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Norfolk Disadvantaged Teens Find Dough In Pizza
Bell Atlantic Employee Helps Youth Run Thriving Business
May 16, 1997
NORFOLK, VA -- Jimmie White repairs telephone cables by day for Bell
Atlantic customers. His time off is spent educating young
entrepreneurs on how to run a successful pizza delivery business which
serves low-income Norfolk area residents.
Recently, White was recognized by Bell Atlantic for his personal
commitment to the Norfolk community. He was presented the 1997
Spirit of Excellence Citation Award by Ray Smith, Bell Atlantic
chairman and CEO. Smith praised White for "raising the bar for all of
us, for making a difference, and for adding prestige to the Bell
Two years ago, White helped local youth start their business near a
500-unit public housing project when, due to high crime rates, some
local businesses refused to deliver food and other products to Roberts
"We all feel like leaders now," said the young business entrepreneurs
of The Roberts Village Pizza-Ria . "Mr. White helped us accomplish
something that many adults could not. We are now seen as role models
among our peers and leaders in our community. Mr. White has greatly
impacted our lives," they said in a testimonial to the Bell Atlantic
Working with disadvantaged youth who often lack self-esteem and
positive role models has motivated White, a Bell Atlantic cable
technician, to provide countless hours in service to his community.
"I encourage them to take the right path by keeping them focused.
Some of these young people don't see adults getting up to go to work
every day," he said.
White educated the entrepreneurs on how to run a successful business,
including marketing and investing skills. He negotiated with a large
pizza franchise to purchase pizzas at wholesale. White also worked
with government agencies in Norfolk for loans, permits, store
facilities and equipment to launch the youth-owned pizza business.
In just two years, Pizza-Ria is already a profitable business and has
repaid its start-up loan. Pizza-Ria recently donated funds for a
public housing youth college scholarship, and also offered free pizza
during Norfolk's Red Ribbon Campaign Week. In 1996, the pizza
entrepreneurs received the Governor's Award for Youth Group of the
Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE: BEL) is at
the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, Bell Atlantic's telephone companies are the
premier providers of local telecommunications and advanced services.
Globally, it is one of the largest investors in the high-growth
wireless communication marketplace. Bell Atlantic also owns a
substantial interest in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and is
actively developing high-growth national and international business
opportunities in all phases of the industry.