NEW YORK - Although the flood waters have receded and rebuilding has begun, thousands of children from Gulf Coast communities are still displaced from their homes and continue to struggle with the emotional trauma left in the wake of the 2005 hurricane season. According to a recent study, half of all children in grades 4 and above who experienced trauma as a result of the hurricanes require psychological assistance.
Working with child development and mental health experts, Scholastic, the global children's publishing, education and media company, has taken the next step in the long-term recovery effort by developing Scholastic My Time: A Box for Comfort and FunTM. The kit features books, magazines and art therapy tools that can be used by parents, school officials and community members to help children overcome ongoing stress and anxiety. Scholastic has teamed with the Verizon Foundation to distribute 40,000 of the "comfort kits" to children in the Gulf Coast.
The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, will donate 20,000 kits to be distributed through its national partner, the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL). NCFL's research and experience show that children learn best and cope with challenges when they have family support. Scholastic also will donate 20,000 kits that will be distributed through Volunteers of America, a national nonprofit agency.
The number of kits donated is expected to grow, as Verizon employees purchase additional kits through the company's 6th annual Season's Readings Campaign, titled Reading and Healing. Season's Readings is Verizon's annual month-long national book drive, which has put more than 1.8 million books in the hands of children and adults throughout the country during the past five years. This year, Verizon's campaign is aimed specifically at the Gulf Coast region.
"It's not enough to simply replace bricks and mortar," Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston said. "For children, there's a need to restore hope, a sense of normalcy and, where we can, add a little bit of fun. We hope our contribution will bring a small measure of those blessings to these young people."
The Scholastic My Time kit was created as a component of the Scholastic Rebuilding for Learning initiative, a long-term recovery effort aimed at supporting the restoration of the learning infrastructure in Gulf Coast communities. The initiative works to provide educational leaders, educators and families with comprehensive recovery resources.
"Many children living in the Gulf Coast are still grappling with the long-term effects caused by last year's devastating hurricane season and the disruption of their lives," said Karen Proctor, vice president of community and government affairs at Scholastic. "Scholastic understands the need to provide ongoing support and resources for these children and families. The Scholastic My Time kit is just one part of our efforts to help restore the lives of the storms' youngest victims and assure them that they have not been forgotten."
Scholastic will make Scholastic My Time kits available to children around the country who are affected by homelessness, abuse and neglect, and family and community crises.
(For more information on Scholastic My Time: A Box for Comfort and Fun and for information on how to help children in times of stress and anxiety, visit www.scholastic.com/mytime)
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books and a leader in educational technology. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children's books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs, school-based book fairs, and school-based and direct-to-home continuity programs; retail stores, schools, libraries and television networks; and the Company's Internet site, www.scholastic.com.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a New York-based Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 57 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which operates one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks, and Verizon Telecom, which is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.
About the Verizon Foundation
Verizon delivers technology that touches life. The Verizon Foundation uses that technology and the foundation's financial resources to improve literacy and K-12 education; to support victims of domestic violence; and improve the delivery of health care. In 2005, the foundation awarded more than $74 million in grants to charitable and nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, which is one of the largest employee volunteer programs in the United States and responsible for 2 million hours of community service since 2000 and $35.6 million in combined contributions to nonprofits in 2005 alone. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.
About The National Center for Family Literacy
The National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) is the worldwide leader in family literacy, an intergenerational approach to help families escape poverty through education. More than 1 million families have made positive educational and economic gains as a result of NCFL's work, which includes training more than 150,000 teachers and thousands of volunteers. Educators, policymakers and philanthropists rely on NCFL to mobilize family literacy efforts, conduct research and develop new, effective tools to leverage the learning relationship between parents and children. Family literacy, pioneered by NCFL, is a powerful community strategy for raising educational levels, improving workforce skills and breaking the cycle of poverty. Call 1-877-FAMLIT-1 (1-877-326-5481) or visit www.famlit.org to learn more, make a donation, locate a literacy program in your area or find out how to become a volunteer.
About Volunteers of America
Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit, faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need rebuild their lives and reach their full potential. Through thousands of human service programs, including housing and health care, Volunteers of America helps nearly 2 million people in over 400 communities. Since 1896, our ministry of service has supported and empowered America's most vulnerable groups, including at-risk youth, the frail elderly, men and women returning from prison, homeless individuals and families, people with disabilities, and those recovering from addictions. Our work touches the mind, body, heart--and ultimately the spirit--of those we serve, integrating our deep compassion with highly effective programs and services. For more information about Volunteers of America, visit www.voa.org.