Verizon Foundation Grant Helps Launch EPIC's 'Parent-Link'

BUFFALO, N.Y. - EPIC (Every Person Influences Children) Inc., a Buffalo-based national not-for-profit organization, has been awarded a $40,000 grant from Verizon Foundation. The gift was announced during a statewide videoconference today.

The grant will support the launch of EPIC's Parent-Link, a leadership training and character education initiative for parents and teachers throughout New York State. EPIC is dedicated to helping parents, teachers and community members raise children to become responsible adults.

The Verizon Foundation grant will enable EPIC to hold its "Parent-Link" training programs via teleconference from its new state-of-the-art National Center for Parenting and Character Education in Buffalo. Teachers and parents can participate in the programs at schools and distance learning sites statewide.

The grant will also provide for the purchase, installation, and use of a videoconferencing unit. This new unit will allow EPIC's Buffalo-based parent involvement training and character education programs to reach parents and teachers in the New York City area.

"Because of the generosity of the Verizon Foundation, communities all over New York will be able to use EPIC programs to improve parental involvement in their children's schooling and ensure that New York State Learning Standards are met," said Robert Bennett, chancellor, New York State Board of Regents. "Research shows that as parent involvement increases, children achieve at higher rates, and with support from the private and public sector, our kids, parents and teachers can have the tools they need to be successful."

Bennett was joined in Buffalo for the announcement by Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello, Kate Masiello and several Western New York school administrators; in Albany by Cindy Gallagher, Coordinator for Child, Family and Community Services, NYS Department of Education; in Manhattan by Paul A. Crotty, president of Verizon New York, and Sheila Evans-Tranumn, associate commissioner of New York State Education, and in Yonkers by Joe Farmer, Yonkers school superintendent. Verizon and EPIC staff also participated in the Parent-Link videoconference announcement from the four sites across the state.

"We are thankful to the Verizon Foundation for supporting our mission of increasing parental involvement in education and helping teachers join parents in the character education of children," said Vito Borrello, president of Every Person Influences Children. "This grant allows EPIC to deliver its proven programs through the use of technology, exponentially increasing the number of parents, teachers and children served through our training programs."

EPIC has scheduled 96 Parent-Link distance learning, parent training and character education sessions in New York City, Western New York, Central New York, Albany, Rochester, Fallsburg, and Westchester County.

"The Verizon Foundation is committed to enriching the communities we serve," said Verizon's Paul Crotty. "Our support for EPIC is another example of venture philanthropy - investing in the development of technology to create new leadership models for our communities."

Three EPIC training programs will be delivered via the Parent-Link videoconference starting Fall 2002. Creating Home/School Partnerships and Parent Involvement is a training program that engages parents and school personnel to review and discuss guidelines for successful school/home partnership outcomes and review best practices from schools from across the country, as well as develop a parent involvement plan together.

Another EPIC program, the Parent Advocacy Series, trains parents for leadership roles in the home as well as the school community. Participants learn key skills in the areas of communication and relationship building, public speaking as well as creating a supportive home environment for learning. Additional time is spent reviewing and discussing the New York State learning standards.

The third program, Building Character in New York State, provides an information session for school administrators and teachers, as well as parents. Presentation centers on the opportunities and challenges of implementing character education in NYS school districts to meet NYS SAVE legislation requirements relating to character education, as well as key strategies for building partnerships with families in the development of good character.

Verizon Foundation

Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is committed to helping Verizon employees, customers and the communities in which they work and live make progress every day. The foundation supports a variety of programs that focus on improving basic and computer literacy, bridging the digital divide, enriching communities through technology and creating a skilled work force. The foundation promotes partnerships in technology with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, and the economically and socially disadvantaged. The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, an incentive program that encourages Verizon employees to volunteer in their communities and provides matching gifts to nonprofit organizations. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

EPIC-Every Person Influences Children

EPIC-Every Person Influences Children is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping parents, teachers and the community to raise children to become responsible adults. EPIC offers parenting workshops, educational materials, school curricula, and comprehensive training to the most influential persons in a child's life-parents and teachers-helping them to build the foundations of character in children. More information is available on-line at www.epicforchildren.org or by calling (716) 332-4100.

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 133.8 million access line equivalents and approximately 29.6 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and nearly 248,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.


Media contact:

Maureen Rasp-Glose, Verizon , 716-842-7090

Cliff Lee, Verizon , 518-396-1095

Peggy Penders, EPIC , 716-332-4100 ext. 119