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Wednesday, August 27, 2003
 
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Ohio University 'Love Luggage' project recognized for making a difference for area foster children

ATHENS, Ohio (April 6, 2004) -- Ohio "Love Luggage," a service project sponsored by Ohio University's Center for Community Service (CCS) and Department of Residence Life, is one of 10 "Make a Difference Day" service projects from across the state of Ohio that has received special recognition. The project was selected from more than 400 projects to receive acknowledgement for making a difference in the community.

10-28outlook_image"Love Luggage," the brainchild of Janeece Henes, CCS, and Natalie Pariano, Residence Life, brought together more than 80 volunteers in October who hand-painted donated luggage and filled it with necessities such as toiletries, art supplies, books and snacks. The pieces of luggage were given to more than 100 children in foster care with Athens County Children Services.

"The children who received a piece of Love Luggage will have it for a very long time," said Henes. "They will know that someone in their community thought of them --- that someone took the time to decorate a special piece and filled it with items they would need to get through the transition."

Nearly half a million children in America are in foster care, and approximately 200 of these children live in Athens County. Foster children may have very little to call their own, and often use trash bags to transport their few belongings. This project aimed to give these children a little something more to call their own.

Love Luggage photo by Rick FaticaOhio University's "Love Luggage" was recently recognized during the Ohio Community Service Council annual "Forging New Links" conference in Columbus, Ohio. The project will now be considered by a national selection committee for one of ten $10,000 awards. Those national recognition recipients will choose a non-profit charitable organization to receive the funds.

Make a Difference Day is a national day of service that takes place on the fourth Saturday of every October. Created by USA Weekend Magazine, it uses locally designed projects to motivate volunteers to make a difference in their communities. Nationally, more than 3 million volunteers raised funds, spirits and roofs this year. On this day and throughout the rest of each year, about 4,000 Ohio University students contribute more than 200,000 hours of service in the Athens area.

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Media Contact: JaNelle Ricks, Ohio University Center for Community Service, (740) 593-4007

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