The Official Portal for the State of Georgia

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue

First Lady Mary Perdue Receives Award at Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative Awards Reception Dinner

Thursday, March 2, 2006  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774

ATLANTA --First Lady Mary Perdue was recognized tonight for her statewide leadership on foster care issues at the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative Awards Reception Dinner.  Mrs. Perdue was honored for her work with Georgia 's foster youth through the Our Children Campaign.

The Our Children Campaign was launched in August 2003 to raise awareness about the need for foster care programs in Georgia and to encourage individuals, corporations and faith-based organizations to take an active role in addressing the needs of the foster care community. Since 2003 the First Lady has traveled throughout the state to speak on the importance of the Our Children Campaign and to educate communities about foster youth in Georgia . 

"Foster children face many different challenges in their lives. As leaders within our community, it is our responsibility to uplift their hopes, nurture their dreams and prepare these children for their future," said First Lady Mary Perdue. "Sonny and I have a very special place in our hearts for these children, and I am privileged to be able to play such an active role in educating Georgians about this cause."

The First Lady was presented the award for her commitment by Gary Strangler, president of the Jim Casey Youth Initiative. The initiative is a national organization with a mission to help youth in foster care make successful transitions to adulthood. Atlanta was selected as one of twelve pilot sites in the country to implement innovative strategies to enable foster youth ages 14to 23 to become financially savvy, save money, gain assets and offer other opportunities leading to self-sufficiency. 

The Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Opportunities Initiative (MAYOI) has completed its third pilot year with remarkable outcomes.  More than 226 youth have participated in the program and more than 40 youth have saved more than $57,000 to buy homes, start small businesses and purchase vehicles needed for school or work. MAYOI partnered with the First Lady's Teen Works program last year and provided 400 transitioning youth with financial literacy training during the Pre-Employment Work Sessions held at the Institute of Georgia Technology .