Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Inaugural Kidsfest Event Planned for October 1, 2011

Kids, grab your friends and family and do not miss the Atlanta-area’s premier Kidsfest event! Sponsored by the City of Avondale Estates and presented by The Museum School of Avondale Estates, Kidsfest will be held October 1, 2011, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the intersection of Pine Street and Franklin Street in quaint Avondale Estates. Admission is free, and activity wrist bands will be sold onsite. All proceeds benefit The Museum School and will be used for much-needed school resources.

“Avondale Estates is proud to sponsor the inaugural Kidsfest event,” says Ed Rieker, Mayor of Avondale Estates. “We are proud of our little museum town and look forward to welcoming children, families, and kids at heart for this special event. In Avondale Estates, you will find a unique community, with great businesses, in an in-town location. It's going to be a wonderful day and a fun family experience.”

“The Museum School is pleased to be working with the City of Avondale Estates and its many great sponsors to present the community's first Kidsfest,” said Katherine Kelbaugh, principal of The Museum School of Avondale Estates. “This event is centered around children and families and promises to bring fun to kids of all ages. Kidsfest is shaping up to be one of the must-attend fall festivals in the Atlanta area, and we hope that everyone will mark their calendars to join us on October 1.”

Headline entertainment for the extravaganza is nationally known performing group Laughing Pizza (www.laughingpizza.com ), who will embark later this fall on a national PBS tour. Laughing Pizza is widely recognized from their music videos and appearances on PBS, and their award-winning “Let’s Go Play” CD is now available on Amazon.com and iTunes .

Kidsfest will kick off with a Fun Run/Walk and will feature four “hands-on” areas or “Kid Zones.” These include:
  • Visual Arts – Art is fun. Activities will include hands-on art as well as displayed art (via a special kids’ gallery) for all to enjoy. This is also a great area to get your face painted, help create a mural, make puppets, and more.
  • Performing Arts – Don’t miss special musical performances by nationally known kids entertainers, local children’s choirs and dance studios, storytellers, and more. Kids can make their own musical instruments, and there will be balloons and bubbles galore.
  • Sports and Wellness – All sizes definitely play here. This zone is for kids of every age. It’s time to get moving, shaking, and jumping with bounce houses and fun activities designed to get attendees active and engaged.
  • Food / Nutrition – Do not miss the “good eats” from favorite Atlanta-area eateries for all to enjoy. Food trucks are welcome here.
To secure a Kidsfest booth or to become a Kidsfest 2011 Founding, Activity/Event, or Explorer sponsor, please contact Kidsfest Co-chairs Angela Fisher and Kris Hammett at Tms.pto@themuseumschool.org .

The Kidsfest logo design was created by local Decatur artist Valerie Davis of Valerie Davis Designs.

For more information, visit www.kidsfestga.com , the Kidfest community page on Facebook, or follow Kidsfest (kidsfestga) on Twitter! To speak with a Kidsfest representative, please contact Gina Hill at gina_greene@hotmail.com or 404-558-8808.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Paul Mesner Puppets Presents Martha Speaks at Center for Puppetry Arts

The Best-Selling Books Come to Life on Stage
Based on the best-selling “Martha” books by Susan Meddaugh, and produced by special arrangements with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and WGBH Educational Foundation, Center for Puppetry Arts invites audiences to see Martha jump off the pages onto the stage in Martha Speaks. Dog lovers and kids of all ages will be charmed by Paul Mesner Puppets’ rendition of the popular book and PBS animated series.

When the family feeds alphabet soup to their dog Martha, the letters go to her brain instead of her stomach, and Martha begins to speak. Having a talking dog is not as fun as it seems and the family starts to wish their verbose canine had a mute button.

WHEN: July 19-31, 2011
Tuesday – Friday: 10 a.m. & 12 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., & 3 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m. & 3 p.m.

WHERE: Center for Puppetry Arts
1404 Spring Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30309

For more information, please call 404-873-3391 or visit www.puppet.org

Included in the ticket cost is admission to the Create-A-Puppet Workshop, where visitors can experience the thrill of puppetry by creating their own Talking Dog Hand Puppet or pick up a Create-A-Puppet To-Go Kit to continue the fun at home!

Investigate all kinds of puppets in the Center’s permanent museum PUPPETS: The Power of Wonder as well as three exclusive exhibits featuring the work of Jim Henson. Also, be sure to take a look at the newest items in our collection in Passports: New Arrivals from the World of Puppetry. Please visit www.puppet.org for more information on the Museum and Special Exhibits.

TICKETINGTickets for patrons two and older are $16.50 and include admission to the performance, Create-A-Puppet Workshop (or Create-A-Puppet To-Go Kit), and all museum exhibits. Membership and group rates are available. ORDER TICKETS ONLINE AT WWW.PUPPET.ORG OR CALL THE TICKET SALES OFFICE AT: 404-873-3391.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Center for Puppetry Arts Hosts “Circus Days” to Welcome CINDERELLA DELLA CIRCUS, June 18 and 19

The circus is coming! The circus is coming! To welcome the opening weekend of Cinderella Della Circus, Center for Puppetry Arts will be giving away clown noses to the first 50 kids who arrive in costume on Saturday, June 18 and Sunday, June19. Children are invited to come dressed as Cinderella or the Handsome Prince, or even an elephant, a clown or an acrobat - anything found under the big top.

But wait - there’s even more circus fun! Visitors can take silly photos at the Cinderella Della Circus Photo Board and post photos to the Center’s Facebook wall, or tag photos on Twitter or Flickr with #puppetnoses to be added to the Center’s Clown Family Album. Visitors will also have the opportunity to explore the Center’s museum exhibition, Puppets: The Power of Wonder, temporarily re-named Barnum’s Museum Midway, complete with puppet animals, creatures and performers from around the world.

