Children Across America Hold National Vote and Elect the Military

Children Across America Hold National Vote and Elect the Military

Doubletree(R) Hotels Joins Forces With Kids Voting USA(R) to Provide an Early Education on the Importance of Voting


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Beverly Hills, CA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–October 29, 2004–Grown-ups in America may be going to the polls in a few days to elect — or re-elect — a President, but this week thousands of children across the nation chose a winner of their own in “The Great Community Cookie Election,” as part of the Doubletree Teaching Kids to CARE(R) program, a community-based outreach initiative that connects Doubletree hotels with local elementary schools and youth groups to educate children on the importance of caring for others. Doubletree(R) Hotels tallied the results and today declared The Military the official winning community group with approximately 37 percent of the popular vote.

Children participating in The Great Community Cookie Election learned firsthand how the voting process works by “electing” one of five community or service groups, or “candidates,” they wanted to recognize with a caring gesture. Thousands of students, aged 6-to-11 years old, cast their votes through a specially designed online voting ballot system.

“America’s kids have spoken,” said Dave Horton, senior vice president, brand management for Doubletree Hotels. “Throughout the three years of Teaching Kids to CARE, we’ve educated kids on caring for others, and in an election year we thought it was crucial to extend that message, showing them how Americans care for their country by voting. Americans need to remember how important voting is and we hope to help instill that important message at a young age.”

As a result of the election, 125 schools will have the unique opportunity in November and December to present 2004 Doubletree chocolate chip cookies to a group of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines representatives in their community.

From Boston to Honolulu, more than 250,000 “thank you” cookies will be distributed to this year’s “winning candidate.”

With the Teaching Kids to CARE program now in its third year, Doubletree formed an industry-exclusive agreement with Kids Voting USA(R) to educate children about the importance of caring for their country through the act of voting. Together, they provided grade school teachers with an interactive, educator-approved curriculum entitled, “My Vote Makes A Difference.”

The core of the lesson plan is designed to encourage kids that even at their young age, their conscious efforts and actions can benefit their local community. With the help of Kids Voting USA, Doubletree developed activities that introduce students to the ideas of active citizenship and democracy and demonstrate the importance of every vote in an election. Students also participated in class discussions about community and service group “candidates” they would like to recognize with a caring gesture.

Kids Voting USA is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that teaches students about the concepts of citizenship, civic responsibility, democracy and the importance of political participation.

“It’s wonderful our work with the Doubletree Teaching Kids to CARE program has been so successful,” said Christopher E. Heller, president and CEO, Kids Voting USA. “Our goal is to reach kids with the important message about the value of each vote, and we’ve extended our reach to more than a hundred communities and thousands of kids through this unique educational initiative.”

The need for programs like Teaching Kids to CARE was underscored by the “Caring About America” survey, conducted last year by Kelton Research on behalf of Doubletree Hotels, which found that nearly 60 percent of American parents surveyed think community service should be emphasized as much or more than traditional subjects in their children’s school.

However, two findings from the survey indicate difficulties in teaching these lessons. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of child respondents say parents are their primary teachers when it comes to social responsibility, however approximately one third (29 percent) of those parents say they’re financially strained or too busy to participate in community service activities with their kids.

For more information about the Doubletree Teaching Kids to CARE program and updates on this fall election education initiative, visit the program’s website at http://www.doubletree.com/teachingkidstocare.

About Doubletree Hotels

With more than 160 locations in the U.S., Canada and Latin America, Doubletree is the full-service hotel brand that provides all the amenities and services upscale travelers might expect, in a warm and welcoming environment. Other upscale hotels can sometimes feel a little too formal, impersonal, and big. Doubletree speaks to travelers who want all the perks of a full-service hotel in a more informal and relaxed setting. Everything we do — such as the way we have welcomed millions of delighted hotel guests with our warm, signature chocolate chip cookies at check-in — is inspired by a commitment to our CARE culture.

To make reservations at any Doubletree hotel, travelers can visit our website at http://www.doubletree.com, contact their preferred travel professional or call 1-800-222-TREE in the U.S. and Canada.

About KidsVoting USA

The Kids Voting USA program combines innovative classroom activities with an authentic voting experience to help students gain knowledge, skills and confidence to be active citizens. What makes the program truly unique is that students have the opportunity to cast a Kids Voting ballot on Election Day, voting on the same candidates and issues as the adults.

For more information, visit http://www.kidsvotingusa.com

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CONTACT:

Doubletree Media Relations

Thomas Wingham

310-205-4545

or

Jeanne Datz

310-205-4545

http://www.hiltonworldwide.com

or

Kids Voting USA

Paula Case

480-921-3727

or

Lagrant Communications

Manuel Montano

323-469-8680 ext. 233

Children Across America Hold National Vote and Elect the Military