VERIZON IN THE COMMUNITY: ABQ Reads Celebrates Unprecedented Program Support

Last week, Team Verizon was in Albuquerque and stopped by Bel Air Elementary School for a behind-the-scenes peek at the school’s Albuquerque Reads program for kindergartners – and for a celebration of the company’s unprecedented support for the program.

Over the course of the morning of April 11, Verizon leaders met with representatives from the Chamber and Albuquerque Public Schools as well as Bel Air’s principal and teachers. After meeting with the program’s volunteer tutors, the team got to sit in on a tutoring session to watch students practice their reading.

Then, after a discussion on Albuquerque Reads’ impact on the local community, came the main event: Verizon’s presentation of a huge $45,500 check to the reading tutoring program, marking its investment over recent years. As a fun bonus, it happened to be the birthday of one of the students – he had the honor of holding the giant check in the above photo.

For 20 years, the Chamber has partnered with Albuquerque Public Schools to boost literacy in elementary classrooms. ABQ Reads pairs local volunteers of all kinds of ages, backgrounds, and professions with kindergarten and first-grade students from three Title I APS schools. These volunteers, individually or as a team, dedicate 90 minutes a week of their time for one-on-one tutoring in reading and writing skills that will serve these young readers for the rest of their lives.

Literacy skills are vital for our kids – studies show that students who can’t read on grade-level by the time they reach fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. But ABQ Reads students consistently show impressive improvement from the beginning of the school year to the end.

For years, Verizon has been an outstanding supporter of the Albuquerque Reads program. Thursday’s check represents the company’s monetary contributions to the program over the last several years – support they’ve generously pledged to continue into the future.

At the Chamber, we’re grateful to the many community members who make our students’ reading growth possible, including our tutors and APS staff. But we’re especially thankful to Verizon for the resources that keep the program running – and put high-quality reading materials into our students’ hands.

Our schools’ programs will be celebrating the end of the school year in the coming weeks – keep an eye out for Chamber coverage of these fun events with our readers and tutors.

And of course, it’s never too early to start thinking about next school year. To learn more about this program and how you can contribute as a tutor, click here.

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