CITGO Fuels a Love of Reading in Partnership with Bess the Book Bus for 2016 Multi-City Tour

Mobile literacy program visited seven schools in the Houston area to kick off tour
May 18, 2016 10:30 AM ET
Representatives from CITGO and the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy are all smiles with Bess the Book Bus founder, Jennifer Frances, during a stop in Houston, TX.

HOUSTON, May 18, 2016 /3BL Media/ – CITGO Petroleum Corporation is proudly continuing its partnership with Bess the Book Bus as the mobile literacy program embarks on another annual, multi-city tour, traveling to more than 25 schools in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas throughout the month of May.

Dedicated to promoting literacy, reading to children and getting books into the homes of underprivileged children and families across the country, the CITGO sponsored Bess the Book Bus was founded by Jennifer Frances in 2002. Over the past 14 years, the bus has visited 48 states and distributed more than 500,000 books to children of all ages.

To kick off this year’s spring tour, CITGO recently hosted seven Bess the Book Bus school visits in its hometown city of Houston, Texas, including stops at Grissom Elementary, Alcott Elementary, Rees Elementary, Petrosky Elementary, Outley Elementary, Woodview Elementary and Sherwood Elementary. 

“Making an impact in the Houston area, where CITGO is headquartered, was the perfect start to this year’s tour,” said Frances. “CITGO is a fantastic partner to the program, not only engaging its employees, local Marketers and Retailers for events along the tour, but also providing much-needed resources for the Book Bus to drive across the country and promote the importance of reading.” 

The Houston leg of the tour was also enriched through the participation of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. Founded more than 25 years ago by Mrs. Barbara Bush and fueled by her passion for reading, the mission of this nonprofit is to advocate for and establish literacy as a value in every home. Frances and volunteers from CITGO and the Foundation read to several hundred students grades K-2 from each Houston area school and provided them with brand new books and bookmarks.  

“We believe literacy is a right that provides equal opportunity to achieving the American dream, which every child deserves,” says Julie Baker-Finck, President of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation. “Programs like Bess the Book Bus encourage our nation’s children to focus on reading as part of their daily educational routine, helping to provide them with a better chance to succeed in school and life.” 

CITGO partners with organizations like Bess the Book Bus and the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy to further its commitment of giving back to local communities.

“Education is a top priority for us at CITGO and we encourage our employees to get actively involved in local schools, helping enhance students’ education through presentations, career days and supporting programs like Bess the Book Bus,” said Rick Esser, CITGO Vice President of Supply and Marketing. “We believe that supporting education initiatives will help inspire students to challenge themselves academically and explore career possibilities they may have otherwise not considered.”

For updates on Bess the Book Bus' 2016 multi-city tour, visit, or follow the Book Bus on Facebook and Twitter (@BookBess).  

About Bess the Book Bus 
Bess the Book Bus is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization committed to extending literacy across the country. Run by Jennifer Frances of Tampa, Fla., the organization visits local communities across the country in a specially designed "book bus," coordinating reading events and providing children with free, new books for them to keep. For more information, visit

About CITGO 
CITGO is committed to giving back to the local communities it serves through its network of locally owned CITGO locations. Local CITGO Marketers are proud to support their neighborhoods and work with programs such as Bess the Book Bus and The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.  For more information on the positive impact of the locally owned CITGO stations, visit

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