BALTIMORE - The voice of Verizon was heard by families in Baltimore today during a celebration of the Baltimore Reads Book Bank Program. Verizon SuperPages announced a $30,000 grant to support Baltimore Reads in its efforts to provide new and gently used books to the community and to meet the growing demand for children's books. Verizon spokesperson James Earl Jones read "Amazing Grace" by Mary Hoffman to families at the Department of Social Services at Harbor View Center. The site is one of many in the community that has bookshelves filled with free books for families provided by the Baltimore Reads Book Bank program.
"Reading is a core value in every community. Baltimore Reads shares Verizon SuperPages' enthusiasm and passion for promoting literacy and greatly appreciates their support of the Book Bank for the fourth year in a row," said Marlene C. McLaurin, chief executive officer of Baltimore Reads. "Verizon's generosity has enabled us to expand the reach of the Book Bank to nine drop-off sites and 17 distribution sites. Additionally, we now can move over 10,000 books per month through a more efficient book-storage and sorting site."
"Verizon SuperPages' literacy initiatives are targeted to programs such as the Baltimore Reads Book Bank because they enable us to provide books to families who could not purchase them on their own. Statistics show that 43 percent of people with the lowest literacy skills are aggregated in disadvantaged areas," said Fran Lee, vice president - sales, for Verizon Information Services. "Our four-year commitment to this program has enabled Baltimore Reads to distribute more than a quarter million books to families in Baltimore."
Verizon SuperPages sponsors community outreach programs across the nation designed to increase the literacy rate of children and adults and to help people of all ages become computer literate. These programs are part of Verizon's overall commitment to leading the effort to increase U.S. literacy levels. Through its signature Verizon Reads program 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.
Baltimore Reads was created in 1988 to improve and expand literacy services in both the public and private sector of Baltimore City. The primary mission of Baltimore Reads is to provide high quality learning opportunities for educationally disadvantaged adults, children, and families.
Through direct service delivery and collaboration, Baltimore Reads seeks to develop solid fundamental reading skills in at-risk elementary school children through the use of extended learning time and seeks to help undereducated adults develop skills for successful employment. A strong emphasis is placed on the connection between adults seeking self-sufficiency and children building basic skills for future educational success through the operation of The Ripken Learning Center and The Reading Edge.
Verizon Information Services is the world's leading print and online directory publisher and a content provider for communications products and services. Verizon operates in 16 countries and has annual revenues of more than $4.3 billion. The company publishes nearly 1,200 U.S. Verizon SuperPages directories and 400 international directories with a total circulation of approximately 150 million copies worldwide.
Verizon Information Services also produces and markets SuperPages.com, the Internet's #1 online directory and shopping resource. SuperPages.com receives as many as 12 million visits and 9 million unique visitors a month. SuperPages.com also powers directory services on MSN, InfoSpace, AltaVista, Excite, Lycos, Ask Jeeves, HotBot, BigFoot, Tripod and Angelfire.
Based in the Dallas area, Verizon Information Services is a unit of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), one of the world's leading providers of communications services.
Through its signature Verizon Reads program and the Verizon Literacy Network, Verizon is committed to leading the fight to increase U.S. literacy levels by creating community and corporate awareness, raising funds, encouraging collaboration among literacy providers and engaging employees in supporting literacy programs. Verizon Information Services supports community outreach programs across the nation designed to increase the literacy rate of children and adults and to help people of all ages become computer literate.
Mr. Jones first became the voice of Bell Atlantic in 1989 when he was featured in a commercial campaign for Bell Atlantic Directory Services. He proved to be so popular that he was adopted as a corporate-wide spokesperson in 1995. And, when GTE and Bell Atlantic merged in June to become Verizon Communications, that partnership was extended. Mr. Jones' current activities as corporate spokesperson for Verizon include participation in many literacy and educational events such as today's book reading at the Department of Social Services at Harbor View Center.
Elizabeth Tusing, Verizon Information Services,