FOSTER CHILDREN RECEIVE GIFT OF READING

The Indianapolis Colts presented backpacks with books to foster children in Evansville and Fort Wayne.

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EVANSVILLE AND FORT WAYNE –On June 22 and 24, the Indianapolis Colts collaborated with the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) and Cargo Services to give 100 foster children a special gift in Evansville and Fort Wayne, respectively. Through the Books for Youth initiative, each foster youth received a backpack filled with 25 age-appropriate books as well as a visit from the Colts mascot, Blue.

The Evansville branch of the Indiana Department of Child Services and Ivy Tech Community College Student Life Center in Fort Wayne generously donated their facilities to accommodate each event which began with a distribution of backpacks to each foster child present. Afterwards, the foster children sat down and immediately began to explore the contents of their backpacks. The room glowed with their bright smiles as they pulled out books they can now call their own.

The Colts also surprised the children with a special visit from Blue who presented his PRIDE Show, a 45-minute education program whose acronym aims to teach children about the importance of Physical Fitness, Respect, Intelligent Decisions, a Healthy Diet, and Education. Immediately following the PRIDE show, the children and families had the opportunity to visit the Colts Fan Fest at Garvin Park in Evansville and Make It Personal Tour at Allen County War Memorial in Fort Wayne.

These events are part of the four (4) backpack distributions Cargo Services plan to host in 2010. With two more distributions planned, the Indianapolis Colts encourage our fans to drop off new or gently used books at any Indianapolis Marion County Public Library branch or DCS office. For a complete listing of branch locations, please visit http://www.imcpl.org/about/locations/. Help us put books into the hands of Indiana's foster youth and young adults!

About Books for Youth

*On Tuesday, December 12, 2006 the Indianapolis Colts announced a new partnership with the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) for the "Books for Youth" program. Through this program, the Colts and the DCS will provide every foster child in Indiana with their own personal library of 25 age-appropriate books.

On any given day in Marion County alone, more than 1,200 children are in the foster care system and too often they leave their belongings behind when they move.  The Colts and DCS want to change that by helping place 25 age- appropriate books per child into the hands of foster youth and young adults and are asking for community support to make a smart handoff to Indiana's youth. *

Since launching this initiative, the Colts and DCS have collected more than 360,000 books statewide through gameday collections, school book drives, Colts Blue Friday events and more. To learn more about Books for Youth, visit www.colts.com/booksforyouth.

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