HOUSTON – May 9, 2017 – In recognition of the large role classroom attendance plays in boosting students’ academic outcomes, CITGO Petroleum Corporation is again partnering with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) this May for the Kindling Young Minds program. Through Kindling Young Minds, select Houston-area students are awarded Kindle Fire tablets for achieving perfect or much-improved attendance records. Representatives from CITGO and HCSO will help to distribute the Kindles at Alief, Houston and Spring Branch Independent School District (ISD) schools; more than 50 schools are participating in the program this year.
“For students, spending time in the classroom is an important contributor to strong academic performance, including higher literacy rates and improved academic achievement. Students must be in school every day, and they must be actively engaged in learning,” said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. “Thanks to Kindling Young Minds and our partnership with CITGO, we hope to make a dent in this number and show them how important it is for their futures that they continue their educations.” 
“We started this partnership with Harris County Sheriff’s office because truancy reduction benefits both the public and private sector,” said Rafael Gomez, CITGO vice president of government and public affairs. “Improved attendance gives employers like CITGO a better-prepared workforce for the future.”
To date, CITGO has helped distribute more than 400 Kindles to Houston-area students as part of the Kindling Young Minds program over the course of our four-year partnership with the HCSO.
As a long-time member of the Houston community, CITGO supports many educational initiatives in the Houston area. Earlier this year, CITGO partnered with mobile literacy program Bess the Book Bus to distribute more than 1,000 books to children throughout the Alief, Houston and Spring Branch ISDs to introduce them to the fun of reading. For many of the young students, the book they received is the first book they themselves have ever owned.
CITGO also partners with local schools and educational organizations through its CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline. The program promotes the importance of STEM education in the socioeconomic development of our communities and highlights the numerous pathways to rewarding careers, including those in the energy industry. It provides grants to schools to support programs that increase student interest, retention and graduation rates – particularly at the high school and post-secondary levels – and those that prepare students for STEM technical and university level curriculum. The program also provides scholarships for students pursuing higher degrees in STEM fields. Since its inception in 2016, the program has reached more than 3,000 students in the Houston area.

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