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HEROES IN THE HOOD SEEK OUTSTANDING TEENS

CHICAGO (January 4, 2010) – At a time when teen violence remains a dominant public concern, the Heroes in the Hood program enters its 17th year of recognizing local young people who defy the trends and try make their communities safer and better places to live.

Since its inception in 1993, Heroes in the Hood has honored more than 400 teens whose service has set an example for their peers and inspired Chicago. Founded by GO Airport Express, the city’s airport shuttle service, the Chicago Crusader, and the DuSable Museum of African American History, Heroes is once again seeking nominations for teenagers who volunteered their time and talent in 2009. Winners will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the state capital in Springfield in addition to other prizes.

The program takes on particular significance this year when some 30 teens are shot every month, according to John McCarthy, president of Airport Express, lead sponsor of Heroes in the hood.

“Some people see the problems in their communities and feel helpless,” says McCarthy. “But others rise to the challenge. We’re trying to assure that these exceptional teenagers get the recognition they deserve.”

Nominations will be accepted through March 17th. Candidates must be between 12 and 18 and live in the city of Chicago. Nominees will be judged on their initiative, creativity, and the benefit they brought to their community. Those interested in nominating a teen can download submission forms from this website or call 312.666.6662 for more information.

For the second year in a row, the Heroes program is also soliciting nominations for its Stop the Violence award, recognizing administrators, teachers, counselors, or public officials who took extraordinary steps to reduce the violence in their neighborhood. Last year, Harper High School principal Kenyatta Stansberry was its first recipient for reducing fights in her school by 200 percent.

Past Heroes recipients have tutored children, organized clothing drives, fostered dialogue with police, and even written books. The winners will be honored during an April 15th ceremony at the DuSable Museum for African American History. “Every year we’re impressed by how much just a few concerned young people can accomplish,” said McCarthy. “We can’t wait to hear about all the good they did in 2009.”

“Heroes in the ‘Hood” was created by GO Airport Express to honor area youth for their positive contributions to strengthening the Chicago community. Other sponsors include AT&T Illinois, The Chicago Crusader, Dominick’s, the DuSable Museum of African American History, and WVON-AM. For more information or applications, call 312.666.6662 or visit www.airportexpress.com/community