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Willie Macc named National Spokesperson for Living Advantage, Inc.

02-02-2009 02:30 PM CET | Associations & Organizations

Press release from: Charles Belk Management

/ PR Agency: Charles Belk Entertainment
Willie Macc - National Spokesperson, Living Advantage, Inc

Willie Macc - National Spokesperson, Living Advantage, Inc

Los Angeles -- Living Advantage, Inc. (livingadvantageinc.org) announced the launch of the pilot for its Virtual Assisted Living Education (V.A.L.E.) Program. This new, online application, allows the organization to harness today’s technology, in an innovative and progressive approach to helping the lives of foster youth. The pilot program will target 500 foster youth in Los Angeles County for participation. Participating foster youth will have access to a secure web site, www.myLAspace.org, that gathers and maintains their vital life documents, assists them with continuous education, independent living, job and medical resources.

To help launch this effort, newly named 2008 / 2009 National Spokesperson for Living Advantage, Inc, actor / entertainer Willie Macc (http://www.williemacc.com), will conduct various public appearances to help raise awareness of the plight of foster youth. "I was very, very blessed to have the presence of not just one parent at home, which is truly a blessing in itself, but both parents, and a large, loving family environment, complete with 4 younger brothers. When you start to think of how unfair and unfortunate it is that kids have to live without their parents, or sometimes being shuffled around from group home to foster home, and then to end up sometimes not having access to their vital life documents to, things I have always taken for granted, it makes you want to do something about it. The new V.A.L.E. Program being kicked off by Living Advantage will help out a lot of kids that otherwise might get lost in the system," said Willie Macc.

There are nearly 40,000 foster youth living under the auspices of the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, and this year alone 1,400 of them will have to leave the support of the foster care system forever. At the age of 18, their cases will be "terminated," and are forced out on to the streets with little life skills and no financial support, and many times without social security cards, birth certificates, California Identification cards or immunization documentation, rendering them completely unidentifiable. Under these conditions, these emancipated foster youth become vulnerable to committing theft, prostitution, drug trade and may subject themselves to abuse for survival. The V.A.L.E. Program will assist in getting medical services, youth in school and provide career opportunities. It will reduce the number of foster youth subjected to homelessness, incarceration, alcoholism and drug addition.

Believed to be the first non-military use of such technology, the V.A.L.E. Program is made possible through a secured web site developed by VisualConcept.com. "We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Los Angeles County of Education to immediately start servicing the teenagers facing termination, and we are anxious to get started. We are still seeking corporate sponsors and foundation grants to get the case workers hired and onboard to begin "V.A.L.E 500"," said Living Advantage Executive Director, Pamela R. Clay.”
"V.A.L.E. 500" is Living Advantage's pilot stage for the V.A.L.E. Program to help disclose any problems or inefficiencies in the process. Once the initial 500 foster youth are surveyed, registered, trained on the system and beginning to benefit from the program's resources. The program will be expanded and put into full operation. Following the success of V.A.L.E. 500, the next year will be used to expand beyond Los Angeles County into other parts of California and then to other national cities with high foster youth populations.

About Charles Belk Management
Charles Belk Management (www.charlesbelk.com) is a Los Angeles based entertainment agency that offers artist and film brand development & awareness and artist management. Services include a complete "branding experience" for independent films and up & coming and established recording artists, music producers, actors, models, comedians, directors, on-air personalities and professional athletes.

For more information, please contact:
Margaret Merriweather
Charles Belk Management
mmerriweather@charlesbelk.com
or call (323) 282-7878

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