James Earl Jones and Virginia Williams Host
Children's Reading at the Southwest Branch Library
Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages $20,000 Donation Funds
Children's Literacy Efforts in Washington, D.C.
December 9, 1999
WASHINGTON -- The powerful voice of actor James Earl Jones
mesmerized a roomful of children during a reading celebrating Bell
Atlantic Yellow Pages' $20,000 donation supporting children's literacy
efforts in Washington, D.C. Bell Atlantic spokesperson Jones joined
Virginia Williams, a children's literacy advocate, this morning to launch
the "Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages Reading Through the
Seasons," a children's storytelling series.
To commemorate the donation, Jones read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack
Keats at the Southwest Branch Library. Second-grade students from
nearby Amidon Elementary School attended the reading.
Following the reading, Mary Jo Howe, vice president of Bell Atlantic
Pages, presented a $20,000 check to Williams, mother of Washington,
Anthony Williams. Williams accepted the check on behalf of the District
of Columbia Public Library System and DC LEARNs, the city's literacy
coalition. The donation will fund a storytelling series developed by Bell
Atlantic Yellow Pages and DC LEARNs.
"Through this program we are reaching Washington, D.C., children
and motivating them to read in a way that is entertaining and
interesting," said Williams. "This storytelling program is
evidence of how corporations today can make an impact on the minds and
leadership of tomorrow."
The "Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages Reading Through the
Seasons" series includes four storytelling sessions, each with a
celebrity reader who will share a popular children's story highlighting each
season. The readings will be hosted in different libraries throughout the
District of Columbia Public Library System including the Washington
Highlands, Benning and Mt. Pleasant branches. The series serves children
in pre-school through sixth grade by offering free, creative readings of
children's stories in an effort to encourage reading.
"We understand the importance reading can have on childhood
development," said Howe. "Bell Atlantic's goal is to tackle a
major problem troubling our nation -- children's illiteracy -- by funding
local, hands-on programs such as the reading through the seasons
The Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages children's literacy program began in 1998
and has resulted in alliances with numerous literacy groups, including Baltimore
Reads, New York City's Love to Read, Richmond Area Reading Council,
Buffalo's Project Flight, Providence Reads, Read Boston, and Pittsburgh's
Beginning with Books. To date Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages has donated
over $500,000 and hundreds of employee hours throughout its region to
support children's literacy efforts.
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With 43 million telephone access lines and nearly
10 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are
premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market
leaders in wireless services and one of the world's largest publisher of
yellow pages shopping directories. Bell Atlantic companies are also
among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications
markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.