When office supplies provider, Quill.com, decided that it wanted to give back to those in need and attempt to make a difference with the youth of Central Florida, they had a variety of options with who to partner with for charitable ventures.
They chose to partner with the Orlando Magic because, well, they are far more than just a basketball franchise. As Mike Sullivan, Quill.com’s national sales manager, put it, who better to join forces with than an organization that is a leader in giving back and has made it a mission to make a difference in Central Florida over the last 26 years?
“Frankly, it’s the primary reason why we partnered with the Magic,” said Sullivan, referring to the Magic’s commitment to making a difference in the lives of thousands of youths a year. “There are a lot of opportunities for Quill to become corporate sponsors with all kinds of different organizations in the city. But it was very important for us to partner with one that has the touch that our community needs. The Magic have been doing this for more than 25 years. They’re experienced at it, they know what they are doing and it’s the reason that we partnered with them.”
The mutual desire of the Magic and Quill.com to impact lives manifested itself on Tuesday in the form of a total refurbishment of the computer lab at the James R. Smith Community Center. Quill.com provided all of the technology for 19 computer stations and new desks in a facility that is used by 100 students ranging in ages from 6-18 daily. There are currently 150 students enrolled in the after-school program and approximately 118,000 kids utilize the Smith Center on an annual basis.
“We’re very grateful for what Quill and the Magic have done for us today,” Smith Center Director Oneka Burnett said. “We had desks that were in deplorable shape as well as computers that didn’t work, so this is a great asset to the community center. It’s a great resource because it is something that kids in the neighborhood aren’t privy to. So they are able to come to the Smith Center, have access to the internet and do what they need to do to be successful.”
The Magic decorated the computer lab with a blue, black and silver paint scheme and hung framed posters all around the room featuring standout players such as Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo high-fiving, Nikola Vucevic, Kyle O’Quinn and Aaron Gordon and another with the team’s “Pure Magic” theme.
With help from community partners such as Quill.com, the Magic have now renovated 12 reading and learning centers in the Central Florida area. Others include: Dr. James R. Smith Neighborhood Center; Downtown Recreation Center; Northwest Community Center; Jackson Community Center computer lab presented by Hunt; Colonialtown Neighborhood Center; Hi-Tech Tutoring Reading and Learning Center; Pine Hills Community Center; Nap Ford Community School, John H. Bridges Community Center, Apopka Boys and Girls Club, and the New Image Youth Center in Parramore.
The renovations to these centers included new floors, paint, furniture, new reading corners, new computer monitors, video game accessories, TVs, Orlando Magic décor, books and educational games. Dozens of Magic staffers, including Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw, were on hand forTuesday’s unveiling of the revamped computer lab for excited children when they arrived at the Smith Center.
“It’s important for us to be active in our community and the Magic and Quill have partnered up to donate all of these computers, chairs and desks that these kids need on a daily basis,” said Outlaw, who makes it a habit to use his bubbly personality and big smile while interacting with children. “It’s important for us to provide the things that these kids need to help better themselves for the future.”
Outlaw said that while some organizations simply talk about making a difference in the community, the Magic put actions and manpower behind their desire to be leaders. He said that the Magic are serious about reaching out to needy children to provide a platform for them to have success later in life. That investment in the youth ultimately makes Central Florida a better place to live for everyone, Outlaw said.
“There are some things that you might not have access to, but here at a community center like this kids have the access and they can get help with their work and play interactive games,’’ Outlaw said. “So this gives them an outlet to learn and better themselves.
“It’s not lip service what the Magic do in the community,” Outlaw continued. “Myself and Nick Anderson do a lot of appearances throughout the year. I guess you will see me and Nick somewhere around the community almost every day. Or if it’s not us, it’s a Magic player or someone from the (corporate) office out here with our partners. We don’t say we’re going to do it; we actually do it. We have a lot of activities going on and it wouldn’t be possible without great partners like Quill.”
Sullivan said the partnership with the Magic made so much sense for Quill.com because of the basketball team’s wide fan base throughout the Central Florida area. And Quill.com was delighted to work with a Magic organization that is serious about helping others.
“We’re proud to be partners with the Magic and this is our second year doing a major event with them. Quill has been in the community for about eight years now and this has been the best opportunity to reach out and connect with the community that we live in,” said Sullivan, who mentioned that Quill will be retrofitting two other community center computer labs in Central Florida later in the year. “We’re very blessed and we have a very successful company serving businesses in this area, but we also realize that we’re living in a community where everyone isn’t as blessed as we are. Frankly, there are a lot of kids in this community who need help. We’re just thankful that we’re in a position where we can partner with the Magic and impact as many young lives as we can.’’