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January 4, 2002

Finalists Announced for “Be Real” Photo Contest

CHICAGO -- Illinois' First Lady, Lura Lynn Ryan today announced the finalists for the “Be Real” Youth Photo Contest. Individuals wishing to vote for the winner of this contest are invited to cast their ballot on the “Be Real” web page from January 7-31, 2002.

The contest allowed Illinois youth between the ages of 10 and 14 to demonstrate through photography how they and those around them are being real by staying drug-free. Participants were also asked to submit a brief essay describing how the individuals pictured are being real.

To vote, go to the Futures for Kids website. The five individuals with the most votes as of midnight on January 31, 2002 will each receive a digital camera donated by the Fuji Corporation. All finalists will receive baseball game tickets donated by the Chicago White Sox and movie passes courtesy of Loews, IMAX, GKC and Kerasotes Theaters.

“Be Real” is an innovative youth drug prevention effort aimed at the youth of Illinois between the ages of 10 and 14. The theme encourages these young people to “Be Real” to themselves, their families, their friends and communities by being drug-free. The program is spearheaded by Illinois First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan and falls under the umbrella of Futures for Kids, a statewide resource for programs and policies related to the health, safety and education of infants, children and teenagers.

“Our strong focus on prevention and education is getting exciting results”, Mrs. Ryan said. “While substance abuse is still the number one health problem facing our young people, more Illinois youth are making the right choices when it comes to alcohol and other drug use.”

The finalists in the “Be Real” Youth Photo Contest include Brittany Barker of Joliet; Diona Bester of Collinsville; Sarah Boline of Decatur; Billy Bouck of Collinsville; Joel Cargerman of Plainfield; Rachel Crickman of Channahon; Katy Czerwonka of Caseyville; Jennifer Damhauser of Hanover Park; Bryan Emer of Highland Park; Kayla Ferguson of Wheaton; Lindsay Graff of Wheaton; Jenny Groover of Highland Park; Jonathan Guarneri of Naperville; Abigale James of Chicago; John Lazarz of Naperville; Katie Lazarz of Naperville; Melissa Marik of Naperville; Katie Miles of Collinsville; Kelsey Olenski of McHenry; Yvette Ortega of Joliet; Maggie Plese of Morris; Rosie Prost of Collinsville; Evelester Rodriguez of Chicago and Claire Small of Elgin.

The State of Illinois launched “Be Real”, an innovative youth drug prevention campaign in October, 2001. Schools throughout the state have incorporated activities from the “Be Real” planning guide into classroom prevention efforts. “Be Real” messages are being reinforced in homes and in communities with parent guides, billboards, movie theater public service ads and radio announcements.

"Be Real" was made possible through support from the Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois State Police, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Dominick’s, BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Archer Daniels Midland Company, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Crain Communications, Kenny Construction, Printing Arts Chicago, United Parcel Service and the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company.

Additional support was provided by Archer Daniels Midland Company, Ariel Capital Management, Bell, Boyd & Lloyd, Pfizer Inc., Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Crain's Chicago Business, Chicago Public Schools and International Truck and Engine Corporation.


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