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Kids Who Give Contest

Revolution Of Responsibility

Youth Justice Math And Science Challenge Military Charities Give An Hour Mental Health Supporting Veterans Recognizing Veterans

Awarding Kids Who Give

(NAPSI)—Young people across America are making a positive impact in their communities by volunteering. Fortunately, giving back doesn’t always have to be its own reward.

Winners of the annual Kids Who Give contest, sponsored by Farm Rich, will each get a donation of up to $2,500 to their causes, a personal gift card and a prize pack valued at around $300. Grand-prize winners, with a parent or guardian, will also get an all-expenses-paid trip to the awards dinner in New York City. The contest is open to U.S. residents ages 7 to 17 and you can enter it at www.kidswhogive.com.

The contest was created by Farm Rich, the frozen snacks and appetizers brand, to recognize and celebrate outstanding young people who go above and beyond to volunteer in their communities in an effort to make a difference and to educate other interested kids on how to start giving back.

Entries will be accepted March 1 to May 31, 2011. You can join the conversations at www.facebook.com/FarmRichSnacks; follow @kidswhogive on Twitter; and view video entries at www.youtube.com/farmrichkidswhogive.

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4-H Youth: A Force Against Tornadoes, Unemployment And Obesity

(NAPSI)—After tornadoes ripped through her small town in Monroe County, Ky, 4-H’er Meg Copass decided to help her town better prepare for emergencies. After talking with local officials, Meg realized her town lacked the funds to pay for an early-warning emergency system that could alert the residents of approaching storms.

By organizing concerts, silent auctions, game tournaments and food sales, Meg single-handedly raised $11,873 from her community. With 80 percent of the total cost covered, Monroe County purchased the emergency response system. Now, a warning can be heard up to eight miles away and can be triggered by 911 emergency call centers 30 miles away.

At 16 years old, Meg’s commitment to her community made her county safer.

Across the country in Oregon, Jose Cazares and his group, the 4-H Tech Wizards, bridged the digital divide in their town by training youth and adults on how to improve their computer and Internet skills.

In Jose’s community, the increasing prevalence of high-tech workplaces has made it difficult for people without computer skills to find employment. However, the tutorials that Jose and his team provide teach how to e-mail, create a website and effectively search on the Internet for jobs and resources.

At the age of 17, Jose is helping his community become more appealing to employers.

Back on the East Coast in Wake County, N.C., 16-year-old Vivian McCarter made it easier for people in her community to find healthier food and to live healthier lives.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, two-thirds of all adults in North Carolina are overweight or obese. The state also ranks 11th worst in the U.S. for childhood obesity.

Using geographic information system technology, Vivian and her 4-H group mapped out grocery and convenience stores in their county and tracked the stores with healthy food options. They found a virtual food desert. So Vivian and her group initiated a campaign to convince store owners to add healthier food choices for their customers.

Vivian helped her neighbors live healthier lives.

Like Vivian and Jose, Meg credits her confidence and perseverance to what she learned in 4-H. “4-H helped me grow. It gave me the skills I needed and helped me to know myself better.”

Stories like these are taking place all across the nation due to the activism and ingenuity of 4-H youth through Join the Revolution of Responsibility, a multifaceted brand campaign launched by National 4-H Council. The campaign tells today’s 4-H story through the achievements of its young people. Visit www.4-h.org/revolution for more information about 4-H and Join the Revolution of Responsibility.

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Trying Kids As Adults: Policies Are Changing

(NAPSI)—More than 20 states in the United States have changed or are considering changes to their policies on trying kids as adults, according to a new report, “State Trends: Legislative Changes from 2005−2010 Removing Youth from the Adult Criminal Justice System,” released by the Campaign for Youth Justice.

Most of the youths prosecuted in adult court are charged with nonviolent offenses, and young people kept in the juvenile justice system are much less likely to reoffend than those transferred into the adult system.

“State Trends” examines 27 pieces of legislation removing youth from the adult criminal justice system, as well as showcasing states currently contemplating reforms. In the past five years, 15 states have passed legislation and at least another nine have active policy reform efforts under way. The report presents an overview of the major problems that result from trying youth in adult criminal court and analyzes four distinct ways by which states and municipal jurisdictions are changing the politics of youth crime.

States included in these trends are Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington. Other states mentioned in the report as on the horizon for reform: Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Oregon and Wisconsin.

“State policymakers are beginning to understand the research that kids are not adults and need educational and rehabilitative services,” said Neelum Arya, “State Trends” author and research and policy director for the Campaign for Youth Justice. “’State Trends’ documents the ineffectiveness of prosecuting youth in adult criminal court and tracks the trends of returning to the original promise of the juvenile court.”

