Since 1979, when Exchange adopted child abuse prevention as its national program, clubs across America have been working to help diminish the tragedy of abuse through a wide variety of worthwhile activities.
    Although child abuse prevention projects should be implemented year-round, Exchange Clubs place special emphasis on those activities during April, National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The National Exchange Club Foundation for the Prevention of Child Abuse produces and distributes a child abuse prevention kit for clubs well in advance of April. The kit includes sample news releases, public relations ideas and Child Abuse Prevention Guide suggesting numerous community projects which can increase public awareness of abuse and how it can be prevented.
    Some of these projects include: Sir Care-a-Lot teddy bear -- a warn and loving friend for children to hold onto in times of crises; Project Kid Care -- an educational program designed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children which provides families with child safety information and encourages parents to keep accurate safety records of their children' Roadblock -- a fundraising program implemented by clubs which also increases public awareness, which takes place in street intersections, grocery stores and bank lobbies, etc., on a given day' Time Out Teddy -- another Foundation friend who promotes positive parenting techniques through brochures and an April activities calendar for children and parents to work on and discuss.
    Establishing an Exchange Club Child Abuse Prevention Center is one of the most meaningful ways in which a club can participate in our national project. Exchange Club Centers utilize professionally-trained parent aides who work directly with abusing parents and their children. This unique approach has achieved impressive results in preventing abuse, enabling numerous children to live lives free of constant fear and pain.
    In addition to developing centers, clubs can sponsor educational seminars and distribute informative literature. Clubs can also undertake ongoing campaigns to raise funds for either the Foundation, a nearby Exchange Club Center or another community program with similar aims.


  America's young people are its most precious natural resource. This is why, for many years, Exchange has sponsored an impressive selection of activities designed to benefit and encourage our nation's youth. Not surprising, many of these richly rewarding programs are among the most popular and well supported of all Exchange Club endeavors.
    Exchange's youth projects include the Youth of the Month/Year Award, the Young Citizenship Award, the A.C.E. Award and EXCEL Clubs.


    The Freedom Shrine is an impressive, permanently mounted collection of 28 of the most important and historic American documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the Gettysburg Address. These remarkable documents serve as windows to the world of America's proud past. They show our nation's youth the strength and courage of their forefathers and allowing them to read, with their own eyes, the immortal words of inspired Americans who so decisively changed the course of history.
    The objective of Exchange is to install a Freedom Shrine in every junior and senior high school in the nation. However, Freedom Shrines have also found places of honor in universities, libraries, state capitols, airports, city halls and other public places where they can be studied and admired.
    While Freedom Shrines may be presented at any time of the year, Exchange Clubs are especially urged to conduct at least one presentation during the month of May -- Freedom Shrine Month.
    An outstanding companion to the Freedom Shrine is the Milestones of Freedom program. Consisting of special quizzes based on the Freedom Shrine documents, the program encourages youngsters to gain a deeper understanding of these documents and their importance in the development of the American way of life. The milestones of Freedom program is conducted in cooperation with local schools. Students posting the top scores are presented with distinctive Liberty Bell Medallion awards by the sponsoring Exchange Club.


    Just as its tongue - twisting title suggests, this popular project involves the distribution of small American flags to youngsters at parades, fairs, picnics, school events or other community happenings that generate large crowds. The flags are absolutely free to the children and can make a great souvenir of the occasion.
    This is an easily implemented and effective program designed to cultivate a deeper sense of patriotism and to heighten young American's appreciation and admiration for our country's flag. Flags with National Exchange Club identification are available from the supply department.


    The powerful program not only aims to increase appreciation of our rich religious heritage, but also seeks to remind Americans that we must always trust in a higher power for guidance, protection and strength. The famous words of the program's title are, of course, taken from the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
    One Nation Under God Month is observed annually during November. Exchange Clubs can implement this program in a variety of worthwhile ways, such as organizing community-wide prayer breakfasts, distributing pamphlets describing the American Flag's history and proper display, sponsoring One Nation Under God essay or poster contests in schools and encouraging attendance at religious services.


