PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Amidst grins, games and a flurry of page-turning, Verizon SuperPages today launched the statewide Books Are Wings program for 2002. The seven-month-long program, which last year collected more than 65,000 books for Rhode Island children, is sponsored by Verizon SuperPages in collaboration with Citadel Communications Corporation, the Rhode Island public library system and the Rhode Island public school system.
From April through October, Books Are Wings will collect new and gently used books and donate them to children at events held at libraries throughout the state. This year's goal is to distribute 100,000 books. Verizon has been involved with the program, originally the brainchild of State Representative Elizabeth M. Dennigan, for two years.
"I began this project to give kids access to books that they might not otherwise have an opportunity to enjoy," said State Representative Elizabeth M. Dennigan, who represents District 82 in East Providence and Pawtucket. "Thank you, Verizon SuperPages for helping the Books Are Wings program blossom and reach its full potential. Your support allows children across the Ocean State to discover the joys of reading."
Elected officials, teachers, librarians and elementary school children celebrated the event at a reception at the Rhode Island State House today. Following the State House event, the first Books Are Wings celebration brought families together at the East Providence Weaver Memorial Public Library. The community party featured prizes, music, dancing, face painting and refreshments. Children received free books and special "no homework" coupons.
"Verizon SuperPages' literacy initiatives are targeted to programs such as Books Are Wings because reading makes a difference in children's lives," said Todd Sanislow, Rhode Island general manager for Verizon SuperPages. "Our funding of this program enables us to distribute books to children in need throughout the state. Statistics show that 43 percent of people with lower literacy skills are aggregated in disadvantaged areas. Our two-year commitment to this program will allow us to get more than 165,000 books into the hands of Rhode Island children by the end of 2002."
Verizon SuperPages sponsors community outreach programs across the nation designed to promote literacy initiatives for both 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.
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 as well as more than 2,500 affiliate Web sites.
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 Verizon.SuperPages.com. For more information on Verizon's literacy programs, visit SuperPages.com and click on the Verizon Reads icon.