Tag Archives: Partnership

School District of Superior Expands Parent Notification Program Through SchoolMessenger Partnership

Superior, WI, and Santa Cruz, CA (PRWEB) September 4, 2007

The School District of Superior today announced that it has expanded its parent notification program for the 2007-2008 school year. The district’s goals are two-fold: To reach families quickly and effectively in the event of an emergency and to improve the overall quality and frequency of communications between its schools and the community.

By partnering with SchoolMessenger, a leading U.S. parental notification company, the district has expanded a pilot program that was put in place and tested in April. The new service allows the district to communicate quickly and effectively with parents, day or night, in any language using voice messages or email.

If an emergency occurs on one of its eight school campuses, massive calling capabilities are now in place to enable thousands of messages to be placed in a matter of minutes. For more routine attendance alerts and community outreach, school or district officials simply access a Web-based system or call a toll-free number to send families any number of personalized messages or reminders throughout the school year.

“We want the community to know that we are taking proactive measures to improve the flow of communication between our schools and home,” said Jay Mitchell, superintendent of the School District of Superior. “Studies show that when notification solutions are used in schools, parents feel more involved in their child’s education, they report improved peace of mind and attendance rates increase. In today’s connected world, parents have 24/7 access to news and information, and they expect nothing less from their local schools.”

As students bring Emergency Contact forms home this Fall, parents are encouraged to review them carefully to be sure all telephone and email information is up to date and accurate. Each family receives two emergency contacts that will be notified with school activities and alerts. Database records for each of its nearly 5,000 students are automatically, regularly updated so that if an incident occurs, the district is always emergency-ready. If at any time contact information within a family changes, parents are asked to notify the school immediately so that records can be updated.

“We want to applaud the district’s success in creating an organized, strategic program that places a clear priority on parent communications,” said Jim Duggan, Northern Regional Director for SchoolMessenger, a division of Reliance Communications. “By leveraging our notification service, which is designed exclusively for K-12 use, school administrators will save countless hours of staff time when communicating ongoing, routine alerts and events. In addition, if an emergency occurs, district officials can deliver a clear message quickly and reliably to provide valuable insight on the situation, and to dispel the spread of misinformation.”

The district’s 2007-2008 notification plan includes the following schools: Bryant Elementary, Cooper Elementary, Four Corners Elementary, Great Lakes Elementary, Lake Superior Elementary, Northern Lights Elementary, Superior Middle School and Superior High School. All personal information shared between families and the district will remain private and is protected by multiple layers of data encryption, firewalls and other security measures.

About SchoolMessenger

SchoolMessenger, a division of Reliance Communications, Inc., is a leading provider of parent notification solutions for education. Its family of products, which include desktop, server and hosted solutions, are in use in more than 6,000 districts and schools, connecting educators with millions of parents everyday. Founded in 1999, the privately-funded company is headquartered in Santa Cruz, California. For information, visit http://www.schoolmessenger.com.

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WOOGI WORLD Upgrades Security for Children Through Partnership with eGuardian

Castro Valley, CA (PRWEB) April 30, 2008

Children’s Way Foundation (the non-profit developer of the children’s virtual world, Woogi World, (http://www.woogiworld.com) and eGuardian (a children’s online protection company) are partnering to lead the way in creating the safest virtual world for children K-6 worldwide.

eGuardian is the only online verification service that offers a foolproof method for verifying the age of children. The company’s technology works with parental controls, site blockers and access restrictors, while providing a deeper layer of protection and a safer environment.

“We are proud to work with premier partners like Woogi World, and supply them with the information they need to create an online community that expands what is possible for kids, while providing parents with peace of mind,” said eGuardian CEO Ron Zayas. “Through the efforts of eGuardian and our partners, Web, email and instant messaging can be made safe, predator-free and appropriate for children of every age.”

While parents and educators have always appreciated the fact that their children and students were engaging in meaningful activities when on Woogi World, with eGuardian they can now rest assured they’re doing so ONLY with children of the appropriate age–dangerous adults or malicious content simply cannot get through to Woogi World.

“The need to certify every social networking audience, no matter the site, is becoming more and more crucial. In keeping with our priority to ensure Woogi World is the safest children’s virtual world available, it makes great sense to partner with eGuardian–the best online protection available,” said Scott Dow, CEO of Children’s Way.

“It’s been well established that children can concentrate and learn far better in an environment where they feel safe. The assurance eGuardian gives Woogi World users, in terms of certifying that every Woogi spending time in Woogi World is indeed a CHILD, creates a comfort and confidence level that parents respect, children benefit from, and adds to the value of an already amazing site,” said Dr. Kimberly Young, CW Academic Advisory Board member.

