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Mona Tolbert
(713) 292-0361

Houston We Have A Party
Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council receives $82,500 grant from Coca-Cola Foundation to promote healthy, active living

HOUSTON, Texas (September 14, 2011) – Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC), one of the largest Girl Scout Councils in the U.S., serving more than 94,000 girls and adult volunteers in 26 counties across Southeast Texas, received an $82,500 grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation. The grant will be used to support GSSJC’s healthy, active living programs, such as the X-treme adventure resident camp, for girls ages 12-18.

The grant is a part of The Coca-Cola Foundation’s $1 million gift to the Girl Scouts of the USA, earmarked to reach over 135,000 girls in the top five councils. Eight hundred thousand of this grant will be used to strengthen existing fitness and nutrition programming. The remaining $200,000 will support alumnae recruitment efforts. The three year grant will culminate in 2012 with the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts.

“Fitness and nutrition have always been important components of GSSJC’s agenda and we are honored to be one of only five councils to receive this grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation,” said Mary Vitek, CEO of GSSJC. “This strategic partnership enables GSSJC to continue its important work in the area of girl nutrition and fitness and to consider new projects that will enhance our current offerings.”

Recent studies, such as Growing Up in Houston 2008-2010 by Children-at-Risk, reveal that over the past 20 years, the prevalence of overweight children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 19 in the Houston-area has nearly tripled with one-third of children being overweight or at risk for becoming overweight.

The GSSJC addresses childhood obesity concerns by offering a variety of camp programs that encourage girls to engage in fitness activities such as swimming, hiking, backpacking, canoeing and archery. In addition, the Council provides girls with the opportunities to earn awards, attend clinics and events with collegiate and professional sports teams, participate in special interest groups (like the Green Starlettes Drill Team) and outreach programs for underserved girls as well as awareness campaigns utilizing Council publications.

“We want to provide as many options as we can to encourage girls to make the right choices concerning their health and nutrition,” said Vitek. “We continuously explore opportunities to further engage alumnae and will use this grant to involve those interested in fitness and nutrition activities by encouraging them to become coordinators, volunteers and content experts.”

Although the majority of the grant will help support healthy living programs, a portion of the grant will go towards re-engaging Girl Scout alumnae with the hopes that they will take on active volunteer roles with the Houston-area council.

“The Coca-Cola system is committed to being part of the solution to the obesity-related problems facing society. We do this in part by promoting active, healthy living programs for youth in the communities that we serve,” said Ivory Harrison, Houston Market Unit Food Service & On Premise Director, Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc. “All aspects of our business reflect this commitment, from our products and packaging to the programs we support and the policies we put in place to guide our operations.”

Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council has more than 4,000 registered alumnae and new members join daily. Girl Scout alumnae currently participate in alumnae-only events such as cooking classes and other social activities throughout the year as well as alumnae camp tours during summer Resident Camp where alumnae participate in traditional camp activities such as archery and canoeing and have an opportunity to visit with girls during lunch offered in camp lodges.

Information regarding programs, projects and other involvement opportunities are sent to alumnae through a customized alumnae newsletter and a customized website for local alumnae.

Girl Scouts of the USA is the world's preeminent organization for girls, with a membership of more than 3.7 million girls and adults. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Chartered by GSUSA to provide Girl Scouting locally, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council is one of the largest Girl Scout councils in the country serving more than 76,000 girls served and nearly 18,000 adult members in 26 southeast Texas counties.

About The Coca-Cola Foundation

Since its inception, The Coca-Cola Foundation has donated more than $418 million to sustainable community initiatives across the globe. For more information about The Coca-Cola Foundation, please go to http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/citizenship/foundation_coke.html.

The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca-Cola, the world's most valuable brand, the Company's portfolio features 15 billion dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply and Georgia. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees.

Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company's beverages at a rate of 1.7 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. For more information, please visit our company website at www.thecoca-colacompany.com

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Editor’s Note

Photo caption [CocaColaGirlScouts]: Girl members of the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) and Beth Shea, GSSJC’s chief marketing and fund development officer receive an $82,500 grant check from Ivory Harrison, Coca-Cola Refreshments Houston Market unit food service and on premise director on behalf of the Coca-Cola Foundation. The grant will be used to support GSSJC’s healthy, active living programs, such as the X-treme adventure resident camp, for girls ages 12-18.

The grant is a part of The Coca-Cola Foundation’s $1 million gift to the Girl Scouts of the USA, earmarked to reach over 135,000 girls in the top five councils. Eight hundred thousand of this grant will be used to strengthen existing fitness and nutrition programming. The remaining $200,000 will support alumnae recruitment efforts. The three year grant will culminate in 2012 with the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts.

GSSJC | Communications Department
3110 Southwest Freeway  Houston, TX 77098