WHAT: Circus Days at the Center for Puppetry Arts
Fun activities and free clown noses to the first 50 children in costume

WHEN: Saturday, June 18, 2011, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 19, 2011, 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

WHERE: Center for Puppetry Arts
1404 Spring Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30309

HOW: FREE with the purchase of an admission ticket
Clown noses will be given to the first 50 children who arrive in costume. Limit 1 clown nose per child.

For more information on this event, please visit http://www.puppet.org/perform/cinderelladella11.shtml

Tickets to CINDERELLA DELLA CIRCUS, at the Center for Puppetry Arts from June 16 – July 17, are available at the Center Ticket Office, online at www.puppet.com or by calling 404.873.3391. General Admission Tickets are $16.50; Member Tickets are $9.25; tickets include Create-A-Puppet Workshop and Museum.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Meet Dora and Diego at Party for the Planet

Children’s favorites Dora and Diego and two eager troops of egg-hunting gorillas will headline as featured attractions at Party for the Planet presented by Georgia Natural Gas and Downey Trees on Saturday, April 23 at Zoo Atlanta.

The popular characters from the world-famous animated series Dora the Explorer appear live for exclusive meet-and-greets throughout the event. Additional highlights will include green exhibitors, arts and crafts, and an earthworm dig during a dynamic day of family Earth Day fun.

Later that afternoon, it’s time for ready-set-go as western lowland gorillas collect treats during the Zoo’s annual gorilla egg hunt. In what has become a favorite spring tradition in Atlanta, the gentle giants will hunt for hidden Jell-O eggs at 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. in The Ford African Rain Forest.

Party for the Planet is free for Zoo Members and children under 3; free with general admission. Visit zooatlanta.org for tickets and details.


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Camp is on Target! Summer Archery Camps Combine All Things Outdoors

Designed with everything outdoors in mind, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division’s summer archery camps aim to educate and engage adventurous youth. Registration is now open for several camps, some beginning as early as May!

“Archery camp is going to be a great experience for campers with lots of fun-filled outdoor adventures,” says Jen Pittman, shooting sports program manager with the Wildlife Resources Division. “This is a great opportunity to develop archery skills and to expose children to the exciting outdoor opportunities around them.”

Campers should expect constant activity, including target practice, fishing, outdoor exploration, wildlife identification and hunter safety presentations. Archery camps are intended for youth ages 9-14. To register, an archery camp registration packet must be completed and turned in along with payment to the Wildlife Resources Division.

For more information on summer archery camps, visit www.georgiawildlife.com , select “Education,” “Shooting Sports” and “Archery Summer Day Camp.”


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75 Drownings and Near-Drownings in 15 Weeks

With the summer swimming season just around the corner, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives campaign is releasing its 2011 television and radio public service announcements (PSAs) highlighting various water safety steps that can be taken to save a life. In the first few months of 2011, there have been 37 drownings and 38 near-drowning incidents reported by the media across America. Developed with the campaign's national partners the American Red Cross and the Y, the PSAs are being released nationally today urging parents and children to adopt as many safety steps as possible in and around pools and spas. The Pool Safely campaign is the federal government's first-of-its-kind national public education effort to reduce child drownings and near-drownings in swimming pools and spas.

"As the summer swimming season approaches, our message to parents and caregivers is simple: stay safe in and around pools and spas by practicing as many safety steps as possible. This includes staying close to children at all times, knowing water safety skills like CPR, and ensuring anti-entrapment drain covers are installed in all pools and spas," said Inez Tenenbaum, Chairman of the CPSC.

The PSAs introduce four families and their stories about the simple steps that save lives: door alarms, knowledge of CPR, fencing around pools and spas and safety drain covers in pools and spas. The radio PSAs promote the importance of swimming lessons as a simple step that saves lives. Available to local television and radio stations in both English and Spanish, the English-language versions feature Ming-Na, the voice of Mulan in Disney animated films and star of the NBC drama "ER", "The Joy Luck Club" and "Stargate Universe". You can watch the PSA here.

"So many of the drowning and near-drowning incidents that happen every year are preventable and every drowning and near-drowning is a terrible tragedy."concluded Tenenbaum.

CPSC Chairman Tenenbaum delivered a keynote speech at the National Drowning Prevention Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado last week. Her address at the nation's premiere water safety and drowning prevention conference focused on CPSC's role in preventing drowning, the Pool Safely campaign and its efforts to encourage compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, which mandated a national public education campaign about drowning and entrapment prevention. Tenenbaum also provided an update on the campaign and efforts to sustain drowning prevention advocacy through education, training and partnerships.

Since January 2010, the Pool Safely campaign has responded to over 600 media-reported drowning, near-drowning and entrapment incidents. Steps such as staying close to children at all times, learning water safety skills and having the appropriate equipment, can help families have a safer experience in and around pools and spas.


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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Borders Stores in Greater Atlanta Host Afternoon of Free Fun with LEGO® Event for Kids Saturday, March 26

 Saturday, March 26 at 2 p.m.

Great LEGO® building fun is in store for kids ages 8-12 at Borders stores in Atlanta and surrounding areas. Up to 50 kids who attend Borders' free LEGO event will receive a free LEGO Racer, which they will have fun assembling at the event! Youngsters will also enjoy a number of racing-themed activities including a Checkered Flag art project, Pit Crew games as well as other games. (Events and activities may vary by store.)

Kids are encouraged to sign up at their local Borders to attend the Borders LEGO event. Visit www.borders.com and click on the Store Locator link for participating locations.

