MILWAUKEE - Al Jarreau, the Grammy Award-winning jazz musician, will return to his hometown here on Wednesday, but this time he'll be on stage for a different reason--advancing the cause of literacy.
Jarreau, a Verizon Literacy Champion who volunteers as a national spokesperson for a more literate America, will address more than 800 Lincoln Center of the Arts middle school students at 10 a.m. in the school auditorium. In addition, he will join in presenting a $50,000 Verizon Foundation grant in his honor to fund the creation of a computer lab at the school, which he attended as a youth.
"As a Verizon Literacy Champion, my role is to encourage everyone to get involved," Jarreau said. "Whether you become a literacy tutor, read to a child, donate a book or encourage someone to seek help, you can make a difference in someone's life."
Jarreau will talk to the students about the importance of reading and writing--and his "performance" during the assembly will be reading the book "Charlie Parker Played Be Bop" to a group of Elm Creative Arts School second-graders who will join him on stage.
Jarreau also will appear from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless store at 300 E. Wisconsin Ave., where he will present autographed posters to anyone donating a new or gently used book. All books collected will go to the library at Sojourner Truth House, a Milwaukee domestic violence shelter.
Jarreau's record label, The Verve Music Group, also is supporting literacy. Verve is contributing a percentage of the sales from Jarreau's latest album, "All I Got," to literacy providers across the country through Verizon Reads, a public charity.
"The cause of literacy is getting a tremendous boost through Al Jarreau's efforts as a Verizon Literacy Champion," said Tracy Nolan, region president for Verizon Wireless. "We believe his donation of time and talent will be an inspiration to many to get involved."
Verizon is committed to being America's literacy champion and is conducting a national campaign to increase community awareness and to generate additional funding and support of literacy programs for adults, children and families. For more information, visit www.verizonreads.net.
A Fortune 10 company, 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 136.6 million access line equivalents and 33.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 13.2 million long-distance lines, and the company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. With approximately $67 billion in annual revenues and 227,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.