Signature Book Angel Program delights children at Garvin Memorial Elementary School

Signature Book Angel Program delights children at Garvin Memorial Elementary School

Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages donates $50,000 to further children's literacy

May 10, 1999

Media contact: Gia Oei, (978) 762-1333

CUMBERLAND, R.I. Like pennies from heaven, Bell Atlantic Dollars were distributed to children from the Garvin Memorial Elementary School last week. The children redeemed the Bell Atlantic Dollars to purchase books at their school's Scholastic Book Fair. The donation is part of Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages' signature program called, The Book Angel Program,which will donate $50,000 to elementary schools throughout the company's region this year.

Bell Atlantic's program ensures that each child in the school may select and take home a book of their own.

This is a single step along a student's journey to becoming literate, but an important one, said Michelle Coxen, manager - Community Relations at Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages. By giving each child the funds to buy a book, we hope to instill in them a love of reading and help lead them to a brighter future.

A recent study showed that 41 percent of our fourth graders in the U.S. cannot read at the basic level, and only 28 percent performed at or above the proficient level.

Statistics such as these convinced Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages to create a comprehensive outreach program to support children's literacy. The Book Angel is just one component of the efforts. Other efforts to further the children's literacy cause in the Cumberland area include working with Providence Reads, the city's literacy organization aimed at improving the literacy skills of all 13,000 Providence elementary school students.

"The Bell Atlantic Book Angel program is great," said Ellen McHugh, president - Parent Teacher Organization. The children and their teachers are very excited. "I think it's wonderful that every child is offered the opportunity to go home with a book, which would not be possible without the Bell Atlantic dollars."

Bell Atlantic has formed an alliance with the nationally recognized book company to roll-out the Book Angel program.

Scholastic Book Fairs, Inc. is a premier company for children's book fairs, so we're very excited about this new partnership with them, said Coxen. It seems that every day there are new reports about how reading to our children can provide them with a positive start in life. We're glad to extend our efforts to children in Cumberland.

Kerry Collins, vice president of Sales and Marketing at Scholastic Book Fairs, shares Coxen's enthusiasm for the project. We are proud to be involved with Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages' efforts to focus on children's literacy, said Collins. Providing the children of Cumberland with opportunities to read at an early age will improve their ability to become lifelong learners.

With more than 600 directories published in the United States and internationally, Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages is the world's largest publisher of Yellow Pages shopping directories. Its affiliate, Bell Atlantic Electronic Commerce Services, is the creator of BigYellowSM, a leading online shopping service on the Internet.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With more than 42 million telephone access lines and 8.6 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.

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