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Super Bowl planner outlines NFL community outreach efforts in North Texas

DALLAS -- National Football League event planners are in North Texas this week in the third of four visits leading up to Super Bowl XLV. But not everything being discussed is about the game.

David Krichavsky, the NFL's director of community affairs, was at the State Fair of Texas on Wednesday outlining some of the league's community outreach programs.

The NFL prides itself on programs that are intended to leave behind more than memories of Super Bowl week festivities.

These programs address a range of issues -- from childhood obesity to the environment and diversity.

Here is an update on where some of them stand:

NFL Play 60 program: This campaign encourages kids to devote one hour a day to exercise. The program was launched in 2006 in partnership with the American Heart Association and NFL Charities. Schools in North Texas can participate by registering at www.americanheart.org/superbowlchallenge. Schools whose students fare the best are eligible for prizes such as a visit from an NFL player, a $2,500 grant and an invitation to Kids Day at the NFL Experience at the Dallas Convention Center.

There is also a Super Kid contest for children ages 6 through 13, with the North Texas winner eligible to be among the 34 finalists from around the country to bring the game ball to midfield on Super Sunday.

NFL One World: This program is designed to connect communities and cultures. Two schools from each of the four major cities in North Texas -- Fort Worth, Arlington, Irving and Dallas -- will participate. Students at one school become pen pals with students at another school. It will culminate with a One World Huddle in which the students from all eight schools will meet their pen pals.

NFL Environmental program : Director Jack Groh, who has overseen the greening of the NFL since the inception of the program 17 years ago, is in discussions with Texas energy providers to purchase renewable energy for Cowboys Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday. He would also like to power other events, such as the NFL Experience, with renewable energy.

Groh also confirmed that 6,500 trees will be planted in 12 North Texas cities, with schoolchildren participating while also being educated in how to care for the trees.

The environmental program will also collect unused food from Super Bowl-related events for distribution to area food banks. More than 100 schools have already registered for the Super Kids Super Sharing initiative in which children are to donate used books, games and sports equipment that will be given to the less fortunate.

Pete Alfano, 817-390-7985

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