About eGuardian:

The eGuardian mission is to protect children online from inappropriate content and solicitation, resulting in safe learning and exploring on the Internet. Through partnerships with prominent web sites eGuardian creates an environment that allows children to learn and communicate without the fear of being solicited by predatory adults or being exposed to adult content. For more information, call 877-EGUARD-1, or visit eGuardian at http://www.eguardian.com

About Children’s Way:

CW Foundation/Woogi World Program is a nat’l, non-profit organization that uses their safe and engaging website, http://www.woogiworld.com, to help elementary children worldwide become responsible Internet users and goodwill ambassadors (becoming good influences in their homes, schools, and communities), ultimately leading out in the global “woogi” phenomenon of kids doing good. Offices: Castro Valley, CA; Provo, UT; Washington, D.C. Go to http://www.childrensway.com or http://www.woogiworld.com for more information. Contact: Eric Clare (510-593-0574, ericc @ childrensway.com).

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Parature Announces Integration Partnership with Crisp Thinking


Vienna, VA (Vocus) June 10, 2008

Parature, the global leader in on-demand customer service software, announced today an integration partnership with Crisp Thinking, the online child specialists and provider of NetModerator and IMSafer. Crisp Thinking’s NetModerator software is fully integrated with Parature Customer Service software, providing organizations with the ability to track online gaming and social networking interactions to prevent online abuse, inappropriate activity and child related bullying. The integration of these world-class technologies provides interactive media, online gaming, and virtual worlds with the most effective software applications in the industry to keep children safe.

“As the global leader in on-demand customer service software, we are delighted to announce this partnership with Crisp Thinking,” stated Duke Chung, Parature CEO and President. “Parature is the fastest growing customer service and support software company in the United States, and integration partnerships are a natural progression of our growth plans. This relationship will help us to expand our integration and service capabilities to continue setting the standard for support teams worldwide, providing the smartest, most efficient way for organizations to support their customers and to demonstrate our commitment in corporate responsibility to help maintain a safe online environment for children.”

Parature enables any organization to fundamentally change the way they support their customers through its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery and integrated, intuitive design that empowers organizations to better and more efficiently serve, support, engage with and retain customers in today’s Web world. The seamlessly integrated suite of Parature modules allows organizations to effectively manage all of their support needs. This dynamic, on-demand software enables organizations to get up and running quickly, easily and efficiently.

Parature and Crisp Thinking have recently worked on a joint online gaming project with a large gaming and media conglomerate. “By bringing NetModerator and Parature’s world class customer service software together, we’re providing the online world the most effective software applications in the industry to keep children safe. Parature is an example in corporate responsibility and this is exemplified by their work with us to protect children,” said Andrew Lintell, CEO of Crisp Thinking.

Parature, Inc.

Parature, the leader in on-demand customer service software, makes it possible for any business to leverage the Internet to provide outstanding customer service. The company’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery and integrated, intuitive design enables organizations to better and more efficiently serve, support, engage with and retain customers in today’s Web world. Founded in 2000, Parature received the 2007 Product of the Year Award from Customer Interaction Solutions magazine and has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. For the past three consecutive years Parature has been on the Washington Business Journal’s list of Best Places to Work. Headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, Parature is at work in organizations of all types and sizes, and helps support more than 10 million end users worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.parature.com.

About Crisp Thinking:

With offices in Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK and Beaverton, Oregon, US, Crisp offers a range of child protection solutions for home Internet users, Internet Service Providers and Virtual Worlds/Social Networks. Crisp has responsible and specialist knowledge of the issues surrounding online child safety which address the increasingly complex tactics of abusers and bullies. For more information, please visit us online at http://www.crispthinking.com.

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Parature Announces Integration Partnership with Metaverse Mod Squad


Vienna, VA (Vocus) September 18, 2008

Parature, the global leader in on-demand customer service software, today announced an integration partnership with Metaverse Mod Squad, the premier avatar staffing firm for virtual worlds and online communities. With Parature’s dynamic and intuitive software, Metaverse Mod Squad’s moderators and customer service teams, which work with brands like Warner Bros., Harry Potter, and The CW Network, will more effectively serve and support the residents of virtual worlds.

