Verizon Supports Technology and Education With $50,000 Grant to the Carson Scholars Fund

Dr. Benjamin Carson told 50 students from Bluford Drew Jemison S.T.E.M. Academy how he became a world-renowned neurosurgeon, in an effort to motivate them to work hard, stay focused and pursue their dreams.

During a forum, held Monday (Jan. 23) at Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Verizon Foundation presented a $50,000 grant to the Carson Scholars Fund, a nonprofit organization that rewards outstanding students in grades 4-11 with $1,000 scholarships that are invested for college.

Carson, who is president and co-founder of the fund, has dedicated his life to encouraging others to do their best.  During the forum, he told students that his life began in poverty, and that he had poor grades and a violent temper.

After his mother, who only had a third-grade education, challenged him to strive for excellence, he rose from the bottom to the top of his class.  His achievements earned him scholarships to college and medical school.

Carson is professor and director of pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore.  He is renowned for leading a medical team that separated West German conjoined twins in 1987, as well as for performing brain surgery to stop seizures.  He is also the author of three books: "Gifted Hands," "THINK BIG" and "The Big Picture."

Verizon's $50,000 grant to the Carson Scholars Fund will help purchase iPads, interactive white boards, laptop computers, e-books and literacy software for the Ben Carson Reading Rooms - one at the Gwynns Falls Elementary School, a Title 1 school in Baltimore; the other at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va.

To heighten the students' literacy experience, the Carson Scholars Fund plans to hire two individuals with education experience to work part-time as program coordinators with the students, individually and in small groups.  The coordinators will use the new equipment to accommodate the students' varying needs, interests, ability levels and learning styles.

"In a world of near-constant innovation and technological advances, we're seeing an increased emphasis on students learning math and science in school," said Pamela Leftrict, director of mid-Atlantic government affairs at Verizon.  "Verizon has a long-standing record of support for innovative programs that incorporate technology in education, and we're proud to support the Carson Scholars Fund in providing innovative yet fun ways for students to learn and understand the sometimes difficult subject matter."

Late last year, Carson participated in Verizon's Thinkfinity Educational Speaker Series.  During this live webcast, Carson shared his life experiences to motivate and inspire students and teachers.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with nearly 109 million total connections nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500.  A Dow 30 company with $111 billion in 2011 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 194,000.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.