Signature Book Angel Program delights children at the Olmsted 67 Elementary School

Signature Book Angel Program delights children at the Olmsted 67 Elementary School

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

May 27, 1999

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

BUFFALO, N.Y. Like pennies from heaven, Bell Atlantic Dollars were distributed to children from the Olmsted 67 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 Buffalo area include working with Project FLIGHT Books for Kids Program which distributes books to underprivileged children, ages 2-12, who might not otherwise have the chance to own a book of their own.

Other elementary schools in the Buffalo area that already received donations through Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages' Book Angel program include: the St. Mark School, the Early Childhood Center 78 elementary school, and the Olmsted 64 elementary school. Students at Riverside Academy and the PS 45 elementary schools will receive their Bell Atlantic dollars early next month.

"The Bell Atlantic Book Angel program is wonderful, and we're excited to have it at our school," said Laurie Binder, librarian -- Olmsted 67 Elementary School. "For most children, the Bell Atlantic dollars were all that they had. Without them they would not be able to purchase a book. Putting books in the hands of children who wouldn't have them otherwise is great."

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 Buffalo.

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 Buffalo 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 43 million telephone access lines and nine 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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