“As the global leader in on-demand customer service software, we are delighted to announce this partnership with the top-notch moderators and support teams of Metaverse Mod Squad,” said Chuck Coulson, Parature Vice President of Business Development. “Parature is the fastest growing customer service and support software company in the United States, and this integration partnership opens even more doors and expands our presence in virtual worlds, online communities, and the gaming industry as a whole.”

Parature enables any organization to fundamentally change the way they support their customers through its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery and integrated, intuitive design that empowers organizations to better and more efficiently serve, support, engage with and retain customers in today’s Web world. The seamlessly integrated suite of Parature modules allows organizations to effectively manage all of their support needs. This dynamic, on-demand software enables organizations to get up and running quickly, easily and efficiently.

“Our mission is to make the experiences in online communities safe, exciting, and fun,” said Amy Pritchard, Metaverse Mod Squad CEO. “As brands continue to make these online communities the focal point of their web presence, customer service has evolved into a natural part of our job. Parature’s software will make our support teams that much more organized, efficient, and effective.”

Parature, Inc.

Parature, the leader in on-demand customer service software, makes it possible for any business to leverage the Internet to provide outstanding customer service. The company’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery and integrated, intuitive design enables organizations to better and more efficiently serve, support, engage with and retain customers in today’s Web world. Founded in 2000, Parature received the 2007 Product of the Year Award from Customer Interaction Solutions magazine and has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. For the past three consecutive years Parature has been on the Washington Business Journal’s list of Best Places to Work. Headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, Parature is at work in organizations of all types and sizes, and helps support more than 10 million end users worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.parature.com.

Metaverse Mod Squad, Inc.

Metaverse Mod Squad avatars and the people behind them protect the safety of children, service customers, entertain audiences, and sell real world products in virtual worlds. From moderators to sales staff, and event planners to customer support teams, the company works with marquee brands around the world to create exciting, safe, and profitable virtual world experiences. It also provides moderation and content management for traditional internet websites, and high-level consulting for online child safety, moderation, community experience, and design. For more information, visit http://www.metaversemodsquad.com.

Media Contacts:

Dayna Tenorio

(571) 730-6241

Michael H. Pinkerton

Metaverse Mod Squad, Inc.

(504) 208-7119

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Unum Expands Partnership with Ceridian to Launch an Enhanced Free EAP for its Group Disability Clients in U.K.

Minneapolis (PRWEB) October 22, 2008

Unum (NYSE: UNM) , the leading disability insurer in the U.S. and U.K., has expanded its partnership with Ceridian, one of the worlds largest providers of human resource services, to launch an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in the United Kingdom. The new service will be offered under the name Unum LifeWorks and cover all employers and employees insured by Unum Group Income Protection (GIP) policies.

Importantly for employers, the program raises the bar in the provision of EAPs in the U.K. by providing access for employers to online and telephone legal and employment help lines for managers and supervisors.

The program is based on a best practice EAP service design which has worked extremely well for Unum and Ceridian in the United States. Unum US and Ceridian have been partnering since 1992 and offer a similar integrated EAP and work-life service to over 39,000 customers. Unums work-life balance EAP in the U.S. offers many modes of access to the service including online, face-to-face and telephonic to accommodate generational preferences and convenience. Employees can receive consultation and assistance with issues such as selecting a child care agency, parenting skills, elder concerns, financial worries, interpersonal problems at work, grief and relationship concerns just to name a few.

The U.K. program, which will begin in November 2008, has been specifically designed to provide a unique range of services that will benefit both employees and employers by aiding them with potentially stressful situations and issues. Stress-related illness is becoming increasingly prevalent amongst workers in the U.K. and offering an EAP will allow employees to seek advice at an early stage, before issues may start to impact on their health and work performance.

The launch comes on the heels of new research1 from Unum, which reveals that over half (51%) of all U.K. workers believe that their work has been impacted over the past two years due to stresses and worries.

The most common stresses cited by workers were worrying about personal health issues (38% of respondents) or other personal issues (37%), followed by stress due to the cost of living or not being able to pay off debts (32% and 25% respectively).

The research also revealed that work issues and personal issues are likely to have the greatest impact on an employees work performance; 72% and 71%, respectively of respondents who admitted that their work had been greatly affected by stresses and worries in the past two years cited these problems. These are followed by stress due to personal health issues (66%) and the cost of living (57%).

As our research shows, personal and work issues can have a significant impact on an employees ability to perform their role at work, said Wojciech Dochan, Head of Commercial Marketing at Unum UK, This can result in unnecessary levels of stress, which in turn can impact upon an employees health.

