Verizon International Foundation Funds Technology Center to Help Students Improve Literacy Skills

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Verizon International Foundation has awarded a $75,000 grant to ASPIRA, Inc., of Puerto Rico to establish a technology center that will use computer-based programs to help improve reading and writing skills of disadvantaged middle school students.

The new facility, to be known as the Verizon - ASPIRA Literacy and Technology Center, will be situated at the Eugenio Maria de Hostos School in Trujillo Alto. Verizon's grant will pay for 10 new computers and associated software and learning materials as well as the salary of an administrative coordinator. The technology center is scheduled to open early next year.

Puerto Rico Telephone, a Verizon affiliate, will provide telephone wiring to link the center's computers to the Internet.

"ASPIRA selected the Eugenio Maria de Hostos School because its students need help," said Hilda V. Maldonado, executive director for ASPIRA, a nonprofit organization devoted to education and leadership development in Puerto Rico and the U.S. According to a Department of Education Comparative Study, the school is ranked among the lowest in academic achievement in Puerto Rico.

"The students come from low-income families who cannot afford to buy computers for their children. Thanks to Verizon International Foundation, this new center will help the students improve their literacy skills and realize their full potential," Maldonado said.

Fares Salloum, president-international, the Americas for Verizon, said: "Verizon has a longstanding commitment to support education programs that use technology. The new center will be a powerful learning tool, and Verizon hopes to extend this program to other schools in Puerto Rico."

Jon E. Slater, president and CEO of Puerto Rico Telephone, a Verizon affiliate, said, "The center is another example of how technology is an integral part of education in Puerto Rico and the rest of the world. Internet access will improve the academic development of these students."

School officials will incorporate the technology center into the school's curriculum. ASPIRA, in coordination with teachers, will monitor the students' progress in class to measure the effectiveness of the center.

Verizon International Foundation supports a variety of educational and economic initiatives that focus on literacy, workforce and community technology development. The foundation is committed to improving the quality of life of the global communities and customers served by Verizon and its international affiliates. The foundation works closely with Verizon's partners and a variety of advisory groups and other organizations to identify local needs and to develop and nurture programs that address those needs.

Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 128.5 million access line equivalents and 28.7 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with 256,000 employees and approximately $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.