Borders – Midtown
650 Ponce de Leon, Ste. 500
Atlanta, GA 30308

Borders – East Cobb
4475 Roswell Rd.
Marietta, GA 30062

Borders – Lithonia
8000 Mall Pkwy.
Lithonia, GA 30038

Borders – Douglasville
6594 Douglas Blvd.
Douglasville, GA 30135

LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of the LEGO Group. ©2011 The LEGO Group 

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kids at Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club Take on the Guinness World Record for Jumping Jacks

/PRNewswire/ -- Records are made to be broken and a Guinness World Record was likely shattered thanks to the help of kids right here in Atlanta. On March 22, more than 153 members of the Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club joined their peers from more than 1,000 Boys & Girls Clubs across the country to break the Guinness World Record for the most people doing "jumping jacks" – or "star jumps."

As part of National Boys &a Girls Club Week (March 20-26), Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) embarked on this initiative with its Clubs across the country through the organization's Triple Play program. This program, supported by founding sponsor, Coca-Cola, and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) Foundation, encourages kids to eat healthier, become more physically active and increase their ability to engage in healthy relationships.

"Living healthy, active lifestyles puts young people on a pathway to a great future," said Missy Dugan, Interim CPO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. "By jumping their way into history, they proved that you don't need fancy equipment or a gym membership to get active and be healthy. Fitness can start with something as simple as a jumping jack!"

To break the current record, more than 278 kids needed to complete the attempt. While the official verdict will come from Guinness in a couple of weeks, all indications are that the record has been broken.

"The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation is committed to improving health in our communities and is proud to help bring the Triple Play program to Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the state," said Morgan Kendrick, president, BCBSGa. "By helping our kids learn healthy habits at a young age, we can give them the tools they need to live their healthiest, longest lives possible, and maybe even break some records along the way."

"Coca-Cola is proud to support the Triple Play initiative in partnership with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation," said Quinton Martin, vice president, community marketing. "Research shows that this program is working – Triple Play is succeeding in getting kids to exercise more, eat a variety of foods and feel good about themselves. We are committed to promoting programs that help children, teens and adults live active, healthy lifestyles."

Nearly one-third of children and teens in the U.S. are obese or overweight, according to multiple studies. Children and adults can avoid these devastating diseases by adopting and maintaining healthy habits early on.

Jumping jacks are called star jumps in some countries, because the arms, legs and head form a five-pointed star. The record is defined as, "the most people star jumping simultaneously at multiple venues for two consecutive minutes," according to Guinness World Records.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How to Talk to Kids About Tragedies, Disasters: Tips From World Vision

/PRNewswire/ -- As information increases about the devastation of Japan's earthquake and tsunami, our children will likely see disturbing news footage and have questions about this tragedy. Below are several suggestions on how to talk with children about this disaster and its impact.

These tips are provided by Christian humanitarian organization World Vision. World Vision has worked in Japan for more than two decades and responded to the massive Kobe earthquake in 1995, and now has staff assisting in the relief efforts in Sendai.

For more information on World Vision's efforts please visit www.worldvision.org/press.

Talking to kids about tragedy

Talking to children about tragedy is a job most parents would love to avoid. If only our children did not need to hear about things like this past week's devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. But of course, they do hear. And they are full of questions: Could this happen to me? What's going to happen to the children? Can I do anything to help the children I see on TV?

World Vision US, a Christian humanitarian relief organization with staff on the ground in Japan now and in numerous other relief responses each year, suggests eight ways to make a tough job a little bit easier.

1. Start by listening.

Find out what your child already knows. You can then respond in an age-appropriate way. The aim is not to worry them with the devastating details, but to protect them from misinformation they may have heard from friends or disturbing images they may have seen on television.

2. Provide clear, simple answers.

Limit your answer to the question asked and use simple language.

3. If you don't know the answer, admit it.

If your children ask questions that you can't answer, tell them so, and then do some research to try and help them sort it out. If they ask "Why did this have to happen?" don't be afraid to say "I don't know." If you are part of a faith community, the reassurance offered there can be invaluable in helping your child sort through the truth that awful things happen.

4. Follow media reports or online updates privately .

Young children in particular are easily traumatized, and seeing or hearing about the horrifying details of the quake may be more than they can cope with. Adults, too, should ensure they are dealing with their own emotions by talking to others, so they can continue to respond well to their children's needs.

5. Concentrate on making them feel safe.

When tragedies occur, children wonder if the same event could happen in their hometown. If it was an act of nature that could not be repeated in your area, tell children that. Placing themselves in the situations of victims is not all bad—it is a sign of empathy, an essential life skill, but watch for signs of excessive worrying.

6. Give children creative outlets.

Some children may not be prepared to speak about what they have heard, but may find drawing or other creative activities helpful to deal with their emotions and stress. Their drawings can be helpful starting points for conversation.

7. Model involvement and compassion.

Tell your child that, as a family, you will be helping the people in Japan by giving a donation to a reputable charity such as World Vision.

8. Give your child a chance to be involved.

Being involved in the solution will help relieve some of their anxiety. Invite them to contribute to the family's gift by giving something out of their piggy bank.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Still Time to Register for Youth Birding Competition

Young birders have only until March 31 to sign up for this year’s Youth Birding Competition, a fun and free Georgia bird-a-thon set for April 16-17.

The Youth Birding Competition is open to teams from kindergarteners to high school seniors. Everyone from experienced birders to first-timers is welcomed.

The sixth annual competition starts at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 16, and ends at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 17. Teams, competing against others their age, can use as much or as little of that time to count as many birds as possible throughout Georgia. But all must arrive at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center near Mansfield by 5 p.m. Sunday. A banquet and awards ceremony is held that evening at the wildlife center.

The competition is sponsored by the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division and The Environmental Resources Network Inc., or TERN, the friends group of the Nongame Conservation Section. Georgia Ornithological Society and Atlanta Audubon Society also provide generous support. The event is aimed at focusing children on birds and cultivating a deep interest in wildlife and conservation.

For registration details, go to www.georgiawildlife.com/node/951 or contact Lacy Mitchell at Charlie Elliott Conference Center, (770) 784-3152 or lacy.mitchell@dnr.state.ga.us. Tim Keyes, at (912) 262-3191 or tim.keyes@dnr.state.ga.us, can answer questions about the competition.

