Department Of Interior

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Department of the Secretary
Contact: Joan Moody
For Immediate Release: September 3, 2003
NFL Helps Carry the Ball for Take Pride in America
-- Building inner-city playground and national PSAs highlight partnership --
(WASHINGTON) - "NFL Kickoff Live 2003," the National Football League's second annual football and music festival, will not only celebrate the opening of a football season but also promote the U.S. Department of Interior's TAKE PRIDE IN AMERICA initiative, which encourages volunteerism on public lands.

"The NFL Kickoff is a wonderful opportunity to showcase public service by volunteers who help to protect our natural resources," said U.S. Secretary of Interior Gale Norton. "Take Pride in America is a national partnership that aims to inspire a new generation of volunteers to put their love of country to work to improve our national parks, wildlife refuges, public lands, cultural and historic sites, playgrounds and other recreation areas."

Secretary Norton will welcome the crowd - including thousands of military personnel - to the National Mall on the Sept. 4. On the Jumbotron, and in broadcasts of the game on ABC television and CBS radio, Redskin players LaVar Arrington, Laveranues Coles and Patrick Ramsey will narrate public service announcements about Take Pride in America.

On Wednesday, Sept. 3, Norton, former Redskin Darrell Green, former Pittsburgh Steeler Franco Harris and former San Francisco 49er Steve Young and other volunteers will join Home Depot to assist KaBOOM, a nonprofit organization, in building a "playground for hope" at the WC Smith Housing development in southeast Washington, D.C.

Take Pride in America will staff a booth at the football festival theme park between 7th and 12th Streets Northwest on the Mall. At the booth, decorated with Take Pride in America banners, volunteers can sign up to help and get more information about how to get involved in Take Pride in America.

"We greatly appreciate the support of the NFL and other partners for this wonderful opportunity to reach the America public," said Marti Allbright, executive director of Take Pride in America. "This partnership will help invigorate countless Americans to roll up their shirtsleeves and volunteer to restore a cultural or natural resource in their community."

Secretary Norton launched the Take Pride in America program on April 16, 2003, at the National Press Club. On June 27, Norton named Allbright, former Chief Deputy Attorney General of Colorado, as the director.

In less than five months, Take Pride in America already has gained tremendous momentum by holding community service and award events and enlisting more than a 100 charter partners - including major corporations, conservation groups, service organizations, trade associations and a bipartisan coalition of state governors. Formal partnerships with state governments allow federal and state land managers to identify volunteer opportunities and to enlist public service commitments from citizens. Take Pride is part of President George W. Bush's USA Freedom Corps, dedicated to fostering a culture of service to others.

Companies and corporations can help by sponsoring Take Pride in America cleanup days or by committing blocks of volunteer service time to local restoration efforts. Take Pride sponsors a national recognition and awards program

"The NFL is proud to be part of the national Take Pride in America Initiative to encourage protection of public lands and cultural resources," says Patrick Ramsey, Washington Redskins quarterback, in one of the public service announcements to be broadcast Thursday. "Volunteer. It's your land. Lend a hand."

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