Unum LifeWorks will add value to our current GIP offering by not only helping both employees and employers to resolve potentially stressful and complicated personal and work-related situations at the earliest stage possible, but also supporting organizational management in the areas of legal and employment information. We are committed at Unum to supporting U.K. businesses as much as possible through the introduction of this new service.

Jeremy Campbell, director of Ceridian HRO sales, said: We are delighted to be working with Unum to provide well-being services to their policy holders. It is unrealistic to expect employees to leave personal issues at home, but by the same standard, with todays PDA and Blackberry culture work rarely stops when you leave the office. Unum LifeWorks provides guidance to individuals on a range of life issues, whilst also advising businesses on how best to support their employees with balancing work and life.

As well as providing emotional support from qualified counselors and support for everyday issues, users can benefit from access to a range of health, educational/career development and debt/financial specialists. In addition, the Unum LifeWorks Online website offers practical resources to enable users to be proactive and tackle their concerns before they impact on work and personal life.

Further services available for U.K. employees include access to telephone and face-to-face counseling, matched referrals for child and elder care and tips and advice online on a wide range of subjects. This is reinforced with printed materials and CDs which can be sent to employees homes, at their request, on topics that are relevant to them.

(1) Independent research agency ICM interviewed a random sample of 2092 U.K. adults aged 18+ from its online panel between 22nd-25th August 2008. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all U. K. adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at http://www.icmresearch.co.uk

About Unum

Unum (http://www.unum.com) is one of the leading providers of employee benefits products and services, and the largest provider of group and individual disability income protection insurance in the United States and the United Kingdom. Through its subsidiaries, Unum paid more than $ 6 billion in total benefits to customers in 2007.

About Ceridian

Ceridian is a business services company that helps its customers maximize the power of their people, lower their costs and focus on what they do best. Globally, the company serves more than 25 million employees with a range of HR, payroll, Employee Assistance Programs and funds transfer services, making it one of the few providers delivering services both locally and internationally.

For more information visit http://www.ceridian.co.uk or http://www.ceridian.com

CONTACTS:

John Hutson

Unum UK Head of Public Relations

John.Hutson@unum.co.uk

(011) 44 1306 873 641

MC (Mary Clarke) Guenther

Unum US Director of Corporate Communications

Mguenther@unum.com

Toll free: (866) 759 8686

Cindy Matalamaki

Ceridian LifeWorks Marketing Manager

cindy.matalamaki@ceridian.com

(952) 853-4291

InstantAmber Announces Strategic Partnership with KinderVision

Nashville, TN (PRWEB) April 20, 2009

InstantAmber http://instantamber.com is proud to announce its new partnership with KinderVision http://www.kindervision.org, a non-profit organization. The partnership launched on March 15, 2009. InstantAmber is supporting KinderVision’s efforts to inform parents and children of all ages about proper child safety practices.

InstantAmber is an online data registry that enables law enforcement to retrieve critical data and photos in the event of a missing child emergency. It helps ensure that parents are prepared for the unthinkable. KinderVision provides child safety education to parents, law enforcement, and schools to prevent abduction and sexual exploitation.

“InstantAmber is honored to accept KinderVision’s invitation to form a partnership, which will make a difference in the lives of children and their families. For nearly 20 years, KinderVision has been teaching children of all ages how to recognize and then protect themselves from danger. Additionally, KinderVision has raised awareness in our national consciousness about the necessity of preventing abduction and sexual exploitation of children. InstantAmber, a service that will help parents and law enforcement in the successful recovery of missing children, shares KinderVision’s vision and hopes to be an asset to its mission.” – Matt Berman, Founder, InstantAmber

“InstantAmber provides families with the last piece of the puzzle in doing as much as possible for their children in the event they become lost or missing. InstantAmber’s breakthrough technology and educational initiatives provide parents with the most pro-active approach to preparedness and the peace of mind that they have done everything possible to protect their children.” – Douglas Sebastian, Founder, KinderVision

About KinderVision:

KinderVision, the nation’s oldest and largest child safety education program and a 501

Partnership Taps into Demand for Tax Beneficial Savings


Harrogate (PRWEB) August 27, 2009

Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank have launched a new tax exempt savings plan in partnership with http://www.engagemutual.com(Engage Mutual Assurance).

The Vision Tax Exempt Savings Plan takes advantage of the government’s special tax exempt friendly society savings allowance, allowing UK savers a tax benefit when saving over a minimum 10 year period. This means that any growth in their savings is tax exempt. The plan also provides a tax free lump sum at the end of the saving term.

