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'7 Days Across America' Campaign Honors Teens Making a Difference in Their Communities

SEARCY, Ark., Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Fourteen cities. Seven days. One movement. The Encouragement Foundation will celebrate this year's National Day of Encouragement with the first ever "7 Days Across America" campaign showcasing the encouraging actions of today's youth. The tour will launch September 5 in San Francisco and conclude with the selection of the winner of a $5,000 college scholarship and commemoration of the third annual National Day of Encouragement in New York City on September 12.

"'7 Days Across America' was created to challenge the negative stereotype of teenagers today," said Andrew Baker, executive director of the Encouragement Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that raises awareness about the benefits of encouraging others. "The campaign will honor teenagers who are positive influences. We hope their stories of generosity, sacrifice, and compassion will motivate others to become lights of encouragement by getting involved in their own schools and communities."

The movement will visit 14 U.S. cities in seven days and spotlight stories of young people who are striving to make a difference in the world. Thus far, among the youth involved are Ashlee Smith (10) of Reno, NV, who founded Ashlee's Toy Closet which collects toys, books and clothes and donates them to children who have lost their homes by fire, natural disaster or economic crisis; Fernandez-Han (15), of Houston, TX, who developed the VERSATILE system that treats waste, fights greenhouse gases and produces food, fuel and oxygen; and Vinay Trevedi (18), of Philadelphia, who honored his grandfather by founding Senior Link, an organization through which young people help residents of senior homes feel more connected to society by teaching them the skills necessary to use computers and the Internet.

The tour includes stops in San Francisco, CA (September 5); Reno, NV (September 5); Phoenix, AZ (September 6); Denver, CO (September 6); Oklahoma City, OK (September 7); Houston, TX (September 7); Dallas, TX (September 8); Little Rock, AR (September 8); Chicago, IL (September 9); Detroit, MI (September 9); Nashville, TN (September 10); Atlanta, GA (September 10); Philadelphia, PA (September 11), and New York City (local event September 11, national celebration, September 12). Local events will be held at local attractions compliments of CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inc., and other popular locations and will feature an awards ceremony and reception for the local youth.

Inspiring stories will be posted at each day and the public will be encouraged to vote for the youth that most inspires them. Finalists will be flown to New York for the finale, compliments of Southwest Airlines.

The young person chosen as most encouraging and inspiring will receive a scholarship awarded by a panel of judges at the National Day of Encouragement celebration at Town Hall Theater in New York City. The September 12 celebration will also include the premiere of "One Drop," a documentary created by a group of teenagers that illustrates the impact of clean water on the lives of people around the world, created by Wishing Well Water for the World, an organization aiming to provide clean water to developing nations.

Conceptualized in June, 2007 by a group of students at the National Leadership Forum, an experiential leadership camp for teenagers from around the country, at Harding University in Searcy, AR, the National Day of Encouragement works to remedy the discouragement "epidemic" prevalent in schools and in society, which, according to the teens, can be the root of serious problems, including drugs and alcohol. The students unanimously agreed that a day set aside to encourage others would be the first step to combating discouragement and making the world a better place. For more information on "7 Days Across America" and the National Day of Encouragement, see


The Encouragement Foundation exists to raise awareness about the benefits of encouraging others. The foundation provides tools and resources to create opportunities to encourage. The foundation also strives to challenge people of all ages to make encouraging others part of their daily lives. For more information, visit


After 38 years of service, Southwest Airlines, the nation's leading low-fare carrier, continues to differentiate itself from other airlines--offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. The first two checked bags fly for free (size and weight limits apply), there are no fees for a window or aisle seat, and, as always, snacks, sodas, and smiles are all complimentary!

Southwest Airlines is the most productive airline in the sky and offers Customers a comfortable traveling experience. Southwest offers all premium leather seats and plenty of legroom with a young all-Boeing 737 fleet. Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) currently serves 67 cities in 34 states with service to Milwaukee starting Nov. 1. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,300 flights a day and has more than 35,000 employees system-wide.


CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inc., formerly CNL Income Properties, Inc., is a real estate investment trust that owns a portfolio of 116 properties in the United States and Canada in the lifestyle sector. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., CNL Lifestyle Properties specializes in the acquisition of ski and mountain lifestyle, attractions, golf and other lifestyle assets. For more information, visit

Editor's note: B-roll and interviews with youth and National Day of Encouragement leadership are available.

SOURCE The Encouragement Foundation
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