05.11.1999Corporate

Schools Chancellor Rudy Crew's Love to Read Launches Children's Reading Program in NYC Parks


Schools Chancellor Rudy Crew's Love to Read
Launches Children's Reading Program in NYC
Parks

Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages Sponsors 50 Free Readings in
Second Annual Readings In The Parks Program


May 11, 1999





Media
contact:

Stephanie Hobbs,
Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages

(703) 289-0607

Lauren Kuschner, Love To Read NYC

(212) 679-2233

Angela Hernandez, Board of Education

(718) 935-4330

James Warner, City of New York/Parks & Recreation

(212) 360-1331

Emily Gitter, City Parks Foundation

(212) 360-8171


NEW YORK -- Schools Chancellor Rudy Crew today extended his
literacy
campaign, Love to Read, to New York City parks, offering children and
families the opportunity to participate in 50 outdoor readings. The
Readings In The Parks program, which begins this month and continues
through
August, helps children maintain their reading skills during the summer.

The program is funded by a $30,000 grant from Bell Atlantic Yellow
Pages, in
cooperation with the City Parks Foundation, City of New York/Parks &

Recreation, and the New York City Board of Education.

Chancellor Crew joined Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages Vice President Mary
Jo
Howe, Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern, and an audience including
more than
120 children from PS 116, in St. Vartan Park, located between 35th and
36th
Streets on 1st Avenue in Manhattan, to kick off the summer program. The
Chancellor read from Mary Hoffman's children's book, Amazing Grace.

Readings In The Parks has grown to 50 events from last year's 30, due to
Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages' sponsorship.

"The Readings in the Parks program is an excellent example of how
private
and public sectors can work together build a community of children who
love
to read," said Chancellor Crew. "I'm grateful to Bell Atlantic
Yellow Pages
for its generous support of this extremely important aspect of the
Chancellor's Literacy Campaign."

During the kick-off event, the children of PS 116 and Chancellor Crew
presented Howe with a giant card thanking Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages for
its
commitment to literacy. The donation is part of the company's ongoing
effort to promote children's literacy in New York.

"The parks reading program is just one example of our company's
continued
commitment to working with local organizations to improve children's
literacy," said Howe, vice president of strategy, marketing and
customer
care for Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages. "By fostering enthusiasm for
the world
of wonder that books provide, we believe this program will encourage
children to become better readers."

Readings In The Parks was established last year as a joint initiative of the
Chancellor's Literacy Campaign and the City Parks Foundation. It serves
children between the ages of 5 and 9 by offering free readings of popular
children's stories in local parks. The program is modeled after the City
Parks Foundation's Arts In The Parks program, which brings performers to
parks and playgrounds for free shows. New York City's parks play an
essential role in the program, providing an easily accessible,
family-friendly environment that facilitates both education and recreation.

"Few activities are as constructive and satisfying as reading outdoors
on a
warm summer's day. I can't think of a better way to encourage New York
City's young people to read than bringing them out to our parks as part of
the Chancellor's Literacy Campaign," said Commissioner Stern.
"The City
Parks Foundation has once again made imaginative use of our parks
system to
the benefit of all New York City's children."

For more information about reading times and locations, call (212) 360-8290.

BACKGROUND

Love To Read - The Chancellor's Literacy Campaign aims to improve
reading
among third-graders. Centerpiece of the Campaign is Fill-a-Bookshelf,
which
places 70-book mini-libraries in third grade classrooms citywide. To date,
the Campaign has raised $250,000 to provide 1,000 mini-libraries to
nearly
25% of New York City's third grade classrooms. Other initiatives include
Readings in the Parks, public service ad campaigns, telephone literacy
help
line (718-246-READ) and reading rewards programs.

The City Parks Foundation is a non-profit organization working in
partnership with City of New York/Parks & Recreation. Since 1989, CPF
has
raised private funds from individuals, foundations, and corporations to
support free recreation, arts, and education program for children in New
York City's 1600 parks and playgrounds. CPF's free programs for kids
include Arts in the Parks, Puppets in the Parks, and Summer Fun in the
Playground.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information
industry. With more than 43 million telephone access lines and nine
million
wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier
providers
of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless
services. Bell Atlantic is the world's largest publisher of Yellow Pages
shopping directories. Its affiliate, Bell Atlantic Electronic Commerce
Services, is the creator of BigYellowSM, a leading national online
shopping
service. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest
investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations
and
investments in 23 countries.