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Youth earn their seat

While the Jaguars were in training camp this summer perfecting their drills and skills, youth from the agencies listed below were also training on the "field" of life. More than 500 youth were taking part in the Jaguars Foundation Honor Rows program. Honor Rows is a unique program that empowers disadvantaged youth to reach beyond their challenging circumstances. With help from their parents/guardians and mentors, these youth are celebrating their accomplishments because they earned their seat to today's game.

Seated in the 300-level section of the North End Zone, boys and girls worked hard to improve their academic performance, attained personal goals, learned about nutrition and physical fitness, and participated in a variety of community service projects. In addition, all youth made and kept a tobacco, alcohol and drug-free pledge with support from their parents and mentors.

Note that at the end of the first quarter, Delores and Wayne Weaver will wave in congratulations to the youth and their agencies for persevering and earning their seat to today's game. Please join the Weavers and other fans in The Wave.

Honor Rows is an innovative program that uses seats at Jaguars home games as incentives for young people to set and achieve ambitious but realistic goals. The flexibility of the program allows nonprofit agencies to determine how best to use seats for their particular program.

Each Honor Rows participant receives a special T-shirt, hat, free meal, certificate of achievement and recognition at the stadium during the game. Yet, the personal goals and skills each youth attains have a long-lasting impact on their future.

Honor Rows was instituted in 1995 during the Jacksonville Jaguars inaugural season, "The Season of Firsts." The Jaguars Foundation received the 1996 and 2003 Governor's Community Investment Award and continues to serve as a demonstration site for other sports leagues and franchises.

This year, more than 4,300 seats have been awarded to 39 agencies with multiple programs; the largest in the Honor Rows program's history. Almost 3,300 youth alone will have participated in the program by the end of the 2005 season. In the past eleven seasons, the Foundation has awarded more than 30,500 Honor Rows seats to youth, parents, mentors and agency staff. This is in addition to the donation of other charitable seats.

The Jaguars Foundation is sponsored by Reebok and ALLTEL. The United Way of NE Florida mobilizes game-day volunteers who ensure the safety and enjoyment of Honor Rows participants.

The following agencies are present for today's game:

Boys & Girls Club of NE Florida – 77 youth

Communities in Schools of Jax – 145 youth

Families FIRST – 51 youth

FreshMinistries/ Monique Burr – 46 youth

Gateway Community Services – 20 youth

Hollybrook Homes – 51 youth

Jacksonville Youth Sanctuary – 20 youth

State Attorney's Office – 22 youth

The Bridge of Northeast Florida – 75 youth

For more information about The Foundation's Honor Rows Program or other Foundation initiatives, please contact Tarek Tabet at 633-6579.

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