Rockford Register Star
Nearly 200 N.J. Urban Youths to Connect With Nature by Teaming Up With Verizon Employees at Earth Day Event at Rutgers Gardens

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., April 18, 2012  /PRNewswire/ --  As part of Verizon's commitment to sustainability and volunteerism, the Verizon Foundation and the New Jersey School-Age Care Coalition  will hold a day of volunteer projects and activities on Saturday (April 21) at Rutgers Gardens, the botanical garden of Rutgers University, to introduce underserved urban youths to nature.

More than 100 Verizon employees and their families, along with nearly 200 youths from after-school programs in Perth Amboy, Paterson and New Brunswick, will participate in a variety of activities.  They include: helping prepare a community youth vegetable garden, assisting with a memorial planting in the Rhododendron Garden, playing family games in the Evergreen Garden, and taking a tour of the Bamboo Gardens. 

The event, to be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., is part of Verizon's and the NJSACC's celebration of Earth Day 2012, (April 22), and National Volunteer Week (April 15-21).

The participating youths are enrolled in after-school programs from the City of New Brunswick Youth Services, C.A.M.P. Youth Development Program in Paterson and the Jewish Renaissance Foundation 21st Century Community Learning Centers in Perth Amboy.

"This is the beginning of a relationship with Verizon Volunteers and after-school programs – a commitment to cultivating stewards of the environment," said Diane Genco, executive director of NJSACC. "This is what these youths need to connect with nature and to gain a greater appreciation of the value of green spaces to improve the quality of life in our communities.  Many of these kids literally do not know what to do in an open field, but we'll show them what they can plant with some digging, seeds and water." 

NJSACC, based in Westfield, promotes and supports the development, continuity and expansion of quality after-school programs for children and youths.

Jim Gowen, Verizon vice president and chief sustainability officer, who will volunteer at the event, said, "Sustainability is a key priority at Verizon, and this event is a unique way to engage our employees and the community to support sustainability initiatives and celebrate Earth Day. This also will help these youths learn important lessons about the value of good environmental citizenship."

Rutgers Gardens, which encompasses nearly 180 acres of maintained and natural areas on the George H. Cook Campus, is a self-sustaining operation, open 365 days a year, and is one of the few botanical gardens in the country that does not charge an entrance fee. It hosts a wide range of public activities to provide support for the care of more than 180 acres of maintained and natural areas, and offers a wide range of educational programs.

Saturday's event is one of about 30 community events, from beach cleanups to gardening, that Verizon's Sustainability Team has organized around Earth Day. Several hundred employees will participate in the events.  In addition, more than 7,100 Verizon employees in 20 countries – including more than 2,600 employees in New Jersey and throughout the U.S. -- are members of the company's Green Team and organize and participate in volunteer work as part of the company's commitment to environmental awareness and sustainability. 

Verizon is committed to minimizing its environmental impact and to find sustainable solutions that accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy. Click here or go to http://newscenter.verizon.com/press-releases/verizon/2012/verizon-announces-aggressive.html  for more information on Verizon's aggressive sustainability goals.

The Verizon Foundation helps people to live healthy, safe and independent lives by addressing disparities in education, health care and sustainability. Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live.  Verizon's employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 6.2 million hours of service to make a positive difference in their communities. For more information, visit www.verizonfoundation.org

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with nearly 108 million total connections nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500.  A Dow 30 company with $111 billion in 2011 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 194,000.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.  

VERIZON'S ONLINE NEWS CENTER: Verizon news releases, executive speeches and biographies, media contacts, high-quality video and images, and other information are available at Verizon's News Center on the World Wide Web at www.verizon.com/news.  To receive news releases by email, visit the News Center and register for customized automatic delivery of Verizon news releases.

SOURCE Verizon

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