HOUSTON, Sept. 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Upon the one year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, CITGO Petroleum Corporation and Higher Impact Ministries (H.I.M.) united to build two early childhood learning centers in the Independence Heights neighborhood of Houston. The grant will allow H.I.M., a faith-based literacy ministry with a mission of lifting early childhood youth and families in underserved urban communities, to provide wraparound access and services geared toward improving youth literacy rates.

"Our work with CITGO in the post-Harvey environment has been, and is, a tremendous example of how public-private partners can unite to enhance the quality of young children's learning in the face of helping to re-build the lives of families and communities that are in most need," said Rev. Ray Mackey, Executive Pastor of H.I.M.

The two new centers, which will be extensions of the L & S Small World Service Project, will provide literacy-partner workshops, family and youth reading initiatives and school district services in Independence Heights. The initiative will create a sustainable model to improve childhood literacy rates in the community. The support of the CITGO grant will also allow H.I.M. the expanded ability to finance and guide Early Childhood Centers with aid, resources and training opportunities that provide a pathway to becoming Texas Rising Star Certified.

"Improving childhood literacy in our community is a mission we are very proud to support," said Larry Elizondo, CITGO General Manager Community Relations, Corporate Social Responsibility & Legislative Affairs. "Higher Impact Ministries has a proven track record of meaningful work, and CITGO is committed to supporting their great impact – especially in the Houston neighborhoods that need it most."

On Saturday, September 1, 2018, CITGO and H.I.M. held a joint volunteering event to rebuild and repair the L & S Small World Academy, which serves more than 100 underserved youth and their families in Independence Heights and adjacent communities. The Community Service Project is a means of lifting L & S Small World Academy back to a reasonable standard of operations post Harvey, also due to the building's deterioration and its surroundings over time.

About CITGO 
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 Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information, visit www.CITGO.com