PEP receives $30,000 Verizon grant

The University Pre-College Enrichment Program (PEP) received a $30,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications.

Stephen Euton, Verizon manager for Regional Customers Operations presented the check to the PEP during the Black Issues Conference on Sunday.

The PEP program is aimed at African-American and Hispanic high school students. It gives them an opportunity to reside on campus and attend academic classes in science, mathematics, computer technology, English composition, philosophy and career choices. Other activities, such as field trips, are designed to encourage personal growth.

‘The program is an opportunity for those students to experience what college is about,’ said Sheila Brown, the PEP director. It also encourages high school minority students toward higher education.

The PEP will use the grant funds to increase its operating budget, allowing more students to become involved in the program. A large proportion of the PEP budget is spent on covering residence hall and dining services fees for the students. The rest of the grant will allow the program to provide high qualities activities, field trips and staff; including some doctoral level instructors.

‘It helps to prepare future workers because these kids have an opportunity to attend school,’ said Theresa Lane, who works for Verizon.

‘I had the opportunity to speak to these students a few years ago. For many of them, the program just gives them a chance to become involved in the college experience,’ Lane added.

It is not the first time Verizon has supported the program. In 1998, PEP received $10,000 from the foundation. In 1999, it was $20,000. This year’s grant is the largest Verizon foundation award to a non-profit organization.

‘We are very active in the community as far as a company,’ Euton said. He added Verizon has had a long-standing commitment to education through the support of higher learning opportunities for Ohio diverse population.