In a rush to crack down on youth crime, states enacted harsh laws a generation ago, making it easier for youths to be prosecuted in adult criminal courts. Every state allows youths to be prosecuted as adults and an estimated 250,000 children are prosecuted as adults each year in the United States. In more than half of the states, there is no minimum age limit on who can be prosecuted as an adult. This means that in these states very young children, even a 7-year-old, can be prosecuted as an adult.

To get more information about this issue or to view the “State Trends” report, visit www.campaignforyouthjustice.org or call (202) 558-3580.

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American Teens Are Asking For A Challenge

(NAPSI)-A recent survey of teenagers in the U.S. uncovered surprising insights about math and science education in America.

What The Study Found

For one thing, the survey, commissioned by Intel Corporation, found the vast majority of American teens feel confident in their own math and science abilities. But they also generally agree there’s a math and science crisis in K−12 education in the United States. This suggests they may not feel personally responsible for the problem of falling math and science scores in the U.S.

Instead, teens primarily attribute their lack of confidence in the United States’ math and science abilities to a lack of work ethic and discipline on the part of others, not a lack of school funding or resources, which many experts point to as the culprits.

Fortunately, the teens do understand that math and science are important to their future success and express an interest in these subjects. Ninety-nine percent believe it’s important to be good at math and science and nearly 60 percent aspire to pursue a math- or science-related career.

What You Can Do

There are several ways parents can help children learn science and math. Here are just a couple of suggestions:

• Encourage questions. Encourage kids’ natural curiosity about the world. Scientists are professional question askers and relentless in their quest for answers.

• Offer a math- and science-friendly home. Science happens everywhere. Gardening, working on the car, construction, cooking and plumbing all use math and science. Encourage kids to practice predicting, measuring, observing and analyzing.

What Others Are Doing

The aim of the survey was to offer a student perspective on the complex issues facing American education today and to spark a debate about how best to challenge American teens to excel in math and science. As the sponsor of the Intel Science Talent Search and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Intel recognizes math and science as critical foundations for innovation. Over the past decade, it has invested more than $1 billion and its employees have donated close to 3 million hours toward improving education.

How To Learn More

To join a community of people sharing their stories with the hope of becoming a catalyst for action and a voice for change in global education, visit www.inspiredbyeducation.com. To view ongoing updates, join the Face- book group at www.facebook.com/InspiredByEducation or follow Twitter updates at www.twitter.com/intelinspire.

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Series Honors Service, Supports Military Charities

(NAPSI)—One common household product, used on everything from tools to automobiles, has gotten a major face-lift to help honor those who serve or have served in uniform. Select 8-ounce cans of WD-40® Multi-Use Product sold in the U.S. now feature special artwork that honors all branches of the U.S. military and pays tribute to those who protect their country at sea, in air and on land.

The special cans of the popular multipurpose lubricant, which has a multitude of practical uses in and around the house, will also help support a good cause. For every Collectible Series can purchased through Memorial Day, May 30, 2011, WD-40 Company will donate 10 cents to three military charities, a minimum of $100,000 per charity. Organizations supported by the program include: Armed Services YMCA, which provides educational, recreational and social programs and services for military personnel and their families; Wounded Warrior Project, which honors and empowers injured service members through unique programs and services that meet their needs; and Veterans Medical Research Foundation, an independent medical research institute dedicated to honoring service with science so every veteran receives the finest research-based care.

Those who purchase the themed cans will also get special codes to unlock exclusive online videos starring actor and retired gunnery sergeant R. Lee Ermey. The humorous videos feature the former drill instructor training civilians on how to use WD-40 Multi-Use Product to solve everyday problems around the house and in the garage. Consumers can also upload their own photo with “The Gunny,” share it with friends and get a glimpse of special behind-the-scenes footage inside the WD-40 Fan Club.

The WD-40 Military Collectible Series is available for a limited time at retailers nationwide. To learn more about the promotion, visit www.SupportTroops.WD40.com.

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Understanding The Psychological Effects Of War

(NAPSI)-If you know a service member who is having mental health problems, there are ways you can help.

Over 2 million men and women have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since September 11, 2001. Many have deployed multiple times and many have been exposed to the stress of combat. While not all who serve come home with severe mental health symptoms, all are affected.

Current studies suggest that as many as 35 percent of those seeing combat will eventually show signs of the invisible injuries of war—post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, depression, anxiety. Family members often recognize these signs before their loved ones yet feel unable to help.

