Olcott Education Society Receives $20,000 Grant From Verizon to Help Students Improve English Language and Computer Skills

Olcott Education Society Receives $20,000 Grant From Verizon to Help Students Improve English Language and Computer Skills

Grant Is the Verizon Foundation’s First in India and Continues Verizon Employee Efforts to Assist and Mentor Students at Olcott Memorial High School

CHENNAI, INDIA - The Verizon Foundation on Tuesday (Dec. 11) announced a $20,000 grant to the Olcott Education Society to help students improve their English language and computer skills.

The Olcott Education Society, which operates the Olcott Memorial High School in Besant Nagar, Chennai, will use the grant to purchase and upgrade equipment to create a computer lab capable of assisting as many as 30 students at a time. The school also will receive CD-ROMs in numerous subjects, an LCD projector and other equipment to assist students in developing math, science and computer skills.

Students also will take part in language labs designed to improve verbal English skills and increase vocabulary.

The Olcott Memorial High School serves approximately 600 students in classes 1-10, primarily from the nearby fishing communities. There is no cost to attend.

"This grant will allow us to purchase the technology and tools we need to engage our students and give them a strong base of skills needed to participate fully in the information age," said Olcott Memorial High School Head Mistress Lakshmi Suryanarayanan. "We are thankful for the Verizon Foundation's investment in our school and the ongoing commitment of Verizon's employees to Olcott."

The grant to the Olcott Education Society is the latest step in a longstanding relationship between the school and Verizon employees based in Chennai. For nearly two years, Verizon employees have volunteered their time each week to assist in classes and mentor students at Olcott. The volunteer efforts are one of the community initiatives of SPICE (Software Professional Inspiring Community Empowerment), VDS India's employee resource group, which has been active since July 2004.

"Education is the key to unlock the promise of a prosperous future for all children," said Ramakrishnan Sundaresan, general manager, Verizon Data Services India. "At Verizon we are proud to partner with the Olcott Education Society to provide students with the tools needed to ensure they have the opportunity to gain the skills to succeed in the workplace"

"Improving educational opportunities for all children and advancing student achievement is a key mission of the Verizon Foundation," said Patrick Gaston, Verizon Foundation president. "We believe that technology provides an enabling tool to ensure that all children from New York to Chennai have access to high-quality, engaging, educational resources."

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is committed to improving literacy and education through its signature program Thinkfinity.org; fostering awareness and prevention of domestic violence; and promoting the use of technology in health-care delivery. In 2006, the foundation awarded more than $69 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched charitable donations from Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $29 million in combined contributions. Under the foundation's Verizon Volunteer initiative, one of the nation's largest employee-volunteer programs, company employees and retirees have also contributed nearly 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000.

For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

Olcott Education Society is named after its founder Colonel Henry Steel Olcott who founded the school in 1894. The school was founded to provide schooling to the children of the most underprivileged sections of society. The Olcott Education Society, the education arm of the Theosophical Society, continues to run the school with the vision "Social change through the education of the underprivileged." The Theosophical Society is a non-sectarian, non-political, non-profit organization. It stands for the equality of the human being.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 63.7 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network. A Dow 30 company, Verizon has a diverse workforce of nearly 238,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.

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