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Georgia's First Lady Brings Together Corporate and Community Leaders for Georgia's Children

Thursday, August 21, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Our Children Campaign To Launch With Statewide Summit on August 27

Atlanta - First Lady Mary Perdue today announced a new initiative designed to energize community resources on behalf of Georgia's abused and neglected children. The First Lady's Our Children Campaign is designed to reinforce, support and give new opportunities to the many organizations and people around Georgia who are dedicated to the cause of protecting children. The campaign will kick off on August 27 with the First Lady's Summit On Our Children, a daylong workshop on protecting and supporting Georgia's children, to be anchored in Atlanta at Georgia Public Broadcasting and conducted simultaneously in locations around the state.

"One of my goals as First Lady is to bring attention to abused and neglected children in Georgia," says Mrs. Perdue, who has served as a foster mother to eight infants. "There is a lot of work to do, but when I see the passion and energy of citizens around the state, it gives me hope. If we work together, I know we can improve the lives of Georgia's children."

In addition to the Atlanta event, regional summits will be conducted simultaneously in seven locations around the state: Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Macon, Savannah, Tifton, and Toccoa. Speakers at the Summit will include First Lady Mary Perdue, Governor Sonny Perdue, corporate and community leaders, and individuals who have been in Georgia's foster child system. The workshops will include participants from a cross-section of Georgia's communities and will focus on how every citizen, from a single volunteer to a large corporation, can support the needs of Georgia's children.

In this state, every 30 minutes, a child is the victim of abuse. As of January 2003, 14,472 children were in state custody; of these, 7,904 were in family foster care and 892 were in special settings because of serious emotional problems. As of July 2003, there were 2,366 children in the legal custody of the state and available for adoption.

This new initiative will represent a first-of-its-kind statewide collaboration among leaders across the community including corporate sponsors, nonprofit child advocates, the faith community, and political leaders. "Too often, we rely on the same small group of people to make a difference," says Deborah Smith-Callahan, of Pfizer Inc., who is serving as Chairperson of the Steering Committee. "This summit is meant to change that - to bring together people who normally don't work in partnership, and to reach out to people from all walks of life."

Corporate Sponsors
The First Lady's Summit on Our Children is underwritten by Pfizer, Inc., and Hedge Funds Cares. Major conference supporters include the Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic at Emory University, BellSouth, Chick-fil-A, Coca Cola, Georgia Department of Human Resources, IBM, Porter Novelli, Office Depot, and the United Way.

The Summit is being hosted by Georgia Public Broadcasting and coordinated regionally by Family Connections.

For More Information
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