2011 Youth Birding Competition

** What: Free bird-a-thon and fundraiser for youth from kindergarten through high school.

** When: April 16-17. Registration is open. Deadline to enter: March 31.

** Where: Teams can bird anywhere in the state, but must arrive at the finish line at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield by 5 p.m. April 17.

** Registration: Lacy Mitchell, Charlie Elliott Conference Center, (770) 784-3152 or lacy.mitchell@dnr.state.ga.us

** Competition contact: Tim Keyes, (912) 262-3191 or tim.keyes@dnr.state.ga.us

** More online: www.georgiawildlife.com/node/951

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Brains Before Bullets: Former State Trooper Teaches Students to Think It Out, Don't Shoot It Out

/PRNewswire/ -- Orrin "Checkmate" Hudson, founder of BE SOMEONE, is 980,000 students away from his lifetime goal of reaching one million youngsters with his message of "making every move in life count." BE SOMEONE's latest interview on CNN speaks for itself: http://tinyurl.com/4b9ckm6

Hudson will hold his annual Spring Break Leadership Chess Camp from Monday, April 4 through Friday April 8, 2011 at 949 Stephenson Road, Stone Mountain, GA 30087. This week-long leadership camp will be from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with early drop-off and late pickup available. Hudson will teach his signature chess skills and offer insight and advice on the importance of making every move in life count.

Hudson has trained more than 20,000 students and is dedicated to the goal of reaching one million youngsters before he turns over the responsibility to others coming behind him. Hudson is a believer in the "paying it forward concept." He explains, "I was a young know-it-all teenager in Alabama and I was on the road to certain destruction and possibly even a premature death. But I had a teacher who saw potential in me. I'm not sure what that was but he taught me the game of chess." Hudson is quick to say that seemingly simple act "saved my life."

"By using the game of chess, my teacher showed me that for every move I make on the chess board there are consequences," he adds. Hudson then stresses what is the bottom line of this game. "I not only learned how to play chess but I also gained self-esteem and realized I could be someone if only I chose the right moves in my life."

Hudson went on to serve as an Alabama State Trooper but later realized his true calling. "I knew I had to give back. I saw too many young African American males headed down the wrong path - gangs, drugs, crime, sexual irresponsibility, no education and focus, the same path I was on until someone cared enough to set me straight."

Hudson deftly uses the thinking man's game of chess to both teach and mentor. It is a combination that is both effective and unobtrusive. "These kids love this game and it opens doors. They often are surprised that they can handle the game that many educated adults shy away from but more importantly they naturally learn life lessons along the way."

Working from his Atlanta training site and armed with signature phrases like "Push Pawns, Not Drugs" and "Heads Up, Pants Up, Grades Up," Hudson can often be found moving back and forth from multiple chess boards making moves and offering advice at the same time. "Successful people are not people without problems," he stresses. "They are people who learn to solve their problems." This is the lesson Hudson so adamantly teaches with his BE SOMEONE program. He is resolute in his prediction: "We will reach these teens through this game and teach them how to think on their feet. They will be somebody and we will all win because of it!"

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

11th Annual FAMILIES Centerstage Returns To The Alliance Theatre

Event Combines Family Fun Fair With Performance Of Musical Comedy Favorite HONK!

The Alliance Theatre will hold its 11th Annual Families Centerstage event on Saturday, March 19. An afternoon of family activities is planned including a family fun fair with live performances, arts, crafts, music and two performances of the beloved children’s musical comedy HONK!

“Families Centerstage is a wonderful entrĂ©e to the theatre for younger audiences,” said Philippa Ellis, one of the event’s co-chairs. “On this special day each year, families discover the magic of live theatre together while also experiencing a wonderful afternoon outing at the Alliance Theatre. It’s a very special day.”

In addition to HONK!, activities will include presentations by many Atlanta nonprofits, including Young Audiences, the Center for Puppetry Arts, and Imagine It! Atlanta Children’s Museum.

The event starts with a 1:00 p.m. performance followed by the fun fair from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. and the second performance of Honk! at 4:00 p.m.Tickets for FAMILIES Centerstage are $25 for children and $30 35 for adults and are available at the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office by calling 404.733.5000 or online at alliancetheatre.org. Patrons interested in sponsorship information can contact Lindsey Hardegree at lindsey.hardegree@woodruffcenter.org or 404.733.4615.

The event’s presenting sponsor is Cartoon Network. Other co-chairs of the event are Andrea Montag and Patrice Greer.

About HONK!
Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved children’s fable The Ugly Duckling, HONK! Is the story of an odd looking baby duck, Ugly, and his quest to find his mother.

With an original book and lyrics by Anthony Drewe and music by George Stiles, the production is directed by Sally G. Tomlinson Artistic Director of Theatre for Youth Rosemary Newcott.

Honk! will be performed on the Alliance Stage on weekends beginning Saturday, March 5, 2011 with a matinee at 2:30 p.m. and the opening night performance at 7:00 p.m. Performances continue through Sunday, March 20 with weekend matinees scheduled for Saturday, March 12 and Sundays, March 13 and 20 at 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. The second matinee on Saturday, March 19 will be performed at 4:00 p.m.
Tickets start at $20 and are available at the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office by calling 404.733.5000 or online at alliancetheatre.org. Discount rates for groups of 10 or more are available by calling 404-733-4690. Discount rates are also available for members of the military, seniors and students. The Alliance Theatre is located at the Woodruff Arts Center, corner of Peachtree & 15th Street, in Midtown Atlanta.
@softnblue (music & dance)
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Student Archers Set Sights on Bullseye at State Tournament

More than 700 students throughout the state will compete Feb. 11 in the 5th annual National Archery in the Schools Georgia State Tournament.

