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As New Census Data Shows U.S. Becoming Even More Diverse, Boys & Girls Clubs of America 'Youth for Unity' Diversity Program Helps Combat Prejudice, Promote Tolerance.

ATLANTA, Aug. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- New data released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau shows the U.S. is becoming even more diverse, with growing minority populations nationwide. But while new populations can have many positive benefits for our country, increased diversity brings with it new issues, including prejudice and intolerance. Boys & Girls Clubs of America combats these challenges through "Youth for Unity," an interactive diversity education program funded by The Allstate Foundation.
 (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050921/CLW030LOGO)

 By the Numbers
 * Census Bureau figures show minority groups comprise an increasing share
 of the population in almost every state.
 * The new Census survey shows Hispanics are the nation's largest minority
 group. They account for 14-point-five percent of the population,
 compared with 12-point-eight percent for blacks.

 The Need for Diversity Education
 * Recent studies suggest that parents play a critical role in helping
 their children develop positive attitudes about inclusion,
 re-emphasizing the lessons learned in school or programs like Youth for
 Unity.
 * A 2005 survey of Boys & Girls Club members found about half of the
 respondents believe their parents would not approve if they dated
 someone from another race, religion or ethnic group.
 * According to the National Center for Education, prejudice and violence
 continue to cause problems for most schools. In 2003, about one out of
 ten students ages 12-18 reported that someone at school had used
 hate-related words against them, and one out of three students ages
 12-18 had seen hate-related graffiti.




Youth for Unity is designed to build the ability of local Boys & Girls Clubs to help young people better understand diversity and combat prejudice, bigotry and discrimination. The program is available to some 4.6 million young people at more than 3,900 Boys & Girls Club locations.

"Youth for Unity delivers perspectives and skills that will help youth adapt and thrive in a diverse society," said Judith J. Pickens, senior vice president for program and youth development services, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "The Youth for Unity program is one of many ways Boys & Girls Clubs of America continues to provide vital youth services in response to our nation's shifting demographics."

The Youth for Unity program is part of a larger Boys & Girls Clubs of America diversity initiative funded by a $4.5 million commitment from The Allstate Foundation. Youth for Unity is designed to help children, teens and caregivers:
 * Appreciate themselves as unique and special individuals;
 * Understand society's diversity;
 * Recognize bias and unfairness; and
 * Take personal leadership in confronting bias.




"Youth for Unity speaks to our commitment to inclusion, tolerance and diversity in the communities we serve," said Jan Epstein, executive director, The Allstate Foundation. "The pilot programs were successful and with the national rollout we expect even greater results in reaching our youth about these important issues."

Diversity Book Project

As part of the national expansion, BGCA is creating a Youth for Unity "Diversity Book" to encourage expression of ideas and personal reflections about experiences in diversity from youth.

The Diversity Book will encourage personal expressions about diversity, critical in the diversity education process. It will reinforce the messages outlined in the Youth for Unity curriculum and be a resource for staff and Club Members to encourage discussions about diversity. The book will be released in late 2006.
 About Youth for Unity
 "Youth for Unity" incorporates elements for youth, parents and BGCA staff:
 * Centerpiece Program (for ages 6-12, teens and parents):
 - Diversity Activity Kits: one for 6-12 year olds, and one for teens
 with interactive, age-appropriate activities spanning a variety of
 Club core program areas
 - A teen peer-leadership program
 - Parent component exposes adults to current diversity issues and the
 potential impact upon their children and the community
 * Training and Resources (for Club Professionals) -- To help respond and
 adapt to America's changing workplace and community demographics
 countrywide, staff members participate in diversity workshops.
 * Special Event "How To" Kit (for Club leaders and staff) -- A collection
 of special events highlighting diversity that Clubs can implement.




A "Youth for Unity" National Diversity Advisory Council, including Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of civil rights activist Medgar Evers and founder of the Medgar Evers Institute; Dr. Louise Derman-Sparks, a professor at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California and the co-author of Teaching/Learning Anti- Racism; and John D. Kemp, president & chief executive officer of HalfthePlanet Foundation, collaborated with Boys & Girls Clubs of America on the curriculum development.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America

For almost a century, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) has been recognized as community-based organizations that welcomes all youth, regardless of their race, religion or gender. BGCA (http://www.bgca.org/) comprises a national network of some 3,900 neighborhood-based facilities annually serving more than 4.6 million young people, primarily from disadvantaged circumstances. Known as "The Positive Place for Kids," the Clubs provide guidance-oriented character development programs on a daily basis for children 6-18 years old, conducted by a full-time professional staff. Key Boys & Girls Club programs emphasize character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation.

The Allstate Foundation

Established in 1952, The Allstate Foundation is an independent, charitable organization made possible by the subsidiaries of The Allstate Corporation. The Allstate Foundation sponsors community initiatives to promote "safe and vital communities;" "tolerance, inclusion, and diversity;" and "economic empowerment." The Allstate Foundation believes in the financial potential of every individual and in helping America's families achieve their American dream. For more information about The Allstate Foundation, please visit http://www.allstate.com/foundation.

CONTACT: Mitch Leff, +1-404-861-4769, or mitch@leffassociates.com, for Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Web site: http://www.bgca.org/ http://www.allstate.com/foundation
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