RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Jamie Foxx, Shaquille O'Neal, Tia Mowry, Jennie Garth, Monique Coleman and Jesse Metcalfe today joined with public health advocate Pernessa Seele, who has dedicated the past 20 years to delivering life-saving services to those in need, to announce the launch of a powerful campaign EVERY CHILD USA, created to ensure that all children learn basic reading skills to combat the fact that 1 in 4 children in America are growing up illiterate and are at direct risk for falling into the cradle-to-prison pipeline without a strong education. The numbers prove this harsh reality: 85% of all young people who go through the juvenile court system are illiterate. EVERY CHILD USA will also address the desperate need until the new health care legislation can be fully activated and reach out to the 1 in every 10 children in this country who are uninsured and provide them with basic medical care, including annual eye and dental exams and immunizations, which could save their lives. EVERY CHILD USA offers everyone the opportunity to take action and, in less than 5 minutes, help improve the future for millions of our nation's children.
Right here in America, "the land of opportunity," which ranks #1 in gross domestic product and #1 in number of billionaires among the world's industrialized nations, we are failing our children: the United States ranks last in child poverty while we rank #1 in the number of people in jail. EVERY CHILD USA offers real solutions to some of the most serious challenges facing our nation's youth. The initiative will expand The Children's Defense Fund's Freedom School program that currently serves 10,000 children in 29 states to ensure that more American children build vital reading skills. EVERY CHILD USA will provide free mobile health clinics that offer basic care to children on-the-spot and expand the preventative health and intervention programs offered by healthcare professionals and medical facilities in partnership with The Balm in Gilead, Inc. reaching out to rural and impoverished communities right here in America. It will expand the leadership and life skills training for youth living in foster care and homeless youth in partnership with the Orange Duffel Bag Foundation. EVERY CHILD USA will enrich the lives of youth by providing them with tools to succeed in life, including basic business training and financial literacy in partnership with programs committed to youth entrepreneurship and opportunity.
Featured on the cover of TIME MAGAZINE as one of The Most Influential Persons in the World, Pernessa Seele is the Founder of EVERY CHILD USA. As a pioneering AIDS activist and Founder/CEO of The Balm in Gilead, Inc. she has spearheaded an international movement to deliver prevention, intervention and life-saving health services. She worked with three US presidential administrations on issues of HIV/AIDS in the United States and abroad.
"We are so fortunate to be citizens of the most generous country in the world," said Pernessa Seele. "The people of the United States have led the world in fighting poverty and providing life-saving treatment for people around the world. Personally, I have held countless babies suffering from HIV, malaria, malnutrition and other curable diseases around the world. But we must take a hard look at our children here at home. Far too many children in the United States had no food to eat today, live on the streets, have been sent to juvenile detention, cannot read, and will die when we could have saved their lives. I urge everyone to join with EVERY CHILD USA to give them a chance to grow up to become healthy, productive humanitarian citizens of the world."
"I am proud to stand up and support America's children," explained Jamie Foxx. "They desperately need our help. They are in crisis. Their crisis is our crisis. We need to take stock of our priorities and put our children first. If our children fail, we all fail. When I learned that nearly half of our nation's children are living in poverty, it moved me and inspired me to take action. I invite everyone to join me in standing up to change our children's future."
"Children are this world's future and securing their health and literacy is a way to not only change their lives and families for the better, but to ensure a positive course for our civilization's future," said Shaquille O'Neal.
With the number of children in America growing rapidly, the need is greater than ever. With nearly half of our nation's children facing a life of poverty, we are in a real crisis. One third of all children born from 2000 on will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives; while millions will combat obesity-related health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma. Every day, 2,660 children are born into a brutal cycle of poverty in this country.
EVERY CHILD USA urges everyone who cares about our nation's children to take action now and stand up for change. In less than 5 minutes, you can make your voice heard and show your support for our nation's children. Text, tweet or click to donate $10 to help a child learn to read and receive medical care that could save their life. Text CHILDUSA to 85944. Tweet "RT 10foreverychild." Click www.everychildusa.com
SOURCE EVERY CHILD USA