Schools, Libraries, Nonprofits Reap Harvest of Books From Verizon Season's Readings Program

NEW YORK - Schools, libraries and nonprofit organizations across the country are reaping the results of a month-long drive by Verizon employees who have collected more than 93,000 new and gently used books.

The harvest of books comes from Verizon's Season's Readings program conducted at more than 250 company sites last month. Employees and their families also pledged over 3 million minutes (50,000 hours) to read to youngsters, the elderly and others during the coming year.

"Employee participation in Season's Readings has been overwhelming," said Mary Beth Bardin, Verizon executive vice president of Public Affairs and Communications. "While our communications networks comprise a unique platform for sharing resources and forming partnerships with local and national literacy organizations to address this complex issue, the participation of our employees in programs like Season's Readings is fundamental to our commitment to be this country's literacy champion.

"The books our employees have collected enrich literacy programs nationwide and help to increase awareness of the literacy issue. We hope everyone will join our employee family as we fulfill our pledge to read to others in their communities during 2003," Bardin said.

This is the second year that Verizon employees across the country have participated in the Season's Reading program. Employees more than tripled their pledge to read to others during this year's program. In two years, employees have donated more than 160,000 books.

To promote the importance of reading to children, Verizon also partnered with the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) to develop a list of tips for reading and a list of 15 children's books that are excellent for year-round reading. The reading tips and books list are separated into three age categories -- birth to toddlers, 3 to 5 years, and 6 to 8 years.

The tips for reading to children and the age-specific book lists can serve as catalysts for parents, grandparents, siblings and others in emphasizing the importance of developing literacy skills in young people. These also are helpful when choosing books for special occasions. For more information about Verizon Reads and NCFL's lists and tips, visit www.verizonreads.net.

Verizon partnered with Scholastic Inc., the largest children's book publisher and distributor in the world, on the Season's Reading program. Verizon employees were able to purchase Scholastic's children's books at work and donate them to literacy organizations and schools as part of the campaign.

Through its signature philanthropy program, Verizon Reads, and the Verizon Literacy Network, Verizon works to increase community and corporate awareness, raise funds, encourage collaboration among literacy providers, and engage employees in supporting literacy programs.

Verizon Communications

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 135.0 million access line equivalents and 31.5 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and more than 236,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 35 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.


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