HOUSTON, May 29, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- In recognition of the role attendance plays in boosting students' success, CITGO Petroleum Corporation partnered with the Harris County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) 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 distributed the Kindles at Alief, Houston and Spring Branch Independent School District (ISD) schools on May 22 and May 25, 2018.

"The link between attendance and educational outcomes is clear as day," said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. "You simply cannot achieve in the classroom if you are not there. Through Kindling Young Minds, we can provide an educational incentive for attendance. I am incredibly proud of the work we've done alongside CITGO to help improve attendance rates throughout the Houston area."

This year, 50 winning students in each ISD were awarded a Kindle, for a total of 150 Kindles. To date, CITGO has helped distribute more than 500 Kindles as part of the Kindling Young Minds program over the course of a five-year partnership with the HCSO.

"At CITGO, we live by our commitment to aiding the communities in which we live and work," said Rafael Gomez, CITGO Vice President of Government and Public Affairs. "I can think of no better way to demonstrate that commitment than to start with children. Supporting quality education is a fundamental step toward securing Houston's prosperity for generations to come."

As a long-time member of the Houston community, CITGO supports many local educational initiatives. CITGO is an annual partner of the mobile literacy program Bess the Book Bus, which distributes more than 1,000 books to children throughout the Alief, Houston and Spring Branch ISDs. For many, the book they receive is the first book they 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 pathways to rewarding careers, including in the energy industry. It provides grants to support programs that increase student interest, retention and graduation rates – particularly at the high school and post-secondary levels – and prepares students for STEM technical and university-level curriculums. The program also provides scholarships for students pursuing degrees in STEM fields. Since its inception in 2016, the program has reached more than 3,000 Houston-area students.

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.