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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
October 27, 2005

Mrs. Bush Hosts White House Conference on Helping America's Youth

Washington, DC - Parents, educators, researchers, community leaders and students will participate today in the White House Conference on Helping America's Youth, hosted by Mrs. Laura Bush at Howard University. The Conference will address the challenges facing today's youth and present programs helping youth avoid at-risk behavior by connecting them with schools, community and family. The Conference will also present a new guide to help communities identify challenges they face and offer specific steps they can take to improve the lives of boys and girls in their areas.

"I'm encouraged by children and community leaders I have met around the country who have the compassion and persistence to help change lives," said Mrs. Bush. "It is very moving and very American. All of us can shape a world in which good values are encouraged and children can hope for a healthy, happy, and more productive future."

Through participation in panel discussions, program leaders, educators, researchers, and leaders of faith-based and community organizations will discuss the challenges facing youth and share examples of programs that are already working to make a difference in the lives of young Americans. By sharing best practices, organizations and communities will learn from one another and turn good ideas into successful programs. The Conference will also encourage organizations to help by developing measures to evaluate the effectiveness of youth programs.

The Conference will introduce the new Community Guide to Helping America's Youth. This online assessment guide will help local leaders assess what they are already doing to meet the needs of their young people and what they can do to help. For example, the assessment guide includes maps of communities so that law enforcement can plug in high crime areas. Communities can use the map to determine services available, so they can direct these services to underserved parts of their cities. The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Justice, Education, Agriculture, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Corporation for National and Community Service developed the guide.

Research shows children are less likely to engage in risky behaviors, including illegal drug, alcohol and tobacco use, when connected with parents, family, school, community, and places of worship. Risky behaviors are among the top causes of disease and early death among youth.

Over 20 colleges and universities across the country will simulcast the Conference, so that members of their local communities can listen to participating speakers. Interested public may view the Conference online. For more information, please visit

President Bush announced the Helping America's Youth initiative in his 2005 State of the Union Address to rally people to the cause of bringing hope and opportunity to children's lives.

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