SOS Children's Villages Illinois and TATA Announce Partnership

Community Garden Planted for At-Risk Children

Chicago, IL – June 15, 2012: Tata Sons and SOS Children’s Villages Illinois today announced the creation of “The Wellness Garden by Tata,” a community garden project in Chicago.

 

The garden will be cultivated and nurtured by youth who are being raised at SOS Children’s Villages Illinois and will serve Chicago’s Auburn-Gresham and Englewood neighborhoods.  Through their hands-on work growing and selling fruits and vegetables, they will learn about healthy eating and gardening as well as develop entrepreneurial skills. 


The garden will be formally inaugurated at a ceremony attended by families and staff at SOS Children’s Villages Illinois, and representatives from Tata Sons, Tata Consultancy Services, and Tata Steel.


 

TATA Wellness Garden
Tata Wellness Garden Seed Planting Ceremony. Pictured above from left to right: Kathryn Reilly, Michelle Conradt (both from SOS Illinois), Niharika Chibber Joe from Tata Sons, Moumita Bhattacharya from SOS USA, and Kapil Sharma from Tata Sons.
The Wellness Garden by Tata will serve as a source of fresh, healthy produce for families living in the SOS Children’s Village and the surrounding Auburn-Gresham community.  Designed to foster and encourage healthy eating among residents, the program ultimately seeks to help address the challenge of inaccessibility of fresh produce within low-income areas throughout Chicago.

 

In addition to providing fresh produce to residents, the Wellness Garden by Tata will offer educational programs, teaching children in the Village gardening skills and basic entrepreneurial responsibilities.  Through this program, the children will experience the tangible benefits of their work through vegetable production, personal health, and selling produce grown in the Garden.


“I am delighted to be able to help inaugurate this partnership between Tata and SOS,” said Mr. R. Gopalakrishnan, Director of Tata Sons.  “This program is truly remarkable. It offers the opportunity to address the immediate needs of the community, while simultaneously nurturing the talents and entrepreneurial spirit of the next generation.  This approach speaks to the Tata legacy of our companies growing in step with our communities.”


“Tata has changed many lives through their generosity and focus on education worldwide. We hope that this garden will be the first step in growing a relationship between Tata and SOS Children’s Villages that can help children all over the world,” said Ms. Lynn Croneberger, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages-USA.


Tim McCormick, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages Illinois, stated, “We are honored by the opportunity to partner with Tata because they share our commitment to positively impact the communities in which we work.  SOS Children’s Villages Illinois has long advocated on behalf of children and families, providing critical residential, educational, recreational, and therapeutic services to Illinois’ most vulnerable children and families.  Through our partnership with Tata, SOS Children’s Villages Illinois will better serve residents in Chicago’s Auburn-Gresham and Englewood neighborhoods and give children unique opportunities to grow into caring, productive, and self-reliant adults.”


As part of the partnership, Tata employees will have the unique opportunity to directly support the Village residents through educational workshops, garden workdays and even a market day.  SOS Children’s Villages Illinois will host six educational workshops for its clients and local community members between May 2012 and March 2013, focusing on nutrition, sustainability, wellness, and gardening. In September 2012, SOS Children’s Villages Illinois will host a special Harvest Dinner celebrating the accomplishments of the gardeners, providing certificates of achievement to volunteers, and providing healthy meals using locally grown produce.
 

“Tata companies have had roots to the Midwest for many years, especially in the Chicago area, and this program will continue to strengthen our ties to the region,” remarked Kapil Sharma, Senior General Manager of Tata Sons Ltd. “The Tata Group has a longstanding commitment to improving the quality of life of the communities we serve, and are we are very proud to be able to be part of this great initiative.”


The Tata Group is the largest India-based business group in North America employing over 24,000 individuals across eleven companies. Tata has a significant presence in the Midwest, with the North America headquarters of Tata Steel in Schaumburg, Illinois, operations of Tata Consultancy Services in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio, a dozen Jaguar Land Rover retailers located throughout Illinois, the North America headquarters of Tata Technologies in Novi, Michigan, and Thomas Steel Strip Corporation in Warren, Ohio.

 

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About the Tata Group in North America


The Tata group of companies is emerging as one of the world’s most trusted and respected corporate names. Combining ethical values with proven business performance and leadership, Tata has a heritage of deep social commitment that has earned the trust and respect of its stakeholders. In the United States, the Tata Group has had a presence for over 60 years. As the largest India-headquartered multinational in North America, Tata has 11 companies and 24,000 employees in the United States and Canada. Five core values — integrity, understanding, excellence, unity and responsibility — are woven into the fabric of Tata and its brands, and these are fundamental to their success around the world. Known for its unique business model of returning wealth to the communities in which it operates, 66% of the holding company Tata Sons’ equity capital is owned by philanthropic trusts. For more information, visit http://www.tata.com/ or http://northamerica.tata.com/.


About SOS Children’s Villages


SOS Children’s Villages has a 62-year international tradition of caring for at-risk children and families.  The SOS Children’s Villages model differs from traditional foster care in emphasizing the following four components:
 

  • Children stay together with their siblings.
  • Children receive care and support from a full-time, professionally trained foster parent.
  • Children grow up in private, single-family homes.
  • Children benefit from the support of the Village, designed as an intentional community.


In 1993, SOS Children’s Villages Illinois opened the eighteen-home Lockport Village to serve Illinois’ most vulnerable children.  In 2004, the sixteen-home Chicago Village opened in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood.  In 2011, SOS Children’s Villages Illinois acquired Boys Town Chicago and is serving Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood; a new Village will be launched nearby.  For more information about SOS Children's Villages in the U.S. and around the world, visit www.sos-usa.org for more information about SOS Children’s Villages Illinois, please visit www.sosillinois.org.

 
For further information, please contact:


Niharika Chibber Joe, Tata Sons, ncjoe@tata.com


Tim McCormick, SOS Children’s Villages Illinois, info@sos-illinois.org