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Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue
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First Lady's Our Children Campaign to Recognize Civic Groups

Thursday, February 3, 2005  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


ATLANTA, GA – First Lady Mary Perdue announced today that her Our Children Campaign will begin recognizing civic organizations as Champions for Children. Civic groups, such as Optimist Clubs and Rotaries, will qualify as Civic Champions for Children by demonstrating at least three of eight practices for supporting Georgia's abused and neglected children. The eight guidelines include:

  1. Provide accessible volunteer opportunities for members
  2. Invite speakers to discuss issues relating to abused and neglected children
  3. Provide the Our Children Campaign toll-free number and/or website in your newsletter or other publications
  4. Give birthday or holiday gifts to foster children in your community
  5. Offer volunteer trainings for your group to learn about opportunities for involvement
  6. Provide a monetary or in-kind contribution to organizations benefiting children
  7. Sponsor a group home or other children's residential facility as a project
  8. Encourage other civic groups to join in your efforts

The First Lady is pleased to announce the first three civic groups to qualify as Champions for Children—the Smyrna Optimist Club, the Georgia Elks Association and the Junior Service League of Americus, Georgia, Inc. The Smyrna Optimist club has been involved with Calvary Children’s Home for over 30 years. Members have recently donated money to buy a bus, helped with landscaping and home repairs, hosted weekend home visits for the children and continue to provide financial support. The Georgia Elks Association supports the Elks Aidmore Children’s Center. Members sponsor fundraisers and holiday parties for the children and mentor opportunities are available through the center. The Junior Service League of Americus, Georgia, Inc. has supported Twin Cedars Youth Services by becoming a sponsor for an assessment center in Sumter County. The assessment center provides a comfortable and secure residence where children can stay up to 90 days, while a suitable living situation is determined.

“It warms my heart to see so many organizations uniting for the foster children in this state, said First Lady Mary Perdue. “This new recognition is not only my way of saying thank you to them, but it is my hope that it will encourage other civic groups to take an interest in foster children and make a difference in the life of a child.”

Until recently, the Our Children’s Campaign has focused on corporate and faith community involvement. With 20 corporate champions and 19 faith champions, the campaign continues to gain momentum with the addition of civic organizations.

“Working for these children has been a blessing to our organization,” said Susan Pearson, President of the Smyrna Optimist Club. “It is our obligation as citizens and stewards of this great state to take care of those in need. I am very proud to have a First Lady that cares so much for our foster children.”

For more information about the First Lady’s Our Children Campaign, call 1-866-786-6661 to learn how to get involved with Georgia’s abused and neglected children.