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Red Nose Day campaign starts, will fund Atlanta summer programs

Charity organization Comic Relief launched its third annual Red Nose Day fundraising campaign Monday in an attempt to help end child poverty.

The campaign has raised more than $1 billion globally since its founding in 1988 and more than $60 million in the U.S. since it launched here in 2015. The campaign’s signature Red Noses are available at Walgreens and Duane Reade stores nationwide, with all Walgreens profits going to the cause.

Funds support children in all 50 states as well as Africa, Latin America and Asia through programs designed to keep them safe, healthy and educated. Red Nose Day funds organizations including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Children’s Health Fund, Feeding America, the Vaccine Alliance, Save the Children and more.

“Red Nose Day makes it fun to come together and make a difference for children who need us most,” said Janet Scardino, CEO of Comic Relief. “We’re overjoyed with the enthusiasm around the return of Red Nose Day for 2017. We estimate that 20 million Americans united around the cause last year, and we hope even more will join us with their 'Noses On’ this year.”

The campaign ends on May 25 (Red Nose Day) with a special night of NBC programming including a celebrity version of “America Ninja Warrior” and “Running Wild with Bear Grylls for Red Nose Day” featuring Julia Roberts. 

In Atlanta, Red Nose Day proceeds enable the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta to provide a summer education program to prevent “summer brain drain,” kids forgetting what they learned in school over summer break. The program, Summer Brain Gain, is available at 21 of BGCMA’s 25 clubs and provides hands-on learning experiences for four to six weeks each summer. 

“It’s fun, but it’s also encouraging learning, critical skill building, building of those 21st century skills and making sure our kids graduate on time from high school,” said Ashley Hill, regional development specialist for BGCMA.

The metro Atlanta organization uses the program to serve students who might not have a safe place to go in the summer as well as students who may fall behind their more affluent peers.

Latisha Jordan enrolled her daughter in the program last summer and was thrilled with the results. Her daughter’s favorite week was when the club learned about dinosaurs by making paper mache dinosaur eggs, using paint brushes to dust off fossils and seeing dinosaurs in a museum.

At the end of each week-long learning module, the students can present to the club.

“All of the kids in the [presentation] were very excited and were pulling me through different displays, telling me about the projects that they did and showing me the fossils that they made,” said Jordan.

Red Nose Day funds paid for staff, curriculum, supplies and field trips for all of the participating BGCMA clubs. The program offers curriculum for all grades and is free to members. 

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