Clydesdale and Yorkshire’s 340 branch network will market the plan to customers seeking a tax favoured longer term savings vehicle in addition to their ISA allowance. The plan can also be purchased as a child’s savings plan, providing a similar tax advantage on any savings’ growth.

Engage Mutual’s chief executive, Andrew Haigh, sees it as an opportunity to increase share of the UK savings market for both partners, and commented:

“Initially through http://www.ybonline.co.uk/(Yorkshire Bank’s) and http://www.cbonline.co.uk/(Clydesdale Bank’s) strong branch networks, and subsequently online, we will be seeking to raise awareness of the benefits of tax exempt saving – among families who need their savings to stretch that bit further and work that bit harder, and with those who are seeking a vehicle for long term saving. “

The new agreement builds on a highly successful two year distribution partnership for the http://www.engagemutual.com/over-50s-life-insurance.aspx?cmpid=WOLLink2(engage Guaranteed 50 Plus Life Cover).

Engage Mutual is a family-oriented modern mutual and friendly society, providing products that help families plan to meet their future financial needs.

The Vision Tax Exempt Savings Plan seeks to tap into a renewed consumer appetite for long term saving, providing a chance to invest with an element of protection. The plan promises a guaranteed minimum cash lump sum at the end of the payment term, provided all due premiums have been paid, the plan reaches the end of its term and is cashed in within 28 days.

1. Any reference to taxation is based on our understanding of HM Revenue & Customs Practice. The tax treatment of the plan could change. There may be tax liabilities if all payments have not been made to the plan.

2. the Vision Tax Exempt Savings Plan invests in a with profits fund. The performance of the investment is not guaranteed, A market value reduction may be applied when a policy is cashed in. Normally this is applied when there has been a large or ongoing fall in stock markets or when investment returns are low over a long period. This would reduce the payout you would receive.

3. If you close your plan outside of the guarantee period, you may get back less than you paid in. The minimum payout guarantee will not apply if payments are missed or stopped. If you cash in before you pay one year’s premiums, you will not get anything back. Inflation will reduce what you can buy in the future with the lump sum. Our charges may increase.

About Clydesdale Bank

Clydesdale Bank was established in 1838 in Glasgow and has a proud history of innovation and support for Scottish industry and communities. With over 150 retail branches and a network of Financial Solutions Centres, Clydesdale is one of Scotland’s largest banks. The Bank is currently expanding its operations into the South of England with its innovative Financial Solutions Centres, offering customers a highly integrated business and private banking service. Clydesdale Bank was recently voted the ‘Best Business Bank’ in Scotland, by the Forum of Private Business.

In 1987, Clydesdale Bank PLC became a member of National Australia Bank Group.

About Yorkshire Bank

Yorkshire Bank was founded in 1859 in Halifax, West Yorkshire. Today, the Bank has almost 200 branches, a strong personal customer base and a growing business capability in the North of England and the Midlands. In 2006, Yorkshire Bank was voted the UK’s ‘Best Business Bank’ by the Forum of Private Business.

Yorkshire Bank is a trading name of Clydesdale Bank plc, which is a subsidiary of the National Australia Bank Group of companies. Yorkshire Bank joined the Group in 1990. Yorkshire Bank is a trading name of Clydesdale Bank PLC which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Clydesdale Bank PLC Registered in Scotland Number SC001111. Registered Office: 30 St Vincent Place, Glasgow G1 2HL.

engage Mutual Assurance can be contacted on 0800 169 4321 or visit engagemutual.com

The information in this press release is intended solely for journalists and should not be relied upon by private investors or any other persons to make financial decisions.

Kathryn McLaughlin

engage Mutual Assurance

01423 855245

NOTES TO EDITORS

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Tennessee PTA and InstantAmber Launch Online Child Safety Partnership


Nashville, TN (PRWEB) August 31, 2010

InstantAmber, the leader in online child safety, provides a unique service that allows parents to upload and safely store their children’s photos and identifying data so that in the event of a missing child emergency, they are prepared to assist law enforcement in the safe return of their child.

The Tennessee PTA Mission is clear:

Be a Powerful Voice for All Children

Be a Relevant Resource for Families and Communities

Advocate for the Education and Well-Being of Every Child

InstantAmber shares this mission, speaking out on issues that affect children and families, serving as an information resource and campaigning for the safety and well-being of every child.

