More underserved high school students in eastern and southern Los Angeles will have opportunities to participate in formal debate - which provides a wide range of academic benefits - thanks to efforts of the Los Angeles Metro Debate League, and a $25,000 Verizon grant.
The grant from the Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, will enable the Debate League to expand activities to five additional schools in the city and train teachers to teach debate. Studies conducted over many years show that student participation in debate activities reduces dropout rates, improves grade-point averages and increases the chances of success in college.
"Debate changes what is possible for students in low-resource schools," said Brett Flater, executive director of the Los Angeles Metro Debate League. "For many of our students, this is the first time they are recognized for speaking up and arguing, something that normally gets them in trouble. I commend Verizon for their commitment and vision for making this initiative possible for more students."
Debate students engage in research and learn to articulate complex ideas and form analytical arguments. This increases their skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and written and oral communication. The students in the Debate League's program use Verizon's signature online educational tool - Thinkfinity.org - to facilitate their research.
"Verizon's partnership with the Los Angeles Metro Debate League will provide students with the writing, reading, persuasive-speaking and critical-thinking skills needed to thrive in college and succeed in life," said Elva Lima, Verizon vice president of strategic programs. "We are proud to partner with an organization that has made an impact in the lives of our youth."
The Verizon Foundation supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its free educational Web site, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence. In 2009, the Verizon Foundation awarded more than $67.5 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 an additional $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 the Los Angeles Metro Debate League
The Los Angeles Metro Debate League is a public-private partnership between the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate Commission and the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues. Together, we work to transform the educational experience for urban students in Los Angeles by facilitating participation in organized debate activities for as many students as possible. Studies show that debate significantly improves academic performance and prepares students to succeed in four year universities. For more information about the League, please visit http://www.losangelesmetrodebate.org.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: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 91 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 approximately 222,900 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.