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Contact: Decennial Media Relations
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"The Census Bureau counts everybody because everybody counts," Count von Count, one of "Sesame Street's" brightest stars, told students at Washington, D.C.'s Bruce-Monroe Elementary School today. The Count was accompanied by White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, Secretary of Commerce William M. Daley, District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and District of Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams.
"We are sending a message from "Sesame Street" to your street: we want every person -- every kid, every parent, every grandparent to be counted in Census 2000," said Podesta. "Getting our children to realize how important it is to be counted in the census is a direct means to communicate this message to their families."
The appearance by the children's TV personality serves to bring attention to the Census in Schools Program, which will culminate March 13-17, when every teacher in the country will be asked to teach a census lesson to their students. Teachers will use Census in Schools materials supplied to them by the Census Bureau. The materials include grade-level appropriate lessons to introduce students to Census 2000. So far, more than 1 million kits have been sent to educators across the country.
"The Census in Schools program provides a link between children and their parents," said Daley. "The census touches each of us. By sharing this message with their parents, children can help make Census 2000 the most complete and accurate census ever."
While mixed with light-hearted fun, Count von Count's visit underscored the uses of census data in determining political representation and in distributing about $185 billion annually.
"Just as when I was a second grader at Bruce-Monroe, the first and second graders assembled here today and across America are counting on their parents and everyone who receives a census questionnaire to complete it and mail it back," said Holmes Norton. "When you fill out your census forms," added Williams, "you are doing a service for our young people. You are ensuring that our city has enough classrooms, teachers and textbooks to educate our children."
The Census Bureau needs the help of local residents to conduct Census 2000. Job opportunities include census taker positions in communities and neighborhoods and office work. A large number of part-time positions are available. For more information on census jobs in your area, call toll-free 1-888-325-7733.
The Census Bureau guarantees that the answers given on census forms are kept strictly confidential. Information collected in Census 2000 will provide local area data needed for communities to receive federal program funds and for private sector and community planning.