Kent County, Michigan, Literacy Council Receives $10,000 Donation From Verizon Wireless

SOUTHBEND, MI — The Kent County Literacy Council can provide an additional 750 hours of free tutoring and educational materials to adults in the county in 2005, thanks to a $10,000 donation from Verizon Wireless.

"We are very grateful to Verizon Wireless," said Susan Ledy, director of the Kent County Literacy Council. "With approximately 14 percent of Kent County adults functionally illiterate, we have a waiting list of individuals seeking our assistance. With Verizon Wireless' generous gift, we will be able to help more people learn to read."

According to the council, research shows a direct link between illiteracy and poverty, joblessness and crime. Research also indicates that children who have not been read to by their parents do not succeed as well as their peers in school.

"The ability to read impacts each of us every day in more ways than we realize," said Greg Haller, president-Michigan/Indiana/Kentucky Region, Verizon Wireless. "All parents should experience the joy of reading to their children. No adult should be at a disadvantage because of the inability to read. This donation is a reflection of Verizon Wireless' commitment to our community and our faith in the Kent County Literacy Council's ability to motivate illiterate adults to learn to read, so they will be more likely to succeed."

As the only area organization to provide free, individualized literacy tutoring, the Kent County Literacy Council aims to help people improve their reading and language skills and to increase community awareness of the benefits of literacy. It provides individualized adult tutoring, a workplace literacy program, workshops to encourage family literacy, a computer lab where individuals can hone their skills and training for hundreds of volunteer tutors to assist them.

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 43.8 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at To receive broadcast-quality video footage of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at