Creating portable classrooms to bring the joy of reading to the community. Supporting adult basic and English literacy programs. Helping students reduce summer learning loss. Teaching computer literacy skills. And providing tutoring services to children with dyslexia. Nonprofits in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia that provide these important services will be able to do even more, thanks to nearly $693,000 in funding grants from Verizon Reads.
Verizon Reads, an initiative funded through the Verizon Foundation, supports nonprofit organizations devoted to technology, literacy and educational programs for children, adolescents and adults.
"In today's global society, reading and comprehension skills are fundamental building blocks for a person's success in work and life," said Anthony A. Lewis, Verizon's Mid-Atlantic region vice president of state government affairs. "These Verizon Reads grants help strengthen the region's nonprofit organizations that work tirelessly to provide both youth and adults with the tools and training they need to improve their education, achieve their goals and contribute to their communities.
"Verizon is a global solutions provider in communications, broadband and entertainment," said Lewis. "We also are committed to a philosophy of shared success, in which we work to provide solutions that improve the communities we serve and create opportunities for people to prosper and excel."
Verizon awarded more than 50 grants in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and D.C. The grant recipients included:
- Latin American Community Center, which enhances parents' roles in their children's reading development.
- Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Delaware, for its highly successful school-based mentoring program for at-risk, low-income youth in Wilmington where students receive one-on-one adult intervention.
- Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, to purchase 10 laptops and tablets; provide gender-specific digital technology and reading literacy interventions to 8th graders attending Bayard and/or Alexis I. DuPont middle schools; and assist 10th and 11th graders in preparing for the SATs and college entrance exams.
- Baltimore County Public Library, to replenish items in the Maintaining Excellence in Literacy and Learning Storyville reading project targeted toward children up to 5 years of age, their parents or caregivers.
- Baltimore Reads, to fund portable classrooms that will allow adult learners to take classes in familiar settings where they are most comfortable - their own neighborhoods.
- CASA de Maryland, to support its English as a Second Language program designed to meet the varying needs and schedules of the community with day and evening classes and classes for day laborers.
- Dyslexia Tutoring Program, to help identify K-12 students with dyslexia and equip them with the learning tools needed to excel in reading and basic literacy during Saturday morning tutorial programs.
- Enoch Pratt Free Library, for its Emergent Literacy and School Readiness Program that engages performers, musicians, storytellers, puppeteers and theater groups to help the youngest of Baltimore's population develop a love of reading.
- Greater Baltimore Urban League, for its Freedom Readers project designed to support literacy by helping Baltimore City middle school students improve their reading and comprehension skills.
- Jewish Council for the Aging, to support Grandreaders, a school-based intergenerational literacy program targeting at-risk Montgomery County children in Head Start, pre-kindergarten and second grade. Older adult volunteers are matched with a child to enhance the reading experience through a variety of reading and language arts activities.
- Literacy Council of Montgomery County, for its Basic Literacy and English as a Second Language (ESL) tutoring program. This program is designed to help adult residents and workers who wish to achieve functional levels of reading, writing and speaking English improve the quality of their lives and their ability to participate in the community.
- Prince George's Child Resource Center, to support the Adelphi/Langley Park Family Support Center, which provides families with limited incomes and a strong desire to become more self-sufficient with daily adult education, family literacy instruction, parent/child activities, career planning, English as a Second Language curriculum, a comprehensive child development program and monthly family field trips.
- Beacon for Adult Literacy, for critical programs, including a job development initiative designed to enhance adult literacy, employability and job acquisition. These programs largely serve low-income residents - 80 percent of whom live below the poverty level.
- LEARN (Learn English and Reading Now), to support a mobile computer lab that will bring the classroom to businesses and industries in Augusta County that employ illiterate or non-English-speaking adults. LEARN's trained tutors use the Rosetta Stone Enterprise Edition, English software and laptop computer technology.
- Literacy Volunteers - Winchester Area, to support one-on-one tutoring programs that enable adults to improve their reading, math and writing skills in small-group settings; teach non-English-speaking adults to speak, write and read English; and provide basic computer skills training.
- New Horizons Regional Education Center, for its e-research STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) literacy project, which is designed to leverage students' interest in scientific research and assist in optimizing the Governor's School for Science and Technology Scientific Research and Mentorship program's opportunities. The project also will provide a mechanism for student researchers to pursue STEM research that could not be met with school resources.
- Rita Welsh Adult Literacy Program, to assist adult Literacy for Life learners who need more than basic phonics, but are not ready for General Equivalency Diploma (GED) preparation. The program targets learners with a third-grade reading level and includes reading, language arts and math.
- The Reading Connection (TRC), for its Arlington Kids: Read! Campaign, which encourages more Arlington kids and families to read together, in part through several community events throughout the year - all to expose children to free new books and encourage them to spend more time reading at home.
- Asian American LEAD (Leadership, Empowerment and Development) for Youth and Families, to promote the well-being of Asian-American youth and families through education, leadership and community building - all while focusing on improving the students' reading and academic performance.
- Byte Back, to provide more than 1,000 teen and adult students each year with computer and employment readiness classes in an effort to reduce the District's unemployment rate. Most Byte Back students live in Wards 5, 7 and 8 and range from teenagers to senior citizens.
- Critical Exposure, for its Photography, Writing and Leadership Training for D.C. Youth Program, which allows high school students to tell the story of their schools and their lives through a camera lens and a written essay.
- Urban Ed, to support the Lil Bitties Techno Camp, which uses technology in a unique way to help children increase their academic performance while having fun during the summer.
The Verizon Foundation helps people to live healthy, safe and independent lives by addressing disparities in education, health care and sustainability. Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live. Verizon's employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 6.2 million hours of service to make a positive difference in their communities. For more information, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.
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 consumer, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with 93 million retail customers nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500. A Dow 30 company with $111 billion in 2011 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 192,000. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.