James Earl Jones Promotes Importance of Reading

NEWARK, N.J. - More than 60 area second and third-graders who are attending a summer school sponsored by Kids Corporation got a treat today as James Earl Jones, actor and Verizon spokesperson, read excerpts from "The Lion King." He also talked to them about the importance of good reading skills and getting a quality education. CITE® (Consortium of Information and Telecommunications Executives), a Verizon employee resource group, arranged for Jones' appearance to promote summer reading and to announce the donation of 1,500 books to support Kids Corporation's programs.

CITE will collect books this weekend from approximately 1,800 Verizon employees attending the group's 20th annual conference in New York City. Last year, CITE adopted literacy as one of its primary causes and conducted a similar book drive for Norfolk, Va., schools.

"I'm delighted CITE has embraced an incredibly worthwhile project, and that James Earl Jones has joined forces with Verizon again for such an important cause," said Dennis M. Bone, Verizon's president in New Jersey. "Our company is committed to support literacy initiatives through our Verizon Reads program, not only in New Jersey, but also in communities we serve throughout the nation. We know that a literate community means better jobs and higher overall employability."

Bone encouraged other businesses to join Verizon and CITE by providing direct support to literacy efforts and schools.

Kevin Marshall, president of CITE, said, "Like Verizon, we have a long-standing commitment to education. CITE already has awarded nearly $1 million in scholarships to deserving, college-bound students across the country. CITE is delighted that we can donate these books and open up a new world of learning opportunities for young people in New Jersey."

Kids Corporation is a Newark-based nonprofit group dedicated to increasing educational opportunities for elementary school children in New Jersey. Bone presented a $5,000 check to the group from Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications.

"We are very grateful for Verizon's generous grant of $5,000," said Michaela Murray-Nolan, executive director of Kids Corporation. "We will use this grant to provide desperately needed educational resources and academic programs for thousands of children in Newark. We also want to thank Verizon and CITE, our longtime partners in educating Newark's children, for bringing James Earl Jones to our summer school program. Mr. Jones is an excellent role model for our students, and his visit will be the highlight of their summer. Kids Corporation commends Verizon for its commitment both to corporate philanthropy and to the underserved students of Newark."

CITE is one of the most widely recognized employee resource groups in Verizon. The organization strives to raise the level of consciousness of all employees with regard to minority concerns, and advance the professional development and networking opportunities of African-American and other minority employees of Verizon. CITE, a nonprofit organization, provides employee advocacy and serves as a resource for the corporation and community. CITE makes a positive impact by hosting annual conferences, providing scholarships to needy students and implementing training and development programs. Visit www.forcite.org for details.

Through its signature program, Verizon Reads, Verizon works to increase community and corporate awareness of the insidious effects of low literacy on individuals and communities. Verizon raises funds, encourages collaboration among literacy providers, and promotes employee volunteerism in support of literacy programs around the country. Visit www.verizonreads.net to learn more about Verizon's commitment to literacy.

A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) 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 136.6 million access line equivalents and 33.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third-largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 13.2 million long-distance lines, and the company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. With approximately $67 billion in annual revenues and 227,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.