital future for its industry through networking, education, political outreach and legislative vigilance.

Aaron’s, Inc. associates remodel the Keystone Teen Center Monday, Jan. 30, 2017 at the Parkview Boys & Girls Club of Huntington County, in Huntington, Ind., which will be revealed to the teens in a surprise unveiling on Wednesday, Jan. 30. Keystone is Boys & Girls Clubs of America's premier teen leadership program, helping teens develop their character and leadership skills in hopes of helping them reach their potential and creative positive change in their community. (AJ Mast /AP Images for Aaron’s, Inc.)Aaron’s, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), a leading omnichannel provider of lease-purchase solutions, and its divisions Aaron’s and Progressive Leasing, presented teens on Wednesday with a newly renovated Keystone Teen Center at the Parkview Boys & Girls Club of Huntington County in Indiana.

Through a partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and input from the teen members, Aaron’s and Progressive Leasing associates and Club officials worked last Monday painting, updating a gym, and decorating and furnishing the Teen Club Café and Lounge. On Wednesday, local Aaron’s associates, Progressive Leasing associates and Club officials unveiled the newly-remodeled rooms now equipped with new technology, sectionals, tables and chairs, sound systems and fresh coats of paint. Teens chose the special Sherwin-Williams™ paint colors for the rooms: Deep Sea Blue; Lavish Lavender; Network Gray; and Chalkboard Paint.

“The Parkview Boys & Girls Club is committed to helping its teen members achieve academic success and provide opportunities to practice good citizenship, so it’s essential that they have a state-of-the-art environment to help facilitate those goals,” said John Robinson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aaron’s, Inc. “Aaron’s is thrilled to make this Club a place that teens can be proud of and help inspire them to work hard and own their futures.”

Aaron’s, Inc. associates remodel the Keystone Teen Center Monday, Jan. 30, 2017 at the Parkview Boys & Girls Club of Huntington County, in Huntington, Ind., which will be revealed to the teens in a surprise unveiling on Wednesday, Jan. 30. Keystone is Boys & Girls Clubs of America's premier teen leadership program, helping teens develop their character and leadership skills in hopes of helping them reach their potential and creative positive change in their community. (AJ Mast /AP Images for Aaron’s, Inc.)Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters attended the surprise unveiling and congratulated the teens. “I’ve spent most of my life in Huntington and the Club has always been a powerful resource for our community’s youth,” he said.  “With this renovation, Aaron’s and Progressive Leasing has helped improve this space and made it a location Huntington teens are excited to come to every single day.”

In 2015, the Aaron’s Foundation, Inc. announced a three-year, $5 million national partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Keystone Program, helping teens develop their character and leadership skills in hopes of helping them reach their potential and creating positive change in the community. Keystone Club teen centers provide members ages 14-18 an environment to plan and participate in activities that focus on community service, academic success, career preparation and teen outreach.

The 16 previous Keystone Club makeovers have included Boys & Girls Clubs in cities across the nation such as Los Angeles, San Antonio, Nashville, Buffalo, Dallas and Miami. The makeover at the Parkview Boys & Girls Club of Huntington County includes an additional in-kind retail donation valued at $28,000.

“Teens who attend Boys & Girls Clubs are shown to have improvements in grades, graduation rates and much more,” said Mandy Reber, Executive Director of the Parkview Boys & Girls Club of Huntington County. “We serve hundreds of kids every day and thanks to Aaron’s we’re now well-equipped to provide them with a safe, modern space to help them become leaders in our community.”

Aaron’s partnership with BGCA’s Keystone Program inspires teens to “Own It” by taking ownership of their choices to build the lives they deserve. The Aaron’s and Keystone Club “Own Your Future” campaign supports three principles:

  • Own Your Path:  No matter where you come from, the future is yours to decide.
  • Own Your Decisions:  Making good choices opens more doors for your future.
  • Own Your Community:  Use your talents to make an impact in your community.

To see photos of the Keystone Club remodel at the Parkview Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntington, County, visit Aaron’s on Facebook (www.facebook.com/aaronsinc), on Twitter (www.twitter.com/AaronsInc) and at www.AaronsGives.com.

About Aaron’s, Inc.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Aaron’s, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), a leading omnichannel provider of lease-purchase solutions was founded in 1955, has been publicly traded since 1982, and owns the Aaron’s, Progressive Leasing and HELPcard brands. Aaron’s engages in the sales and lease ownership and specialty retailing of furniture, consumer electronics, home appliances and accessories through its more than 1,860 Company-operated and franchised stores in 47 states and Canada as well as its e-commerce platform Aarons.com. Progressive Leasing, a virtual lease-to-own company, provides lease-purchase solutions through approximately 19,000 retail locations in 46 states. Dent-A-Med, Inc., d/b/a the HELPcard®, provides a variety of second-look credit products that are originated through a federally insured bank.  For more information, visit investor.aarons.com, Aarons.com, ProgLeasing.com, and HELPcard.com.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,100 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at www.facebook.com/bgca.clubs and https://twitter.com/BGCA_Clubs.