CITGO Petroleum Corp. continues its support of Tampa, Fla.-based mobile literacy outreach and past Fueling Good winner, Bess the Book Bus, with a sponsorship of its “2011 Success in Sight Tour,” which most recently visited students in Houston.
Bess the Book Bus is scheduled to visit more than 44 states through the end of 2011 with a goal of reaching more than 20,000 underserved families and donating 100,000 new books to inspire young minds through the adventures that reading can bring.
In Houston, on May 17, Bess the Book Bus visited Collins and Hearne Elementary Schools, in the Alief Independent School District (ISD) near CITGO headquarters. The program involved a read-along, which was brought via video conference to all 3,500 kindergarten students in the district. Bess the Book Bus also distributed new books for kindergarten students, which were collected during a CITGO employee book drive. Alief ISD has been identified as one of the most underserved school districts in Houston.
Alief ISD Superintendent HD Chambers expressed appreciation to CITGO for sponsoring the book drive and for bringing Bess the Book Bus to Collins and Hearne elementary schools. “Our partnership with CITGO exemplifies how the business community can make a positive effect on our students’ education. By providing these young kindergarten students with books, CITGO is helping to promote a love for reading at an early age—a key component for student success.”
Bess the Book Bus was founded in 2002 by Jennifer Frances as a way to promote literacy and provide needy children with access to brand new books in and around Tampa, Fla. From its humble beginnings, Frances has grown the program into one of the nation’s most innovative mobile literacy initiatives. Year round, Frances and volunteers take Bess the Book Bus directly to underserved communities to read to children and provide what for many youngsters is their first new book. Fueled by excited children, a desire to raise literacy levels, and high-quality CITGO fuel, Bess the Book Bus is traveling the U.S., reaching out and inspiring children with books.
“We were thrilled to have Jennifer from Bess the Book Bus visit elementary schools in Alief ISD. This mobile library instills a passion for reading in the young minds of children and inspires them to reach out for the stars,” said CITGO Vice President Government and Public Affairs Daniel Cortez.
The visit to Houston by Bess the Book Bus is one more example of CITGO’s support of education both locally and at the national level. CITGO offers college and university scholarships each year, primarily in engineering, to deserving students at a number of institutions in different parts of the country. Also, Adopt-a-School/Partners in Education programs in local communities provide funds and volunteers, such as tutors, mentors and translators. These initiatives are in alignment with the principles of solidarity endorsed by the CITGO shareholder, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
For updates on Bess the Book Bus’ 2011 Success in Sight Tour, including a travel diary and photos from reading events across the country, visit www.Facebook.com/CITGOFuelingGood or www.Bessthebookbus.org.