“The Tennessee PTA is proud to partner with InstantAmber in its efforts to keep Tennessee school children and families safe, educated, and prepared in the event of a missing child emergency. The health and welfare of our children is a priority for both Tennessee PTA and InstantAmber. InstantAmber’s effective, proactive and inexpensive service is a great tool for families to use in protecting the safety of their children.” Kathy Patty, President, Tennessee PTA

How The Program Works:

The Parent goes to http://www.InstantAmber.com/tnpta, selects their child’s school and joins InstantAmber

In the case of a missing child emergency, the Parent calls 9-1-1

The Parent gives the officer their email address and law enforcement password

Law enforcement can instantly access the information and photos it needs to find the child

InstantAmber will notify its partners, proactively post emergency information on its website, and broadcast alerts and updates on its social networks

Matt Berman, President of InstantAmber, adds Our passion for and commitment to the children of Tennessee is best expressed through this programs significant subsidies as well as complimentary memberships for economically disadvantaged families. My hope is that this partnership will encourage every family in Tennessee to protect their children by enrolling in InstantAmber, thereby increasing the safety of the children in our State.

For State PTAs, InstantAmber Offers:

Deep Discounts for PTA Members

Significant Donations Back to Local PTAs

Turnkey Fundraising Program focused on the Health and Welfare of Children

About InstantAmber

InstantAmber (http://www.instantamber.com) is a Nashville, TN based service that enables law enforcement to retrieve critical information and photos in the event of a missing child emergency. Established in 2008, InstantAmber, a vital online service, is creating a community through targeted business and philanthropic partnerships for the safety and protection of children across the United States.

About Tennessee PTA

Tennessee PTA (http://www.tnpta.org) is a non-profit, all volunteer, independent, statewide organization comprised of thousands of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools.

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Texas Partnership for Children in Nature Calls For Happier, Healthier, Smarter Kids; Statewide Conference Dec. 3-4 to Probe Problems, Solutions

Austin, TX (PRWEB) November 23, 2010

Go outside and play. How many times did todays parents hear that familiar phrase while growing up? Studies say kids today dont hear it enough, and that its time for a change.

Mobile devices and video games have all but replaced the days of playing Kick the Can on neighborhood streets with friends, or just hanging out at a park all day. In fact, kids today spend just four to seven minutes outside each day in unstructured outdoor play (like climbing trees), yet more than seven hours each day in front of an electronic screen.

If we dont address this issue today, then what were facing in the next generation is that children will have a much shorter life span than their parents,” said Dr. Kimberly Avila Edwards, a pediatrician at the Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity at Dell Childrens Medical Center of Central Texas and chair of the Texas Pediatric Society obesity committee.

Avilas talking about the link between childhood obesity and sedentary indoor lifestyles. Shes part of a growing chorus of expert voices from diverse disciplines, all urging steps to reconnect kids and families with nature and the outdoors.

The Texas Partnership for Children in Nature will host a conference to address the problem Dec. 3-4 in Austin. The purpose is to present the partnerships strategic plan to educators, conservationists, health practitioners, policymakers and others who care about the issue and can work to implement the plan in their communities.

The Austin conference is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Winkler Family Foundation. Friday, the public is welcome to join from 8 am to 3 pm, to see the plan presented, for the cost of lunch, $ 11. See the conference website for the complete agenda and list of speakers and topics. Please see details, agenda, and access registration at http://www.texaschildreninnature.org.

Conference speakers include Carter Smith, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director; Joe Frost, Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin professor emeritus; Kevin Coyle, National Wildlife Federation vice president of education; Elizabeth Goodenough, Ph.D., creator of the PBS documentary Where Do the Children Play?; and Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas vice president and chief medical officer and former Texas Department of State Health Services executive director.

As the trend away from outdoor play and learning deepens, we are witnessing sobering consequences for childrens health and well-being, said TPWDs Smith. Additionally, this youngest generation is missing out on critical experiences that lay the foundation for future stewardship of our natural resources.

The good news: experts say the problem is solvable. Unlike complex environmental or economic problems, getting families and children back to nature is relatively straightforward and inexpensive. We can reverse this trend, Smith said. We can restore our childrens well-being and their relationship with Texass rich natural and cultural heritage.

The partnerships roots trace to fall 2009, when a bi-partisan group of Texas legislators asked TPWD, the Texas Education Agency, Texas Department of State Health Services and Texas Department of Agriculture to form a public-private partnership and develop a strategic plan. Over 80 professionals answered the call, including representatives from state and federal agencies, non-profits, businesses, and health, education, natural resource and community organizations.

Their discoveries include some sobering statistics: