Long Beach, Calif. -- Verizon SuperPages today presented a $15,000 grant to fund the Long Beach Public Library's "Kids Who Read Succeed" Library Card Program. The program is designed to encourage reading and library skills among Long Beach first grade students at an early age.
Library staff, local dignitaries and members of the community gathered to celebrate the Verizon SuperPages grant at the Library's Main Branch where Verizon spokesperson and avid reader James Earl Jones treated 40 first grade students from The International School to a reading of "Grandpa Toad's Secret" by Keiko Kasza, a book about resourcefulness in the face of adversity.
"Reading is an essential element for becoming a productive member of any community. Unfortunately, there are approximately 42 million Americans who are unable to read. We share Verizon SuperPages' enthusiasm and passion for promoting literacy and greatly appreciate their continued support of the library," said Eleanore Schmidt, director of library services for the
Long Beach Public Library. "Verizon's generosity will help us reach our goal of making sure that all 10,000 first grade students in Long Beach participate in the 'Kids Who Read Succeed' program and receive a library card to help them start a lifetime of reading."
The "Kids Who Read Succeed" program provides first grade students with information packets including a letter to their parents from Long Beach Mayor Beverly O'Neill and Superintendent of the Long Beach Unified School District Carl Cohn, a library card application, and a new library card. Students come to the library to activate their card and receive special incentives. In recognition of his participation, the Library staff also presented Mr. Jones with a Long Beach Public Library Card as a token of their appreciation.
"Verizon SuperPages has long been active in the Long Beach community and we are glad that we are able to continue that support through the 'Kids Who Read Succeed' Library Card Program," said Del Humenik, Verizon Information Services regional vice president-sales. "According to a National Assessment of Educational Progress study, 49 percent of California fourth graders read below the their grade level. This type of program is very important to lowering that percentage by giving children the learning tools they need in an environment that instills in them a love of reading."
Verizon SuperPages sponsors community outreach programs across the nation designed to increase the literacy rate of children and adults and to help people of all ages become computer literate. These programs are part of Verizon's overall commitment to leading the effort to increase U.S. literacy levels. Through its signature Verizon Reads program and the Verizon Literacy Network, Verizon works to increase community and corporate awareness, raise funds, encourage collaboration among literacy providers and engage employees in supporting literacy programs.
About Long Beach Public Library and the "Kids Who Read Succeed" Program
The Long Beach Public Library includes the main branch and 11 neighborhood branches. It serves more than 462,000 residents of the Long Beach community. The goal of the "Kids Who Read Succeed" Library Card Program is to place a new library card and a packet of library information directly into the hands of all 10,000 first grade students in Long Beach each school year and to encourage reading habits of students at an early age. The packets of information include a new library card, a library card application, and a letter of support to the parents from the Mayor Beverly O'Neill of Long Beach and Carl Cohn, Superintendent of the Long Beach Unified School District.
About Verizon Information Services and SuperPages.com
Verizon Information Services is the world's leading print and online directory publisher and a content provider for communications products and services. Verizon operates in 16 countries and has annual revenues of more than $4.3 billion. The company publishes nearly 1,200 U.S. Verizon SuperPages directories and 400 international directories with a total circulation of approximately 150 million copies worldwide.
Verizon Information Services also produces and markets SuperPages.com, the Internet's #1 online directory and shopping resource. SuperPages.com receives as many as 12 million visits and 9 million unique visitors a month. SuperPages.com also powers directory services on MSN, InfoSpace, AltaVista, Excite, Lycos, Ask Jeeves, HotBot, BigFoot, Tripod and Angelfire.
Through its signature Verizon Reads program and the Verizon Literacy Network, Verizon is committed to leading the fight to increase U.S. literacy levels by creating community and corporate awareness, raising funds, encouraging collaboration among literacy providers and engaging employees in supporting literacy programs. Verizon Information Services supports community outreach programs across the nation designed to increase the literacy rate of children and adults, and to help people of all ages become computer literate.
Based in the Dallas area, Verizon Information Services is a unit of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), one of the world's leading providers of communications services. For more information on Verizon Information Services, visit www.Verizon.SuperPages.com. For more information on Verizon's literacy programs, visit www.SuperPages.com and click on the Verizon Reads icon.
About James Earl Jones -- Verizon Spokesperson
Mr. Jones first became the voice of Bell Atlantic in 1989 when he was featured in a commercial campaign for Bell Atlantic Directory Services. He proved to be so popular that he was adopted as a corporate-wide spokesperson in 1995. And, when GTE and Bell Atlantic merged in June 2000 to become Verizon Communications, that partnership was extended. Mr. Jones' current activities as corporate spokesperson for Verizon include participation in many literacy and educational events such as today's book reading at the Long Beach Public Library.