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Sons of Italy® Launches National Adopt-A-School Italian Language Campaign

For Immediate Release:

WASHINGTON, January 21, 2003 The Order Sons of Italy in America® is launching a new "Adopt-A-School Program," a national initiative to start and sustain Italian language courses in American schools and universities. The program was requested of OSIA by the government of Italy.

OSIA is urging all its chapters, members and supporters coast to coast to assist by working with their local school principals and boards, teachers, students and parents to offer Italian language courses. OSIA chapters are also being encouraged to provide scholarships for Italian language students and purchase Italian textbooks, tapes, videos and other necessary materials to donate to their schools.

"OSIA's efforts toward language promotion are at the forefront of the cultural movement to preserve our Italian American roots," said Robert Messa, OSIA national president. "Learning Italian is one of the best ways young Italian Americans can discover their heritage and those not of Italian descent can learn about the culture of the nation's fifth-largest ethnic group."

OSIA members and non-members alike who are interested in starting or enhancing an Italian language program can send for the free how-to kit "Start Italian in Your School!" to guide them in their efforts. The kit contains step-by-step instructions on how to lobby school officials, survey students and find funding.

To receive a kit, send a large (9 x 12), self-addressed envelope with $1.50 in stamps to: Italian Language Kit, OSIA, 219 E St. NE, Washington, DC 20002. The kit can also be downloaded from the OSIA Web site at http://www.osia.org/public/YISD/COPILAS_kit.pdf.

Contact Michael Greto, OSIA director of youth and Italian studies, at 202/547-2900 or mgreto@osia.org for more information or to obtain the free language kit.

Established in 1905, OSIA is the oldest and largest national organization in the United States for men and women of Italian heritage. Today, it has more than 575,000 members and supporters and a network of 700 chapters coast to coast. OSIA works at the community, national and international level to promote the heritage and culture of an estimated 26 million Italian Americans, the nation's fifth largest ethnic group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.