Your loved one may return from war with understandablebut extremely complex and sometimes frightening—emotional, cognitive and behavioral reactions, including fear, rage, sadness, withdrawal, depression, anxiety, confusion, difficulty concentrating, memory lapses, headaches, body aches, substance abuse and relationship difficulties.

Your loved one may be reluctant to seek help for a number of reasons. Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, a licensed psychologist in the Washington, D.C. area, and founder and president of Give an Hour, a national nonprofit organization providing free mental health services to the military community, offers these suggestions:

• Be direct in your communication. Tell your service member how much you love him or her and that you are there.

• Express hope, optimism and commitment.

• If your service member is reluctant to seek professional help, offer to go with the person. Relationships can be adversely affected by the consequences of war and your willingness to do your part to work through these difficulties will be helpful.

• If your loved one remains unwilling to seek help, go for yourself. A professional can help you develop a specific plan to assist your loved one, and your loved one may be more willing to accept help upon seeing your example.

If you feel your loved one is a danger to him/herself or others, don’t hesitate to ask for help or call the police.

“We know that the psychological effects of war and repeated, long deployments affect many more people than just the service member,” notes Dr. Van Dahlen. “It is important to know that these kinds of reactions are normal and to remember you are not alone and that help is available.”

For more information, visit www.giveanhour.org.

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Supporting The Nation’s Veterans

(NAPSI)-Veterans make an important sacrifice for the nation, so you may well wonder what you can do in return.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can help:

1. Be a Good Neighbor

Be aware of the needs of your neighbors, friends and co-workers. Care packages and letters are important, but helping could be just as easy as doing chores for the military spouse down the street or visiting with a veteran at your local VFW.

2. Get Involved

Join organizations like ServiceNation and volunteer your time to participate in service projects designed to support soldiers across the country. You can visit www. missionserve.org to find a military-focused service project in your area.

3. Make a Donation

There are so many great non-profits that serve the military-from organizations such as Operation Homefront, which provides assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors, to the American Red Cross, which connects members of the U.S. Armed Forces with their families during a crisis.

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation recently announced a five-year, $10 million commitment to organizations that serve the veteran and military communities, placing a special emphasis on supporting job readiness and training programs.

The company funds nonprofits that assist veterans in their pursuit of higher education and enable veterans to more easily reintegrate into civilian life.

Walmart is actively engaged in job recruitment of former military personnel and is a charter member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program.

To date, the company has hired more than 300 junior military officers into store and corporate positions.

Walmart was recognized in the top 2 percent of veteran-friendly companies by G.I. Jobs Top 100 Military Friendly Employers.

To honor the military, the company donated $100,000 to support the New York City Veterans Day Parade.

For more information, visit www.walmartstores.com/veterans.

 

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Recognizing Hispanic- And Latino-American Veterans

(NAPSI)-More than 1.2 million of all living American veterans are Hispanic or Latino Americans. The Veterans History Project (VHP) of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress invites these brave men and women to share their unique stories of military experience.

Established by the U.S. Congress in 2000, VHP’s mandate is to collect, preserve and make accessible the firsthand recollections of America’s wartime veterans. The Project has collected more than 70,000 stories through a network of volunteers from across the country, making it the largest oral history project in the country.

VHP seeks to increase the number of veteran interviews from all minority communities, including Hispanic and Latino Americans, women veterans, and underrepresented service branches such as the Merchant Marines, Coast Guard, and National Guard and Reserve. Among the oral histories from these communities in the VHP collections are the stories of Raymond Ayon and Eva Jacques, both Hispanic Americans who served in the U.S. military.

In 1945, then 16-year-old Raymond Ayon was so fascinated with his older brothers’ letters home during World War II that he dropped out of high school to enlist in the Merchant Marines. After being discovered as under-age a year later, he returned to school, graduated, and enlisted in the Air Force in 1948. After training with a fighter bomber squadron, Ayon was later trained as a medical corpsman responsible for loading Korean War casualties onto transport planes bound for Japan.

When Eva Jacques enlisted to serve in World War II she was 4’11”, one inch short of the minimum height requirement. But the Army Air Forces waived its height requirement and allowed Jacques to serve two years as an administrative aide in the Pacific Theater because she had three years of college under her belt and was fluent in Spanish and English.

Ayon’s and Jacques’ stories, along with thousands more, may be accessed on VHP’s website at www.loc.gov/vets.

Learn how to participate in the Veterans History Project at www.loc.gov/vets (click on “How to Participate”) and download a Field Kit (a “how to record a story” booklet).

 

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AMERICA'S HEROES



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