More than 10,000 Schools, Joined by Top U.S. Mayors, Rally to Celebrate National Recess Week
�Rescuing Recess� Campaign Champions the Importance of Daily Recess for Kids and Calls for Adult Volunteers to Help Make Recess a Priority
ATLANTA, SEPTEMBER 18, 2006 - Enlisting widespread public support for the many benefits kids receive from daily recess, Cartoon Network, together with 13 leading child advocacy groups including the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Education Association (NEA) today launched the inaugural �National Recess Week� (Sept. 18-22) with a recess rally at M. Agnes Jones Elementary School in Atlanta. Launched in March as part of Cartoon Network�s GET ANIMATED healthy lifestyles program, Rescuing Recess champions the benefits and importance of daily recess for kids and works to protect and revitalize it in schools across the country.
The goal of National Recess Week is to kick off the school year with fun, interactive events across the country that inspire parents and community members to become recess monitors for their local schools. More than 4,600 cities will be having recess rallies, made possible by parents, educators and community members who signed up to become volunteer recess monitors at local elementary schools through www.RescuingRecess.com. Within 26 days of online enrollment, more than 10,000 free Rescuing Recess kits were distributed across all 50 states with information about starting a local volunteer recess monitor program. The kits contained a variety of activity ideas, games and playground equipment such as red rubber balls, sidewalk chalk, whistles and jump ropes, plus instructions and suggestions on how to hold a recess rally.
As part of the �National Recess Week� festivities, twelve mayors in key markets such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, Baltimore and Minneapolis have each issued proclamations in support of Rescuing Recess and the week-long commemoration.
�The Rescuing Recess campaign celebrates recess as the fourth �R� among school fundamentals: reading, writing, arithmetic and, as we now see it, recess. Each of these elements is essential to a child�s overall education and every child deserves to have the benefits of all four within his school day,� said Jim Samples, executive vice president and general manager of Cartoon Network. �After addressing two critical recess issues earlier this spring�state policies and grant funding for equipment�Rescuing Recess, through these �National Recess Week� rallies, will now focus on recruiting parents and community members to serve as volunteer recess monitors, which help ensure that children have unstructured playtime throughout their day.�
The week-long recess celebrations continue with other activities that spotlight volunteerism in schools, including a Hands On Network event in Philadelphia, where volunteers will work throughout the day to renovate an elementary school playground. In addition, at its home base in Atlanta, Cartoon Network employees will put the Rescuing Recess cause into action by donating their lunch hour on Friday, Sept. 22, to be volunteer recess monitors at several local Atlanta public schools.
�Our goal in this second phase of the program was to create a week of special events that would really inspire interested adults to offer even just one hour per month as a volunteer recess monitor. If you think about it, that�s just one lunch-hour per month where you can give something back to kids and their schools. And it�s actually lots of fun for everyone involved!� says Samples.
Cartoon Network animators have also contributed to the campaign by creating an all-new episode of the original animated series Codename: Kids Next Door, appropriately entitled �Operation R.E.C.E.S.S.� The episode will be available for free online viewing on CartoonNetwork.com starting Tuesday, Sept. 19, and it will air on the network on Friday night, Sept. 22, at 7:30 p.m.�a culmination to the week�s celebrations.
BACKGROUND ON RESCUING RECESS CAMPAIGN
Experts agree that playtime can be just as vital as classroom time to a child�s social, emotional and educational development. Yet in some schools around the country, children are not getting the chance to enjoy free time for energy rejuvenation, a needed break from intense studies and an opportunity simply to play with their friends. The goal of Rescuing Recess, part of Cartoon Network�s GET ANIMATED program, is to recognize unstructured break time as an essential element of the school day and to connect educators, parents and kids as advocates to either keep and enhance existing recess or bring it back as part of the daily school curriculum.
To date, Cartoon Network has pledged more than $3.3 million to help save recess through Rescuing Recess, which includes the initial letter-writing campaign this spring�which inspired more than 100,000 hand-written letters from kids to their state education policy makers�plus resources for recruiting volunteer recess monitors; recess kits that will be distributed to elementary schools around the country; research; and on-air public service announcements.
At its official launch in Washington, D.C. in March, Rescuing Recess encouraged kids to log-on to www.RescuingRecess.com to learn ways to make recess even more fun and healthy, and presented the letter-writing campaign as an opportunity to share their views with their local board of education while also helping to raise money for their schools.
On June 26, Cartoon Network traveled to Phoenix, AZ for the PTA National Convention to award $310,000 in grants to participating local PTA units in 49 States, the Virgin Islands and the Department of Defense Schools in Europe. The grants were awarded to winning PTA chapters for the largest number of letters received per state.