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Foot Locker, Sears and Target donate gift certificates totaling more than $27,500 to graduating foster children to honor their achievement

Foot Locker, Sears and Target donate gift certificates totaling more than $27,500 to graduating foster children to honor their achievement

Chicago, IL (July 21, 2004) - Three leading retailers have donated over $27,500 in gift cards to Illinois foster children who have recently graduated from junior high, high school, trade school, culinary school and other vocational or educational institutions. The three retailers include Foot Locker Foundation - part of the world's largest athletic footwear and apparel retailer, Sears, Roebuck and Company - a leading retailer of apparel, home and automotive products and Target - the first retail store to offer well-known national brands at discounted prices.

Five hundred fifty graduating youth in care of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) will each receive two $25 gift cards - one from Foot Locker and one from Sears - during regional ceremonies this July and August. Ceremonies will be held July 16th for the Northern Region, July 20th for the Cook Central Region, July 23rd for the Cook South Region, July 30th for the Cook North Region, August 3rd for Southern Region and August 6th for the Central Region.

Each graduate will also receive a Certificate of Achievement from DCFS. Target also donated gift cards in honor of the graduating students.

"I congratulate each student for achieving their educational goals," said DCFS Director Bryan Samuels. "Though their benchmarks are different, each student's achievement should be recognized, especially when considering the added challenges in life they face."
Some of the students honored at the ceremonies are also recipients of competitive four-year college scholarships from DCFS. The Department awards 48 new scholarships each year to current and former DCFS youth who have been adopted or moved into subsidized guardianship homes.

Applicants seeking a DCFS scholarship must be 16 or older and possess a diploma from an accredited high school or GED program by the end of the school year. DCFS scholarship recipients are chosen based on scholastic aptitude, academic rank, citizenship, personal character and community involvement.

"These gift cards will enable youth to treat themselves for a job well done," said Director Samuels. "The cards also show that others are proud of their accomplishments. That's important, because knowing that people care encourages youth to continue setting and achieving educational goals."

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Jill Manuel
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services


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