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February 27, 2003  
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Children, Parents, Caring Communities Lose a Good Neighbor

WASHINGTON - Children's Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman today mourned the loss of Fred Rogers, highlighting his inspirational message that each child is special. An ordained Presbyterian minister, Fred Rogers was one of the most recognizable and beloved figures on television. He delivered nurturing lessons of self discovery and development to young children for more than 30 years. Careful to never call his programs "shows," Rogers maintained he was doing minister's work to a congregation of children through television.

"Was there ever a time when a grown-up stood for you and helped you feel you really counted for something special? We don't forget moments like that. Our children won't forget either," said Rogers in a June 1996 public service announcement for the Children's Defense Fund. "Everyone was a child one time. We really know what children need. Let's make the world a caring place for them. Let's stand for them."

Edelman, who stood with Rogers to create a country where parents, congregations and communities work together to truly Leave No Child Behind, noted that although we all lost a good neighbor, his spirit is eternal.

"For decades, Fred Rogers has offered children a neighborhood where they feel valued. He understood that children don't come in pieces and inspired communities to provide them the best opportunities for a bright future. He spoke directly to generations of children that listened," said Edelman. "Children, parents and caring communities across the country lost a good neighbor today and I lost a dear friend. His life's message will live on with his inspirational spirit."

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The mission of the Children's Defense Fund is to Leave No Child Behind and to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. CDF provides a strong, effective voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby, or speak for themselves. We pay particular attention to the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities. CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investment before they get sick, into trouble, drop out of school, or suffer family breakdown. CDF began in 1973 and is a private, nonprofit organization supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations. We have never taken government funds.


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