200 Area High School Students to Gain Unique Learning Experience

NEW YORK - Two hundred high school students will be learning in hotel conference rooms instead of classrooms this Friday (9/29) as participants in a developmental Youth Forum hosted by The Consortium of Information & Telecommunications Executives Inc. (CITE®). Teachers--or speakers--at the daylong event, include Verizon Senior Vice President-Network Operations, John Bell; WBLS-FM radio personality Dr. Bob Lee; and Kevin Powell, an original cast member of MTV's The Real World and former VIBE reporter.

CITE is a non-profit organization of African-American employees of Verizon that provides employee advocacy and professional development as well as serving as a resource for the corporation and community.

The Youth Forum, which will be held at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, 811 Seventh Ave., New York City, begins at 9:00 a.m. It is part of the organization's 3-day, 17th annual conference, "Education, Awareness and Empowerment in the New Millennium."

Students attending the forum represent Frederick Douglas Academy, Park West, and Norman Thomas high schools in Manhattan; Wingate, Westinghouse and Prospect Heights high schools in Brooklyn; and Hempstead and Uniondale high schools on Long Island.

"The Youth Forum is an important part of our annual conference," said David France, president New York Chapter CITE. "It is an opportunity for CITE to give back to the community by reaching out to area youngsters--giving them a unique opportunity to learn about business success from role models."

Students will learn from corporate role models, such as Verizon Senior Vice President--Network Operations John Bell, who will kick off the forum. In addition, they will gain insight from popular culture success stories, such as that shared in a motivational presentation given by Lee.

"We see the Youth Forum as a chance for those students who are often overlooked for special programs to benefit from a real world experience," said Tanya Baptiste, guidance counselor, Hempstead High School. "Just as business professionals are energized by conferences like this, we believe students also can be driven, provided the right opportunities. We are grateful to CITE for inviting us to participate."

Youngsters also will have the opportunity to speak to young successful business owners themselves, during a panel discussion," led by Powell. The panel will be made up of several Black Enterprise featured "kidpreneurs." The Youth Forum will close with Dr. Gordeem, a clinical psychologist with WLIB-AM, who will talk about empowerment.

According to the program's director, students chosen to attend the Youth Forum are solid academic performers with good attendance records.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with more than 100 million access lines and 25 million wireless customers. A Fortune 10 company with more than 260,000 employees and approximately $60 billion in 1999 revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.