The state’s top student archers from more than 30 elementary, middle and high schools will convene in Perry for the tournament. The state tournament is coordinated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division and is open to all Georgia schools enrolled in the National Archery in the Schools program (NASP).

With shooter numbers topping 700 this year, participation has more than quadrupled since the first year. There were 457 registered shooters last year.

“We are so pleased to see the NASP program and participation in the state tournament grow each year,” says State Shooting Sports Program Manager Jennifer Pittman.  “Archery is a sport that anyone - male or female, small or large - can find success as long as they practice and dedicate time to achieve their goals.  It is a program that teaches concentration, hand-eye coordination, patience and determination - all of which mesh perfectly with school goals.”

State Tournament Division winners and qualifiers will have the opportunity to compete at the NASP National Tournament May 13-14, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky, where nearly 7,000 student archers from more than 35 states are expected to participate. At the state tournament, the highest scoring male and female archer will each win $1,000 college scholarships. Archery equipment and other awards are also given to top individual archers. The top three teams in each division receive plaques and archers are awarded medals.

The state tournament is conducted at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in conjunction with the Georgia Wildlife Federation’s Great Outdoors Show.  The Feb. 11 shoot will be held in the Miller Murphy Howard Building next to gate No. 24 (West Gate).

Teams of 16-24 students from each school will compete in three separate divisions: elementary (4th-6th grade), middle (7th-8th grade) and high (9th-12th grade).  Archers will shoot at 10- and 15-meter intervals in seven “flights.” An awards reception will follow completion of the last flight about 6 p.m.

At last year’s tournament, a seventh grade male from Dodge County Middle (Eastman) and a fifth grade girl from Woodlawn Elementary (Chatsworth) each received $1,000 scholarships after winning the top male and female shooter awards. Eleven schools qualified to compete in the NASP National Tournament and six of those schools traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to shoot against more than 6,700 other student archers from around the country. The Woodlawn Elementary School team in Chatsworth also won the Elementary Division title at the NASP World Tournament in Orlando last October.

In addition to the tournament, there will be several activities for participants during the Great Outdoors Show. Admission is free for archers and registered coaches and $8 for observers.  

The Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter is located off I-75.  Driving directions can be found at www.gnfa.com .


NASP is an in-school archery curriculum that meets all education department standards. Only schools that are certified in NASP through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources are qualified to compete in the Georgia Tournament. Schools in nearly 80 counties in Georgia are NASP certified.

The program promotes instruction in international-style target archery to improve educational performance and participation in shooting sports.  Research has shown that the program, administered through a minimum two-week course during the school year, improves class attendance and behavior. NASP universal fit bows make it possible for students of all sizes and genders to succeed in archery while raising self-esteem levels and improving hand-eye coordination during physical activity.

NASP is taught in 48 states as well as Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand. To date, more than 7 million students have gone through the program.

For more information on NASP in Georgia, recreational shooting sports opportunities or to find a range near you, visit www.georgiawildlife.com, contact a local WRD Game Management Office or call (770) 918-6416.


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Monday, February 7, 2011

New Report: Kids' Television Programs Contain High Amounts of Tobacco Use

/PRNewswire/ -- A new report published today in the Archives of Pediatrics &Adolescent Medicine shows substantial amounts of tobacco images in television programming most popular with young people who are at the greatest risk of initiating smoking. The study was conducted by Legacy, a national public health organization dedicated to reducing tobacco use in the United States and aimed to quantify teen exposure to smoking on television, given the powerful role that tobacco images in media play in influencing youth to smoke.

"Among young people aged 8 to 18, 30 percent of their media use is spent on watching television(1)," said Cheryl G. Healton, DrPH, President and CEO of Legacy. "The report shows that nearly 1 million young people were exposed to tobacco images during the analysis, whether it was in an ashtray, on a billboard, or in a character's hands."

Researchers at Legacy reviewed more than 70 episodes of top-rated/prime-time broadcast television shows popular among 12-17 year olds such as Family Guy, Gossip Girl, Heroes and The Simpsons. All of the episodes (representing an estimated 61.5 hours of programming in a single fall season) were rated either TV-PG or TV-14 (2). TV-14 is a more stringent rating with respect to cautioning parents about the content their children see on television.

According to the report:

* The percent of episodes with any tobacco use depictions was highest on the FOX network (44 percent) followed closely by CBS-Warner Brothers, "The CW" (41 percent).
* Forty (40) percent of television episodes reviewed contained at least one depiction of tobacco use; of these depictions, 89 percent were of cigarettes.
* Among episodes rated TV-PG, 50 percent showed one or more incidents of cigarette use, in contrast to 26 percent of TV-14 episodes, the more stringent rating.

A higher proportion of tobacco use was found among programs rated TV-PG as compared with those rated TV-14, indicating that exposure to tobacco depictions may skew toward youth of younger ages, resulting in earlier exposure to this behavior. This may have an impact on teens' decisions to smoke.

Past research confirms a relationship between smoking in television and young people starting to smoke, with the risk for smoking initiation increasing markedly with more hours of television viewing(3). Additionally, smoking images in movies leads to an estimated 180,000 new young smokers each year, prompting public health advocates to ponder (or consider) the impact that smoking on television might have on youth.

"Since movies and television are not mutually exclusive media channels, the body of evidence pertaining to movies is highly relevant to television as well, particularly since most movies are shown on television after airing in cinemas," Healton said.

Legacy recently joined several groups in asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to update its TV ratings system so that parents can be warned about depictions of tobacco use. One study has shown that parents are just as concerned about smoking content in media, which is not currently included in television ratings, as they are with alcohol use, profanity or sexual content.

