'Brave Kids' Partners With Verizon to Help Los Angeles Families of Children With Special Needs

Brave Kids, a nonprofit organization that created the first online support community for families of children with special needs, has expanded a comprehensive directory of essential resources to better serve families in Los Angeles, thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation.

The directory, a searchable database at www.bravekids.org, gives parents and caregivers instant access to information on 12,000 topics including local support agencies and medical information pertaining to 50 specific childhood illnesses and conditions. The Verizon grant funded expansion of the directory to include resources in and around Los Angeles. The directory had previously listed resources in15 other metropolitan areas, including Long Beach, Orange County, San Francisco, Sacramento, Chicago and New York.

The Brave Kids website has software that can translate the information into 10 languages: Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic and Japanese.  In addition, the website features message boards where parents of children with special needs can connect with one another.

"Parents who have access to the Internet can go to www.bravekids.org, type in their Zip code and immediately find health services, support groups, financial assistance and other resources for their child's illness," said Kristen Fitzgerald, founder and executive director of Brave Kids.

Brave Kids also provides family resource centers to children's hospitals and clinics in select cities across the country. These centers help parents locate pediatric medical information and resources for their ill children while they are in the hospital.  Children can use the computers in the resource centers to connect with family and friends.

Gene Eng, Verizon vice president of strategic programs, said, "Verizon is pleased to partner with Brave Kids to provide a much-needed resource that will greatly benefit Los Angeles-area families with special-needs children and others across the country.  The Brave Kids directory is a great example of how technology can increase access to health care and improve quality of life."

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its free educational website, Verizon Thinkfinity (www.thinkfinity.org), and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2009, the Verizon Foundation awarded $67.9 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  It also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $26.1 million in combined contributions to nonprofits.  Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 5 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

About Brave Kids
Brave Kids is a nonprofit organization registered under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code that helps children with special needs. In addition to the website, www.bravekids.org, the organization provides education outreach to teach parents and professionals how to use technology to locate resources for children with special needs and disabilities and donates resources to children's hospitals and clinics.

About Verizon
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 93 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 195,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.