NEW YORK, Oct 19, 2001 -- Everyone wants to know what they can do to help make the world a better place - including kids. That's why FAO Schwarz and Hasbro, Inc. are inviting kids across the country to help make a difference by participating in the first-ever Play-A-Thon(TM) - a concept designed to empower children by offering them a chance to raise money for a charity of their choice while doing what they do best...playing! Play-A-Thon activities will be held from October 23 - October 31, 2001 at every FAO Schwarz store across the country.
The concept behind the Play-A-Thon is similar to a walk-a-thon. In the Play-A-Thon, children will gather sponsors for every hour they play with any toy, game or participate in any activity. While Play-A-Thon activities will be organized at FAO Schwarz from October 23 - 31, 2001, Hasbro and FAO invite children to continue gathering contributions for every hour they play at home - or anywhere - throughout the rest of the year.
The FAO Schwarz/Hasbro Play-A-Thon begins lighting up lives at the world famous FAO Schwarz flagship store in New York City on Tuesday, October 23. As part of the fundraising effort, children will complete the world's largest LITE-BRITE, in the image of an American flag. They'll also be invited to create American Flag LITE-BRITES in all other FAO Schwarz stores, and play with a wide range of Hasbro toys and games. Actress Susan Sarandon will be on hand to celebrate the importance of play and community service.
"Nothing is more empowering for a person than to learn at an early age the joy and strength that comes with knowing you can make a difference." said Sarandon. "The world becomes your community and your community your family."
During Play-A-Thon, FAO Schwarz will donate 10% of all sales from all 40 stores on Saturday, October 27 and Sunday, October 28, 2001 to Youth Service America. Hasbro will also be making a generous donation to YSA. These funds will be used to establish a Youth Service Action Fund. The fund will provide children with grants to allow them to organize community service projects where they live.
"Youth Service America wants to make service to others the common experience of every young person in America," said Steve Culbertson, President of Youth Service America, based in Washington, D.C. "This Play-A-Thon will give every youth in America the chance to have some fun and give money and time back to a local, national, or even international charity. The best response to September 11th is for young people to make America an even better place than before."
Pledge forms will be available online beginning October 19, 2001 at www.hasbro.com, www.fao.com, and www.ysa.org. Children can turn their play into charitable contributions by visiting any FAO Schwarz store from October 23rd through October 31 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and noon to 4 p.m. on weekends. Children can also play at home, school, in their backyard, or wherever they play on a regular basis.
"Play is an essential part of childhood, for both children and their parents. Families that play together build their children's self-esteem. What could be more important for the whole family in this time of national stress, to continue to laugh, have fun and enjoy themselves, even though they also speak about serious international matters around the dinner table," said noted child psychiatrist, Alvin Rosenfeld, MD, co-author of The Over-Scheduled Child. "A Play-A-Thon combines the best of many worlds - a shared sense of empowerment, permission to keep enjoying life, and the opportunity to give something back to the society that has been so good to all of us."
FAO Schwarz stores will host a variety of activities featuring many of Hasbro's classic toys and games for children to play with during the nine-day period.
"Partnering with Hasbro to create the Play-A-Thon is a necessary step towards empowering children to make a difference in their world," said David Niggli, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Merchandising, FAO Schwarz. "For the first time, the value of play will truly be measured with results that will benefit everyone."
"We know that children and parents across the country will recognize that participating in a Play-A-Thon is a wonderful way for families to help others while helping themselves. Hasbro is proud to be associated with FAO Schwarz, Youth Service America and this very worthy Play-A-Thon concept that we created," said Alan G. Hassenfeld, Hasbro's Chairman and CEO.
Youth Service America (YSA) is a resource center and premier alliance of 200+ organizations committed to increasing the quantity and quality of volunteer opportunities for young people to serve locally, nationally, and globally. Founded in 1986, YSA's mission is: to strengthen the Effectiveness, Sustainability, and Scale of the youth service and service-learning fields. A strong youth service network will create healthy communities, and foster citizenship, knowledge, and the personal development of young people. For more information, please visit www.ysa.org.
Founded in 1862, FAO Schwarz has long been recognized as the world's ultimate toy store. The company has consistently delivered exclusive, unusual and trend-setting merchandise. Its stores, catalogs and online store, www.fao.com, have been designed to interact with customers in a manner that distinguishes it from other retailers and involves customers with merchandise. The company currently operates 40 locations nationwide, including flagship stores in Chicago, Las Vegas, Boston, New York, Orlando and San Francisco. FAO also produces The Ultimate Toy Catalog, a direct mail catalog that is distributed to more than six million consumers annually. For more information about FAO Schwarz, visit the company's Web site at www.fao.com.
Hasbro (NYSE: HAS) is a worldwide leader in children's and family leisure time entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech. Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world. For more information about Hasbro, Inc., please visit the company's web site at www.hasbro.com.
PLAY-A-THON CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Tuesday, October 23rd
Light up everyone's life by making LITE-BRITE American Flags.
Help create the world's largest LITE-BRITE American Flag at FAO Schwarz in New York City!
Wednesday, October 24th
Build your own adventure and make your own fun at Construction Day featuring TINKERTOY, LINCOLN LOGS, and MR. POTATO HEAD!
Change your TRANSFORMER the fastest and win a prize.
Thursday, October 25th
Become your favorite star by singing your favorite tune with E-KARA REAL KARAOKE!
Friday, October 26th
Dress up as your favorite artist at the HIT CLIPS Halloween Dance Party featuring your favorite artists' songs!
Saturday, October 27th
Twist the day away with your FAMILY GAME NIGHT games, including SCRABBLE and MONOPOLY. The last person standing in our TWISTER contest wins a prize!
Sunday, October 28th
Come and play in the house of the future with the I-CYBIE, the most advanced robo dog and the rest of the ROBO-CHI family!
Monday, October 29th
Local chefs will share their creations and teach you the best treats to bake with the EASY-BAKE OVEN!
Tuesday, October 30th
Create spooky and playful Halloween decorations with PLAY-DOH!
Wednesday, October 31st
Compete to the beat with the EXTREME BOP IT challenge!