Legacy is dedicated to building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Located in Washington, D.C., the national public health organization helps Americans live longer, healthier lives. Legacy develops programs that address the health effects of tobacco use, especially among vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by the toll of tobacco, through grants, technical assistance and training, partnerships, youth activism, and counter-marketing and grassroots marketing campaigns. The foundation's programs include truth® , a national youth smoking prevention campaign that has been cited as having contributed to significant declines in youth smoking; EX® , an innovative public health program designed to speak to smokers in their own language and change the way they approach quitting; and research initiatives exploring the causes, consequences and approaches to reducing tobacco use. The American Legacy Foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. Visit www.legacyforhealth.org .

(1) Generation M2 Kaiser Family Study 2010

(2) TV-PG is defined as the following: “Parental Guidance Suggested. This program contains material that parents may find unsuitable for younger children." In contrast, TV-14 is defined in the following manner: “Parents Strongly Cautioned: This program contains some material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 14 years of age" (34).

(3) Gidwani PP, Sobol A, DeJong W, Perrin JM, Gortmaker SL.(2002). Television Viewing and Initiation of Smoking Among Youth. Pediatrics, 110(3):505-508.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Participants Sought for Youth Birding Competition T-shirt Art Contest

Hey, kids, do you like birds and love to draw or paint? Georgia’s sixth annual Youth Birding Competition is offering a T-shirt Art Contest for resident children and teens. Many famous ornithologists were bird artists when they were young, so perhaps you could be the next John James Audubon, Roger Tory Peterson or David Allen Sibley!

A winner will be picked from each of the following age categories: primary (pre-K-second grade), elementary (third-fifth), middle school (sixth-eighth) and high school. One winner will be awarded the grand prize – their artwork will appear on the 2011 YBC T-shirt and they’ll receive a $100 gift card to Michaels. The three other winners will each receive a $50 Michaels gift card, redeemable for art supplies.

Entering is easy. Participants must draw or paint their favorite Georgia bird on paper or sheet canvas (at least 8-by-10 inches but no larger than 11-by-17 inches). Mail it in a large envelope – flat, not folded – in time to be received by 4 p.m. March 1 to: GA DNR-WRD, YBC T-shirt Art Contest (Attn: Linda May), 2065 US Hwy. 278 SE, Social Circle, GA 30025.

On a separate piece of paper, gently attached to the back of the artwork, include the participant’s name, school, age, grade level, mailing address, phone number, parent or teacher’s e-mail address and the species name of the bird depicted. The illustrated bird must be a wild species and native to Georgia. Please make sure the bird is the main focus of the artwork, and draw or paint its features as accurately as possible. Also keep in mind that rich colors will show up better on a T-shirt than faint pencil drawings.

Only one entry per person is allowed, and it must be the child’s artwork. Participation in the Youth Birding Competition is encouraged but not required to submit artwork for the T-shirt Art Contest.

Competitors in the birding event can pick up their submissions at the April 17 banquet at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, where select artwork will be displayed and winners announced.

Artwork from children and teens who do not take part in the Youth Birding Competition can either be picked up at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield during normal business hours or returned by mail – but only if a large, self-addressed envelope with four first-class stamps is included with the submission.

The 2011 Youth Birding Competition starts at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 16, and ends at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 17. Groups may use as much or as little of that time to count as many birds as possible throughout Georgia. Although teams may start birding anywhere in the state, they must turn in their checklists at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center by 5 p.m. Sunday. While judges examine and score checklists, participants will enjoy a live animal show followed by an awards banquet packed with prizes.

For more information on the T-shirt Art Contest, visit www.georgiawildlife.com, click on the “Get Involved” tab and then the “YBC T-shirt Art Contest” link (www.georgiawildlife.com/node/950). You can also contact art contest coordinator Linda May at (770) 918-6792 or linda.may@dnr.state.ga.us.

The same web site includes Youth Birding Competition details, including how to register a team for this exciting event. You can also contact the competition coordinator Tim Keyes at (912) 262-3191 or tim.keyes@dnr.state.ga.us.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Groundbreaking Industry Agreements Help Increase Availability of Healthy School Meals

/PRNewswire/ -- A new multi-industry voluntary agreement announced today by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation brings together leading food manufacturers, group purchasing organizations and technology companies to help America's schools serve healthier meals at more affordable prices. As a result of these agreements, more than 30 million students across the country will have access to healthier school meals – including at least 14 million students who currently participate in the free and reduced lunch program.

AdvancePierre Foods, Domino's Pizza, JTM Food Group, McCain Foods USA, Rich Products Corporation, Schwan's Food Service, Trident Seafoods, HPS, Premier healthcare alliance, Summa/Provista, Interflex, Dole Food Company, Inc., and the National Turkey Federation have joined the effort to combat childhood obesity by agreeing to increase the availability of products that can lead to healthy schools meals. Signatories to these first of their kind agreements brokered by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, have agreed to develop, market and competitively price products that will lead to healthier school meal options; streamline the ordering process; and make identifying healthy options easier.

"With students consuming up to half of their daily calories at school, healthy school meals are key to winning the fight against childhood obesity," said President Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation. "Building on our agreements that have reduced the number of calories in beverages shipped to schools by 88 percent, the Alliance is now focusing on helping provide more nutritious meal options to more than 30 million school children nationwide."

Manufacturers including AdvancePierre Foods, Domino's Pizza, JTM Food Group, McCain Foods USA, Rich Products Corporation, Schwan's Food Service and Trident Seafoods pledge not to price healthy options out of reach of school cafeterias. Signatories will set prices for healthier items that meet the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's science-based standards for nutrition at prices no higher than less healthy comparable products. Participating manufacturers have also pledged to increase the sales of compliant products to at least 50 percent of their entire school sales within five years.

Manufacturers have committed to aggressively promote products that align with the Alliance's Healthy Schools Program standards and will help schools meet or exceed the requirements currently being finalized by the USDA. Product commitments fall in at least one of the following categories within the Alliance's science-based guidelines for school foods:

* Lean protein products, such as lean red meat, skinless poultry, lean deli meats, fat-free or low-fat cheese, beans, and tofu.
* Low-fat lunch entrees with reduced total fat, saturated fat and sodium levels.
* Whole-grain products, such as bread, pasta and pizza crust.
* Fresh, canned or frozen fruit.
* Non-fried vegetables.
* Zero trans fat cooking oils.

