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June 20, 2000

First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan Receives Community Service Award for Child Advocacy and Substance Abuse Prevention

SPRINGFIELD -– Illinois First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan today received the prestigious Paul Simon Community Service Award from the Illinois Coalition for Community Services for her work in the past 20 years on substance abuse prevention and advocacy for children.

"As an advocate of substance abuse prevention programs, I appreciate the accolades for my work with young people and adults, but it is the people on the front lines providing direct service who deserve the credit and our gratitude," said Mrs. Ryan. "I will continue to dedicate my life to helping people to protect themselves and their families from substance abuse," she added.

The Illinois Coalition for Community Services hosted the third annual Community Service Luncheon at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Springfield to recognize efforts throughout local communities to help families. This year’s conference theme, "Building Community," appropriately mirrors the national trend toward volunteerism, which seeks to encourage people to give of their time to help others in the nationwide community.

The First Lady has worked alongside her husband in public life for more than 20 years to fight substance abuse. The Lura Lynn Ryan Prevention Library is named after Illinois' First Lady in honor of her many years of dedicated work to promote prevention practices in the state and nationally.

The library is housed at Prevention First in two locations, one in Chicago and one in Springfield, has established itself as the primary source for substance abuse prevention materials and resources in Illinois. It offers the largest specialty collection of substance abuse prevention and related materials in the state

The Illinois Department of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse has honored her for her work in prevention. In 1989, Mrs. Ryan was named a delegate to the Illinois Assembly on the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Abuse. She has been honored for the Hopedale Medical Complex for her prevention work with Illinois' seniors and is a recipient of the McDermott Humanitarian Award.

Mrs. Ryan serves as a director of the Life Education Center, a unique prevention program operating several counties that steers children away from drugs by teaching them to understand and respect their bodies.

Mrs. Ryan has served on the board of directors for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana and is an honorary director of Very Special Arts Illinois. She served as a member of the White House 200th Anniversary Art Exhibition Committee.

The Coalition also will honor grassroots committees who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in improving their communities and becoming self-sufficient.


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