    Americans are given the freedom of choice -- to choose which candidate to elect or whether to vote at all. When compared to the number of eligible voters in america, those who actually vote is alarming. Unfortunately, only a handful of Americans exercise their right to vote and decide the leadership and direction of our country.
    Exchange has officially adopted a new Program of Service called "Get Out the Vote," which educates and encourages American citizens to register and vote in political elections. The focus of the program is to have Exchange Clubs join together with chapters of the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) and provide voting services to the general public. Services may include voter registration; manning voting polls; and providing transportation to and from polls for eligible voters.


    No symbol better signifies our nation's greatness or inspires respect and love of country tan our American flag -- the Stars and Stripes. That is why The National Exchange Club encourages all Americans to properly fly the flag as an ongoing, highly visible expression of that respect.
    To accomplish this simple goal, Exchange has an effective program known as Proudly We Hail. It encourages regular display of the flag by individuals, commercial establishments and industries by honoring them through the presentation of a specially designed plaque. Every club member can participate in the program because it is the individual member who watches for and nominates potential recipients. This outstanding program promotes Americanism as well as community recognition by the sponsoring Exchange Club.


    All the activities that make up the Program of Service have a common goal of serving and benefiting our communities. Why then a separate category called Community Service? Because while the programs listed under Child Abuse Prevention, Youth and Americanism focus on specific areas within the community, the following projects are more broad in scope and are designed to benefit every community member.
    These projects include crime Prevention, Fire Prevention, The Book of Golden Deeds Award and Service to Seniors.


    To help stem the rising tide of crime, The National Exchange Club established a powerful program to heighten pubic awareness of the many ways average citizens can help prevent illegal activity. Since its inception, Exchange's Crime Prevention program has been endorsed by nearly every President of United States as well as leading law enforcement officials. Because of its undeniable importance, the program is supported by the vast majority of Exchange Clubs. They can choose from a large and varied assortment of proven activities, including Child Fingerprinting, Junior Police, the Blue and Gold Wounded in Service Award, My Day in court and many more.
    While any of these vital activities can and should be carried out throughout the year, clubs are encouraged to kick off their anti-crime campaigns during National Crime Prevention Month, observed annually in October.
    Each year, National Headquarters develops a complete promotional package for Crime Prevention efforts, including a slogan, a colorful, attention-getting poster, a place mat and a Personal Crime Prevention Action File. National Crime  Prevention Kits, distributed to clubs well in advance of the October observance, also contain step-by-step instructions for the suggested projects, news releases, brochures and other useful items that enable Exchange Clubs to help lessen the menace of crime in their communities.


    Also observed during the month of October are Exchange's Fire Prevention activities. Year after year, fires in the United States claim thousands of lives and are responsible for countless injuries and vast amounts of property damage. But in many cases, those deadly and destructive fires could have been easily prevented.
    Through such Fire Prevention activities as the presentation of educational talks, the distribution of information and the sponsorship of poster and essay contests for children, Exchange Clubs can help citizens to recognize and eliminate potential fire hazards, as well as teach them how to protect themselves if a fire does occur. In addition, clubs can support efforts to improve and expand fire fighting or participate in a variety of other beneficial projects.


    This exclusive Exchange Club program honors the quiet, good deeds of America's unsung heroes. The woman who regularly donates her time to care for disadvantaged children - the man who voluntarily instructs disabled persons in some skill or craft -- these are the kinds of exceptional individuals that the Book of Golden Deeds Award aims to recognize. These uncommon men and women exist in every city and town and, if not for this project, might never receive the acclaim that they deserve.
    This program is easy to implement and extremely satisfying once accomplished. Finding and screening nominees can be done in a number of ways and, if necessary, with the help of others in the community who are eager to cooperate in such a rewarding project. For some clubs, an annual awards banquet has become the social event of the year because the honored recipient is truly a hero of the community.


    By the year 2000, it is estimated that some 15 percent of all Americans will be 65 years of age or older. As this segment of society continues to grow, so does the need for programs that assist older Americans, enabling them to continue leading productive lives.
    That is the positive purpose of the activities that comprise Exchange's Service to Seniors program. Exchange Clubs can choose from projects such as Adopt-a-Grandparent, the Golden Key Latchkey program and the Senior Citizen of the Year Award. These activities that clubs develop to address specific needs, can help make a lasting difference in the lives of a community's senior citizens.


E-Mail - Lyn Lamison, District Secretary.

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