"Increased access and lower prices to purchase healthy meal components makes it easier for schools to offer healthier school meals — a key strategy to help combat childhood obesity and to move students and staff toward ideal cardiovascular health," said Ralph Sacco, M.D., president of the American Heart Association and chairman, department of neurology Miller School of Medicine University of Miami.

Schools can also save time and gain buying power by joining a group purchasing organization (GPO). With today's agreement three of the largest GPOs in the U.S. with more than $70 billion in combined buying power, HPS, Premier healthcare alliance and Summa/Provista, have agreed to offer products that meet the Alliance's nutritional guidelines. GPOs have been successful at consolidating buying power in other institutional food service settings including hospitals, healthcare facilities and universities. By applying this same model to America's schools, schools will see a savings of 10 to 20 percent in their food and beverage purchases.

In order to help schools take the first step in changing their purchasing process, the Alliance is collaborating with the technology firm Interflex to create an online tool that streamlines the procurement process by assisting schools with planning, bidding and purchasing healthier products. Dole Food Company, Inc. and the National Turkey Federation have also agreed to leverage their tools and resources to support schools in their implementation of this new approach to school meals.

"Today is just the beginning. The food manufacturer, group purchasing and technology agreements are just three components of the Alliance's larger healthier school meals strategy with the goal of impacting more than 30 million students within a five year period," said Ginny Ehrlich, executive director of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Additional components in the Alliance's school meals strategy to support food service professionals being launched over the next year will include in-person and online training programs, menu planning and cooking techniques and recipes from celebrity chefs to school food service staff.

Last week, the USDA released the proposed rule for the nutrition standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program. To help schools more easily navigate the Alliance and USDA standards, the Alliance will update their guidelines to meet or exceed the final rule. The Alliance agreement announced today helps alleviate barriers districts will face in serving healthier school meals, and will enhance schools' ability to meet those updated standards.

Parents, school administrators and food service directors can help the Alliance fight childhood obesity and bring healthier meals to schools across the country by joining the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Healthy Schools Program online at www.healthiergeneration.org. There is no cost to join the Healthy Schools Program, and members have access to hundreds of resources, including a variety of free technical tools that enable anyone who makes purchasing decisions about school meals to implement and promote healthier options for students.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pretzelmaker® Offers $10,000 for Best Original Cheers

/PRNewswire/ -- Pretzelmaker announced today that the company has launched a compelling new contest for cheerleaders across the country. The " Cheer with a Twist" Video Contest is being hosted completely online and was developed to celebrate the brand's commitment to "freshness with a twist." Pretzelmaker is managed by GFG Management, LLC, a subsidiary of Global Franchise Group.

To enter the contest, Pretzelmaker is asking cheer squads to submit a video, no longer than two minutes in length, of their squad executing an original cheer that incorporates the "Pretzelmaker" name and demonstrates a "twist" theme to the brand's Facebook® page at www.Facebook.com/Pretzelmaker. Prizes for the contest will be awarded in April, when one squad will receive the Grand Prize of up to $5,000*. Two additional squads will be selected as Runners Up and will each receive up to $2,500*.

The contest runs through March 31, 2011. Additional entry rules and details can be found on Pretzelmaker's Facebook® page and at www.Pretzelmaker.com.

"We're proud of Pretzelmaker's culture of fresh products prepared in an entertaining environment," said Jenn Johnston, chief marketing & operations officer for GFG Management, LLC. "We feel that this contest is an excellent way to recognize the elements that have made us so successful and look forward to rewarding three outstanding cheer squads for their exceptional Pretzelmaker cheers."

In addition to becoming a fan of the brand on Facebook®, customers can stay up to date on all new products and promotions by joining Pretzelmaker's exclusive e-mail fan club at www.Pretzelmaker.com.

*The Grand Prize video receives up to $5,000 and two Runner Up videos receive up to $2,500 each. Prizes to be awarded as a cash prize divided equally between all members of the winning cheer squads with the maximum cash prize to each member not to exceed $500 to the Grand Prize winners and $250 to the Runners Up. No purchase necessary to enter or win. 

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Parents Palooza Event Hosted by GPB's Slangman

Parents Palooza
Saturday, February 26 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, February 27 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cobb Galleria Centre, Halls A & B
Two Galleria Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30339

/PRNewswire/ -- The ultimate family event and parenting expo heads to Cobb Galleria Centre in February, and it's being hosted by "Slangman's World" star Slangman! Known on the show as an unpredictable wizard and wordsmith who helps children develop a multicultural worldview, Slangman will be joined by a huge variety of fun performers, speakers and activities for both kids and parents. Parents Palooza is a celebration of parenthood. It's both an entertaining and educational event that the entire family can enjoy.

Parents Palooza is a fun-filled parenting expo bursting with information, products and services for parents of infants through teens. Whether it's guidance on potty training, cell phone companies, summer camps or college applications, parents will connect with the resources that can make their most important job a lot easier.

Parents Palooza features more than 200 exhibitors, product and food samples, speakers forums, a social network parents' networking area, inflatables, massage, family competitions, chorus performances, children's ID kits and plenty of prizes, along with:

* Family Rock Band presented by Xfinity
* Dream Maker Talent Search
* Medieval Times Princess Storytime
* Red Hot Fire Truck Events
* BeDazzle Whimsical Hair Designs
* Tumblastic Playscape
* Birth Stories on Demand Live Podcast
* Performances by RocKandi
* Every Little Bottom Diaper Drive
* Radio Disney DJ and Road Crew
* Atlanta Family Photo Contest
* Lighten Up Atlanta Health Challenge
* Concentra Urgent Care's Minutes Matter Family Challenge
* Tumblebus
* Circus Camp

Parents Palooza is joined by non-profit partners Angel Flight Soars, Inc.; Rosebuds, Miles for Cystic Fibrosis; Autism Society of Greater Georgia; and Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance.



