HOUSTON, Oct. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- CITGO Petroleum Corporation presented Houston-based SpringSpirit Baseball with a grant in support of the non-profit organization's general education, afterschool, and academic academy programs. The funds will benefit more than 350 K-8 students enrolled in Spring Branch Independent School District (ISD) Title I schools. The program reinforces Spring Branch ISD's "T-2-4 Initiative" aimed at doubling the number of students who complete a technical certificate, military training, or a two-year or four-year college degree.

Students enrolled in SpringSpirit Baseball's after school programs pose with representatives of SpringSpirit Baseball and CITGO during a grant presentation earlier this week.

SpringSpirit Baseball, founded in 2010, mobilizes Spring Branch ISD community leaders and volunteers to find safe pathways for youth to realize life opportunities through education, sports, and mentoring programs. The support from CITGO will enhance the general SpringSpirit Baseball curriculum by: providing extra lessons for young athletes aimed at increasing reading and math comprehension by at least one grade-level; sponsoring educational discussions on the importance of a college education: hosting a reading club; and providing hands-on mentoring by coaches and program volunteers.

"Both CITGO and SpringSpirit Baseball are important district partners who help instill in our students the quest to achieve more than they think possible," said Spring Branch ISD Community Relations Officer Linda. H. Buchman. "Providing our students with positive role models, academic programming, and resources to help them find their strengths and develop as learners, athletes, and leaders is critical to their success. We are so appreciative of CITGO's tremendous generosity. They hit a home run every time!"

The SpringSpirit Baseball afterschool program will meet four times per week and feature all aspects of the general education program, as well as a life and career skills program, parental training, community service opportunities, and educational field trips. The SpringSpirit Baseball academic academy combines the activities of the general education program and the afterschool program, while catering to students who will benefit from intense academic training across disciplines, public speaking drills, and a visit to nearby Texas A&M.

"Helping students and teachers in and out of the classroom is central to our company's focus on education, a pillar of our committed investment in social responsibility," said Nelson P. Martinez, CITGO President and CEO. "Supporting SpringSpirit Baseball's efforts allows us to not only give back to our community and help youth continue on the path to academic achievement and a successful future, but also provide the area's schools with vital resources they need to fuel young minds."

At CITGO, we believe in using the strength of our resources to improve the quality of life of the communities in which we live and work. In Houston, we have partnered with nearly 20 organizations, investing in projects in education, environment, and health, and donating almost 2,000 volunteer hours to local community efforts. As part of our focus in education, we partner with the schools of the Houston, Alief, and Spring Branch Independent School Districts. One of our most recent efforts benefiting students from these school districts is the "Kindling Young Minds" program, an initiative designed to improve student attendance. Kindling Young Minds is a partnership program sponsored jointly by CITGO and the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter, and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by PDV America, Inc., an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information, visit www.CITGO.com.

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