, 2000

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MAY  24, 1999  7:00 AM
Stand for Children
Laura Faer of Stand for Children, 202-234-0095, ext. 124
Communities Across America to Take a Stand for Children
WASHINGTON - May 24 - Hundreds of thousands of people across America will unite on and around June 1, 1999, for the fourth annual Stand For Children Day.

In an effort to get every child "Ready to Learn, Ready to Succeed," more than 1,500 volunteer-led events are planned to highlight the urgent need to improve children's education in and out of the classroom. "Stand For Children Day '99: Ready to Learn, Ready to Succeed" will also join people all over the world via a
"Cyber-Stand For Children" at

Communities across America are organizing rallies, marches, parades, after-school center and school renovations, literacy drives and a variety of other events to raise awareness about children's education, child care, out of school time, and health needs and increase support for local, state, and national measures to support children. Events include:

-- In Charlotte, N.C., on June 5, Bright Horizons day care centers will hold a Stand For Children Health Fair and will provide free dental screenings, places to sign children up for health insurance, and toothbrushes for children in need.

-- In Minneapolis, Minn., on June 5, more than 10,000 people are expected to attend the "Ready to Learn, Ready to Succeed in the 21st Century" Festival and Rally. Speakers will discuss the issues facing children in the next century, and there will be activities and free entertainment for children.

-- In Philadelphia, Pa., on June 1, the Stand For Children Day "Ready To Read, Ready to Succeed" Reading and Literacy Festival will feature a series of large pavilions with activities for parents and children.

-- In Washington, D.C., on June 1, parents and community members will join together for a Violent Toy Trade-In and Rally at the Washington Monument. Scholastic Books will donate free books to any child that turns in a violent toy.

"Stand For Children Day lets people from across America deliver a message to their leaders that every child deserves the opportunity and support necessary to succeed," said Jonah Edelman, Stand For Children executive director.

Two out of three 8th-grade students in the United States are not reading at proficient levels; 1 out of 3 children are behind a year or more in school; and 1 in 8 children never graduate from high school. And every day, in communities in every state, schools are falling apart around students struggling to learn. More than 14 million children attend schools that are in major disrepair, and 7 million children attend schools with life-threatening safety-code violations.

"We are failing to prepare millions of our children for the future, and in doing so risking our economic and social progress," says Edelman. "That is why it is so important that we take a stand to get every child 'Ready to Learn, Ready to Succeed.'"

Many Stand For Children Day organizers and participants are supporting a $400 million increase in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers for after-school activities in rural and inner-city areas, as well as S. 749, The Early Learning Trust Fund Act, which is designed to improve school readiness by providing states with $10 billion over five years in funding to strengthen and expand their early childhood education programs, and a $7.5 billion increase (over five years) for the Child Care Development Block Grant.

Stand For Children Day '99 is being organized by Stand For Children Chapters across the country and thousands of other supporters. Last year, over 1,200 communities held events focusing on child care needs.

"Cyber-Stand For Children" will take place in conjunction with Stand For Children Day from May 17 through June 6 on the Stand For Children Web site at Over 200,000 visitors are expected to participate and become "online advocates." They will send Cyber-Letters to Congress urging leaders to stand up for legislation to support children and families, sign the online Stand For Children pledge, and learn about the issues affecting children. Cyber-Stand For Quality Child Care '98 attracted 200,000 people to the Web site.

Stand For Children Day '99 is made possible with support from Yahoo! Inc., Silicon Graphics Inc., Bright Horizons Family Solutions, Latina, Scholastic Inc., and Freddie Mac Foundation. Scholastic will donate 15,000 books to be distributed at events nationwide.

Stand For Children is a nonprofit, nonpartisan national membership organization building a powerful citizen voice to give all children the opportunity to grow up healthy, educated and safe. An affiliate of the Children's Defense Fund, Stand for Children has Chapters working year round on hundreds of initiatives for children. Stand For Children began in 1996 when more than 300,000 people stood together at the Lincoln Memorial in the largest demonstration for children in U.S. history.


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