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mayor-reed-dscf14971The city of Atlanta among first 11 cities chosen to inspire millions of young Americans to play, learn, serve and work in the great outdoors. 

Mayor Kasim Reed joined Sally Jewell, the Secretary of the Interior and Lauren Koontz, Chief Development Officer of YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta for a kick-off event for the Interior Department’s new youth initiative. The initiative will engage the next generation of outdoor stewards and inspire millions of young Americans to play, learn, serve and work in the great outdoors.

This event launched a nationwide effort in 50 U.S. cities to increase awareness, support and participation in outdoor programs. The City of Atlanta was selected as one of the first 11 locations for the initiative.

“We are so proud to be selected as one of the first 11 cities that will receive federal funding for youth and community programs in parks and green space,” said Mayor Reed. “The City of Atlanta is committed to helping our children realize their full potential. Much like the Centers of Hope, the Interior Department’s new youth initiative will give kids an opportunity to be great.”

“Children across our nation are increasingly disconnected from nature, yet playing outside and learning about the natural world is fun, healthy and builds confidence in kids,” said Secretary Jewell. “Atlanta has parks and plenty of green space, and a strong network of public and nonprofit leaders committed to getting kids outdoors, active and connected to nature.”

The next step for the City will be a community-wide summit hosted by the YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta to bring all interested parties to discuss strategies, priorities and partnerships.

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s efforts will help leverage resources and support the goals of President Obama’s “Every Kid in a Park” initiative that was launched in February that will provide all fourth grade students and their families with free admission to national parks and other public lands and waters for a full year. In the lead up to the 100th birthday of the National Park Service in 2016, the president’s “Every Kid in a Park” initiative is a call to action to get all children to visit and enjoy America’s great outdoors.

The following other cities to participate in the program include: New York City, Miami, Boston, Washington, DC, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Francisco, St. Louis, and St. Paul.

The initiative will roll out in 25 cities in 2015, with the remaining 25 cities to be identified in 2016.


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