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NINTENDO TACKLES AFTER-SCHOOL LATCHKEY ISSUE; 'CLUB MARIO' OPENS ITS DOORS AT BELLEVUE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB

 NINTENDO TACKLES AFTER-SCHOOL LATCHKEY ISSUE;


'CLUB MARIO' OPENS ITS DOORS AT BELLEVUE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB
 REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- In an effort to address the current shortage of latchkey programs in the Puget Sound area, Nintendo of America Inc. has announced its sponsorship of a new after- school program for at-risk children.
 Developed in partnership with the Bellevue Boys and Girls Club, the program will begin in January 1992, and has been dubbed "Club Mario" after Nintendo's beloved video game hero. Elementary and junior high school-aged children will come from low-income families living on the Eastside, and will be referred to the club by schools and other social service organizations.
 Club Mario will offer each child an individualized program of activities, including homework assistance, tutoring, computer education, sports, social and recreational activities and field trips, among others. Club Mario staff will also aid each child in goal- setting and will establish reward and incentive systems for children who meet individual or group goals. This reward system will include Nintendo(R) video game play, which Club Mario directors also expect will help establish relationships between staff and program participants, and teach the value of cooperative group efforts.
 "As a manufacturer of a product with a large youth audience, Nintendo is acutely aware of the problems facing today's kids. We have seen the latchkey issue become an increasingly threatening phenomenon in our community," said Howard Lincoln, senior vice president of Nintendo. "Nintendo believes a crucial part of its active community outreach is to establish programs such as Club Mario to address important issues such as latchkey kids, and to help ensure our children a successful future," he added.
 It is estimated that at least 20 percent of the families living on the Eastside have latchkey kids, most of whom are from low-income families that cannot afford after-school care. Studies have shown that these "at-risk" children, left unsupervised after school, have higher instances of drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy and dropping out of school.
 "Club Mario offers kids an after-school environment with positive adult role models and a positive peer group," explained Mark Dosogne, executive director at the Bellevue Boys and Girls Club. "It also addresses many of the concerns identified by human services providers about the 'at-risk' factors of latchkey children. With Nintendo's support, we can create a prevention-based program to meet these concerns and to make a positive long-term difference in the lives of these children," he said.
 Program organizers from the Bellevue Boys and Girls Club and Nintendo hope Club Mario kids will show measurable improvement and success in social, academic and behavioral areas as a result of their participation in the program.
 The Bellevue Boys and Girls Club is the largest single-unit club in the National Boys and Girls Club movement, and has been providing services and activities to local youth for more than 40 years.
 Redmond-based Nintendo of America Inc. sells personal, home and arcade video games in the United States. The company is the headquarters for marketing in North America and is a subsidiary of the world's largest manufacturer and marketer of video games, Nintendo Co. Ltd.
 -0- 11/18/91
 /CONTACT: Karen Peck or Lynann Marcellis of Hill and Knowlton Inc., 206-682-6944, for Nintendo of America Inc./ CO: Nintendo of America Inc.; Bellevue Boys and Girls Club ST: Washington IN: CPR SU: SC-LM -- SE002 -- 1246 11/18/91 09:03 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 18, 1991
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