Richmond Area Reading Council Kicks Off Books For Babies Program

Richmond Area Reading Council Kicks Off
"Books For Babies" Program

Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages Donation Funds
Children's Literacy Efforts For Second Consecutive Year.

January 25, 2000


Stephanie Hobbs,
(703) 289-0607

RICHMOND, Va. - Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages today donated $7,500
to the Richmond Area Reading Council to fund the "Books for
Babies" program for 2000 as part of Bell Atlantic's continued
commitment to children's literacy. This follows a $10,000 Bell Atlantic
gift in 1999 to expand the program.

The "Books for Babies" program, which is implemented at
Virginia Commonwealth University's Medical College of Virginia
Hospitals (MCV), encourages reading to children from birth through
childhood, by providing new mothers and their infants with a literacy
packet containing a book and instructional materials. In 1999, 500 new
mothers received "Books for Babies" packets.

Bell Atlantic's donation supports the purchase and printing of materials
contained in the literacy packets. The Richmond Area Reading Council is
implementing a follow-up program to evaluate the program's impact and
to provide additional reading materials.

"Bell Atlantic partnered with the Richmond Area Reading Council
to combat illiteracy from the very beginning of a child's life," said
Lou Laste, staff director, community relations, Bell Atlantic Directory
Group. "We are happy that our donations are helping the 'Books for
Babies' program to grow and have a significant impact on the

Later in the evening, the Richmond Area Reading Council will also host a
reception celebrating the "Books for Babies" program and its
volunteers. Invitees include the Superintendents of Richmond area
schools, members of the Virginia Literacy Council, Bell Atlantic
executives and officials from the Richmond Area Reading Council.

"The volunteers involved with the 'Books for Babies' program have
made this program a success," said Gay Robinson, chairman, Books
for Babies. "This reception gives the supporters of children's
literacy in Richmond the chance to thank the volunteers, many new to the
program, and Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages for making the program

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.