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New Orleans: LEGO Builders of Tomorrow

LEGO Systems Asks Kids across America to Join Rebuilding Effort by Sending LEGO® Bricks to New Orleans Schools; Local Students, Children Across the Country to Imagine and Help "Rebuild" New Orleans.

ENFIELD, Conn. -- Feb. 11, 2006 -- Dig into your toy chests and pull out your LEGO bricks to help children in New Orleans imagine and rebuild for the future! LEGO Systems today issued a nationwide call to children and parents in towns across America to share their LEGO bricks with the children of New Orleans. The company will collect the bricks and make a brick-for-brick matching donation to New Orleans schools. Some of the bricks will be used to construct a model of the rebuilt city, as envisioned by local New Orleans children and kids across the country, to be donated to the city as a public work of art.

Through the LEGO Builders of Tomorrow program, children are encouraged to donate one or more of their LEGO bricks and send drawings, photos or notes describing something they think would help New Orleans become a strong city again. Each child who donates one or more of their bricks will receive a LEGO-studded rubber bracelet to recognize their contribution to the cause.

"We are thrilled to launch a program that supports one of the largest and most important rebuilding efforts in contemporary American history," said Michael McNally, senior brand relations manager, LEGO Systems. "Of the 117 public schools in New Orleans, only 15 of them are currently open. We want to inspire children and families everywhere to stay mindful of this massive undertaking, but also to contribute in a playful way to a program that provides opportunities for children in New Orleans to imagine, learn and have fun, all the while knowing their peers across the country care about their well being."

One of the groups to benefit from the LEGO brick donation is KID smART, a non-profit organization that encourages creative thinking through after-school programs held at local public schools. KID smART serves more than 1,700 students throughout New Orleans. In addition to KID smART and the schools it serves, all schools in New Orleans are invited to participate in the brick donation program.

In collaboration with New Orleans designers, city planners and redevelopment experts, a LEGO Master Builder will draw inspiration from New Orleans children, and from the ideas submitted by children with their donated bricks, to build a large replica of the rebuilt city that will then be donated to The Arts Council of New Orleans.

"We are still surveying the devastation to public art following Hurricane Katrina," said Mary Len Costa, Director of Public Art, The Arts Council of New Orleans. "We are thrilled to receive a structure made of LEGO bricks that we can display for all to see the possibility of a bright future for this great city."

LEGO bricks will be collected through August 31, 2006. For information on where to send bricks, or if you are a New Orleans school who wishes to participate in the program, log onto www.LEGObuildersoftomorrow.com.

Visitors to the site will also find building inspiration, tips for parents, LEGO Playtime Podcasts on topics of creativity, imagination, children and education, as well as profiles of people who are building a better tomorrow.

About KID smART
KID smART is a nonprofit organization, created to teach positive life skills to children through the performing and visual arts. KID smART programs involve intensive, quality instruction by professional artists who have experience working with under-resourced children. Instruction is challenging and dynamic, allowing children to think in new ways, explore new mediums and investigate themselves and the world in which they live. For more information visit: www.kidsmart.org.

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