* Advance one-day tickets: Adults: $10, Kids (ages 6 and up): $5, Children under 5 - FREE
* Tickets at the door: Adults: $12, Kids (ages 6 and up): $6, Children under 5 - FREE
* Tickets are available at http://www.ParentsPalooza.com
* Free parking!

Parents Palooza was developed by Kent Events, LLC, an event planning company specializing in the management, production and promotion of events that connect with attendees on a personal level. Kent Events founders Jon and Stacy Kent have backgrounds in promotion, management and trade shows as well as corporate and private event planning. Kent Events is located at 12600 Deerfield Parkway, Suite 100, Alpharetta, Georgia 30004 and can be reached by calling 678-566-3606.

Parents Palooza thanks sponsors Atlanta Kids Directory, 790 The Zone, Atlanta Parent Magazine, GPB Kids, Xfinity and Radio Disney.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Keeping Kids Safe Online

FBI Program Offered in Schools

Child at computerRecent studies show that one in seven youngsters has experienced unwanted sexual solicitations online. One in three has been exposed to unwanted sexual material online. One in 11 has been harassed or bullied online.

And as we all know, these are only some of the dangers that our kids face while surfing the Internet. How can we simultaneously protect them from these threats and enable them to take advantage of the positive things the web has to offer?

In addition to investigating online crimes targeting children, the FBI works to educate kids and their parents about the Internet, sometimes sending cyber agents to visit schools as well as posting useful resources on our public website. We also offer our Safe Online Surfing program to schools to help students understand how to recognize, report, and avoid online dangers.

How it all started. The Safe Online Surfing (SOS) program began in our Miami office six years ago, when Special Agent Jim Lewis from one of our cyber squads—who saw first-hand how easily kids could be victimized online—approached a co-worker, Community Outreach Specialist Jeff Green, about his desire to share information about Internet safety with school students.

FBI Miami turned to nearby Nova Southeastern University for assistance with creating an online Internet safety program that that also tested students on what they learned. About 400 South Florida students took part initially, and according to Green, feedback from students and teachers was positive.

Said Green, “Kids are surfing the Internet anyway, so we were just using a vehicle they were comfortable with.”

Over the years, other FBI field offices began offering the SOS program with the help of their community outreach specialists. By October 2010, our Cyber Division at FBI Headquarters—which manages our Innocent Images National Initiative, focused on online child predators—took the SOS program under its wing and made it a national one. Today, more than 90,000 children in 41 states have completed it.

How it works. At each grade level, third through eighth, students begin by taking pre-quizzes to test their overall knowledge. Then, a scavenger hunt takes them to pre-screened websites where they get Internet safety and cyber citizenship information. And finally, they take timed post-quizzes to demonstrate what they’ve learned. The program also promotes a fun competition between schools: every month—from September through May—schools with the highest scoring students in the nation are awarded the FBI-SOS Trophy.

Topics covered in the program run the cyber gamut: depending on the age of the students, they might learn about password security, cyberbullying, virus protection, copyright issues, online predators, e-mail, chat rooms, social networking sites, when to talk to parents or teachers about a threat, and appropriate uses of cell phones and gaming devices.

Of the SOS program, Cyber Division Assistant Director Gordon Snow said, “The Internet is a powerful resource for our youth, but it also presents opportunities for those who would attempt to do them harm…the Safe Online Surfing program is designed to teach young people what they need to know to avoid falling victim to individuals who want to take advantage of their youth and innocence.”

Schools interested in signing up for the Safe Online Surfing program should contact the community outreach specialist in their local FBI office.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

National Call for Entries: Two Weeks Left for Youth to Enter FreeTheBowl.com Video Contest

/PRNewswire/ -- The January 24, 2011 deadline to enter Marin Institute's 3rd annual Free The Bowl™ Video Contest is quickly approaching. Youth 10-20 years old are encouraged to compete in this action to eliminate exploitative alcohol ads on TV sports programs. This year's contest calls for 30-60 second original music, dance, rap or spoken word performance counter-beer-ads. The top prize is $1,000.

"Foreign-based alcohol corporations spend half a billion dollars annually advertising during TV sports programs," said Michael Scippa, Marin Institute's public affairs director. "And the holy grail of beer ad venues and revenues is the Super Bowl, where Anheuser-Busch InBev burns beer brands into the developing brains of an estimated 30 million underage football fans. " Free The Bowl™ allows youth to say to Budweiser, CBS-TV, and the NFL, STOP EXPLOITING US WITH YOUR BEER ADS!"

Research has shown that the more alcohol ads kids see, the more likely they are to drink, drink to excess and drink more often. In 2009, the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking reported that 5,000 people under the age of 21 die annually from injuries caused by alcohol. Hundreds of thousands more suffer alcohol-fueled sexual assaults, serious injuries, diseases, and academic failure.

A recent analysis released by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, shows that voluntary industry advertising codes are ineffective. According to the study, youth exposure to alcohol advertising on U.S. television increased 71 percent between 2001 and 2009. The research also pointed to Bud Light, a mainstay of Super Bowl advertising, as one of 12 brands targeting youth.

"Young people are slammed by TV alcohol ads every day of the year," stated Scippa. "But beer ads on TV sports programs, and especially during the NFL's Super Bowl, are a massive overdose that must be curbed to reduce youth alcohol-related harm."

To enter the contest go to FreeTheBowl.com where you can also view past years' winning videos, this year's promotional videos, and find complete information on contest rules and prizes. Contest winners will be announced during the Free The Bowl™ 2011 World Premiere, February 3, 2011, at the Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, California.

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