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YMCA Sponsors Young Readers Project Contest

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 1997 – Entry deadline is March 21 for the Armed Services YMCA's Young Readers Project essay contest, open to military family youth from preschool through high school.

Essays must be on subjects that develop the theme of reading as a valuable and enjoyable activity. Prizes are a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond to the winning high school essayist and $100 bonds to the winners at the middle school, fourth to sixth grade, and preschool to third grade levels.

Entries can be submitted by electronic mail to and must clearly indicate the student's name, age, grade and regular mail address and include parents' names, military unit affiliation and the name and location of the school attended. Families without electronic mail access may submit essays by regular mail to:

Young Readers Project

Armed Services YMCA of the USA

6225 Brandon Avenue, Suite 215

Springfield, VA 22150.

Additional information and essay requirements can be obtained by electronic mail at the above address, from the YMCA national headquarters or your local YMCA branch. Winning entries will be announced in April.

The contest is one facet of the new YMCA project to encourage military family members to read more. The project coincides with the designation of April as the Month of the Military Child and is conducted in cooperation with the United States Naval Institute.

"In an era dominated by bits of information and television, where the value of reading is often lost, ... projects that lead children and young people to books and knowledge will help develop a new generation of readers and thinkers," said retired Capt. James A. Barber, executive director of the United States Naval Institute. "The Naval Institute is pleased to join the Armed Services YMCA in this worthwhile effort."

"Studies demonstrate that reading for children of all ages improves their ability to learn, enhances their vocabularies, and strengthens their social skills and sense of self," said James Eckel, DoD Education Agency reading coordinator. "Efforts by the community to help us reinforce the importance and pleasure of reading is helpful and appreciated."(Courtesy of Navy News Service)

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