Friday, July 22

Verizon and ProLiteracy Worldwide Boosting Literacy Levels in Santo Domingo

It's good to see Verizon taking good corporate responsability. This makes a difference in curbing illegal immigration by preparing individuals in third world countries to earn a better living and contribute to their own communities.

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic--(HISPANIC PR WIRE)--July 22, 2005--Verizon Dominicana President Jorge Ivan Ramirez will read to children enrolled in the EDUCA program as part of a celebration of the more than 10,000 families enrolled in or graduated from literacy programs that span the country Beginning at 12:45 p.m. on Thursday, July 21, 2005, the reading will precede a news conference to be held at 1 p.m. at the headquarters for Verizon Dominicana, Avenida John F. Kennedy, No. 54, during which officials and graduates will discuss the success that participants have enjoyed over the past two years.

The nine educational programs in 377 communities across the Dominican Republic, which represent a collaboration between corporate and nonprofit sectors, have increased literacy levels as well as life and employment skills among learners from preschoolers to senior citizens. ProLiteracy Worldwide, the world's largest organization of community-based adult literacy programs, created and developed some of the initiatives using $248,000 donated over the last two years by the Verizon International Foundation and by counting on the support of Verizon Dominicana employees. The programs offer residents of urban and rural communities the
opportunity to learn in age- or skill-specific settings or together as families and provide the resources residents need to apply literacy skills toward the first steps in greater personal and economic development.

"It's inspiring to see how people of all ages who, by developing a proficiency in literacy, have unlocked their potential in so many other areas," said Dan Petri, president of Verizon International. "Our support of these programs is an investment in the future of the Dominican Republic, and the return on that investment is realized when we hear the success stories and from one visit to the next when we see the progress that has been made on a person-by-person basis."

From Santo Domingo to Guerra to San Pedro de Macoris, ProLiteracy has developed programs that incorporate literacy training into real-world projects such as micro-businesses, health initiatives or in community-building activities. Each program is tailored to a community?s specific needs, explained Lynn Curtis, vice president of international programs, ProLiteracy Worldwide.

"This approach drives results but it also helps secure the support of participants. They can see from the onset how what they learn applies to their everyday lives," Curtis added. "Once they've seen the benefit, participants return and serve as volunteers, so the program has an impact and is sustainable."