Men's Basketball Teams Up With Verizon For Local Literacy Project

Sept. 22, 2000

Santa Barbara, Calif. - Verizon Communications, the national communications company formed by the merger of GTE and Bell Atlantic, has teamed up with UC Santa Barbara Men's Basketball program to create a literacy campaign for Santa Barbara youth titled "Verizon reads with the Gauchos."

"Verizon reads with the Gauchos" is an extension of Verizon's national literacy campaign and UCSB Basketball's community outreach program. Through the program, members of the UCSB Men's Basketball team will visit local schools and clubs to discuss the importance of reading. Team members will distribute "Verizon reads with the Gauchos" bookmarks to encourage kids to participate in the program for an opportunity to earn tickets to Gaucho Basketball games and other prizes.

Participating students who complete seven books earn a Gaucho Gift Pack, which includes UCSB Basketball tickets and Verizon prizes. Additionally, one participant will win tickets to a Los Angeles Lakers' game in the Verizon suite at the Staples Center. The program kicks off Sept. 23 at the Book and Author Festival at De La Guerra Plaza and runs through December. Participants can obtain a bookmark at UCSB Athletic events, local schools, Verizon dealers, or select Santa Barbara bookstores.

"This program will make a difference in the lives of our children and we are proud to be a part of this effort," said Timothy McCallion, Verizon's Pacific Regional President. "Literacy helps people develop the life skills and economic opportunities that can change their lives. And when literacy is improved, everybody wins."

Verizon Communications, the national telecommunications company formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, is committed to promoting literacy efforts. To that end, the company has launched a presidential award-winning program, Verizon Reads - a comprehensive national initiative involving corporate philanthropy, community outreach, employee participation and collaboration with major literacy organizations. In support of the literacy initiative, the Verizon Foundation, the company's philanthropic arm, has made "e-literacy" a funding priority and plans to devote some $10 million annually in grants to promote basic and computer literacy. Verizon Reads supports a wide variety of literacy programs and works with a network of collaborative literacy partners to reach adults and children across America. In addition to working with the Gauchos, Verizon has partnered with the National Institute for Literacy, Literacy Volunteers of America, National Coalition for Literacy, National Alliance of Urban Literacy Coalitions, National Center for Family Literacy and Reading is Fundamental.

The University of California at Santa Barbara is recognized as one the nation's leading institutions of research and learning. The mission of the athletics program is to positively represent the University to a constituency of alumni, students, and community. The athletic program and its coaches and student-athletes are very active in local programs and charities and the `Verizon reads with the Gauchos' is another example of the University's role in the Santa Barbara community.

For additional information on the "Verizon reads with the Gauchos" program call 805-893-3451.