CITGO's Bess the Book Bus Sponsorship Fuels Kids' Imagination

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CITGO's Bess the Book Bus Sponsorship Fuels Kids' Imagination


HOUSTON -- CITGO Petroleum Corp. is continuing its support of the Tampa, Fla.-based mobile literacy outreach program and past Fueling Good winner, Bess the Book Bus, by sponsoring its "2011 Success in Sight Tour."

Bess the Book Bus will visit more than 44 states through the end of this year, 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, CITGO reported.

This Tuesday, Bess the Book Bus visited Collins and Hearne Elementary Schools in the Alief Independent School District (ISD) near CITGO headquarters in Houston. The program featured 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, according to the petroleum company.

Bess the Book Bus was founded in 2002 by Jennifer E. Frances as a way to promote literacy and provide needy children with access to brand-new books in and around Tampa, Fla. The program has since grown 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.

"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," stated Daniel Cortez, CITGO vice president of government and public affairs.

The Houston visit by Bess the Book Bus is the most recent example of CITGO's support of education both locally and at the national level, the company said. 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.