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Youth advocate for affordable housing during Habitat for Humanity’s Act! Speak! Build! Week

AMERICUS, Ga. (April 16, 2007) — More than 220 youth groups will raise their voices and coordinate a weeklong advocacy campaign as participants in Habitat for Humanity International’s Act! Speak! Build! Week 2007. From April 16 to April 22, youth will host daily activities in their respective communities to highlight the need to eliminate substandard housing conditions and make affordable housing possible with families in need.

Since 2002, participants in this annual, student-initiated campaign have hosted speakers, organized sit-ins, written articles and spoken at government meetings. As part of this year’s theme, “What a Difference a Home Makes,” groups are asked to organize one of four activities — to speak to elementary students, to initiate a letter writing campaign or to host a prayer vigil or public awareness walk/rally — all in an effort to present a unified voice.

“In the past, student groups have done an excellent job raising awareness about poverty housing issues,” said Sarah Smith, Youth Programs coordinator for Habitat for Humanity International. “This year, we hope to take it a step further by encouraging the youth groups to actively participate in advocacy initiatives on behalf of the issues surrounding housing.”

To further this advocacy goal, new to this year’s program is a video competition. Youth, ages 18 to 25, are invited to submit entries that focus on maintaining national and community service programs, increasing economic opportunities for women living in poverty or increasing poverty-focused development assistance. Announced at the end of Act! Speak! Build! Week, winners will be awarded scholarships toward a Habitat Global Village trip or a Habitat Collegiate Challenge trip.

Outside of the United States, advocacy events will be held in Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Hong Kong, Gabon and Peru.

Act! Speak! Build! Week is one of the many methods Habitat’s Youth Programs department uses to engage youth around the world in Habitat’s mission to provide simple, decent homes. State Farm® is the 2007 underwriter for Habitat’s Youth Programs department.

About State Farm
State Farm® insures more cars than any other insurer in North America and is the leading U.S. home insurer. State Farm’s 17,000 agents and 68,000 employees serve more than 75 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and more than 1.6 million bank accounts. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No.22 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit statefarm.com® or in Canada statefarm.ca®.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in Americus, Ga., in 1976, Habitat has built more than 225,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org.