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Tuesday, November 22, 2005
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Appalachia READS expands literacy program through third Verizon grant

ATHENS, Ohio (Oct. 21, 2005) -- Appalachia READS, a literacy program based at Ohio University, has been awarded $30,000 by the Verizon Foundation to improve its Web site and expand the marketing of the program throughout southeastern Ohio.

Photo by Rick FaticaRoderick J. McDavis, president of Ohio University, accepted the check from Todd Colquitt, president of Verizon Ohio, during a ceremony in Oho University's Baker University Center today (Friday, Oct. 21).

"Literacy remains a critical need in the 29 Appalachia Counties in Ohio," McDavis said. "Ohio University is committed to our region and to being part of the solution to the challenges in Southeast Ohio. The generous funds from the Verizon Foundation will help us increase the visibility of Appalachia READS and improve our efforts to help the 702 literacy programs in this region."

Colquitt said that literacy is one of the primary focus areas for the Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications.

"If children -- and adults -- can read and write," Colquitt said, "their success in life is limited only by their ambitions."

McDavis cited statistics that each year approximately 1.4 million children leave school with low literacy levels, and that half of those individuals complete high school unable to read and the other half drop out of school.

Carolyn Ervin, executive director of Appalachia READS, explained that the grant will benefit the center in two ways.

The grant will allow the organization to improve its Web site, www.appalachiareads.org, by updating information and enhancing its usefulness to local literacy programs. Currently, the Web site provides links to literacy resources and training materials, grant sources, volunteer information and a variety of literacy resources.

Further, Ervin said, it will permit Appalachia READS to reach into the region to help local literacy providers maximize their resources and provide consistent teaching messages.

Colquitt said that in 2002, the Verizon Foundation awarded Appalachia Reads $105,000, and in 2004 the organization received a second grant worth $40,000.

Ervin said Appalachia READS will sponsor a video conference, "Marketing on a Budget," from 9 a.m. until noon on Wednesday, Nov. 2, to cover marketing and budget strategies, including fundraising information and marketing tips.

"This video conference is free and available to literacy providers at Ohio University campuses in Athens, Chillicothe, Ironton, St. Clairsville and Zanesville," Ervin said.

For more information on the video conference, call (740) 593-0160.

With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.

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Media Contact: Bruce Childs, (740) 383-0331 or Bruce.b.childs@verizon.com, or Media Specialist Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793 or jefferyj@ohio.edu

Note to Editors: Photos from today's event are available online at:

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