April, 2012
See our current college council scholarship recipients with this link:
2012 College Council students

March, 2012
See our Foundation Spring newsletter

View a 32 page .pdf file of our 2012 Spring newsletter and see news about our program results, fundraising activities, donors, achievements of our student leaders, college scholarships, our curriculum and programs and our staff and volunteers.
View a full color 32 page .pdf file of our 2012 Spring newsletter (large 1.5 MB file)
November, 2011
"Drug Free Me" video
See "Drug Free Me"— our video for the second annual MusiCares® and GRAMMY Foundation® Teen Substance Abuse Awareness through Music Contest.

October, 2011
Greater Washington
Give to the Max Day
was November 9th, 2011.

Please donate.

Give To The Max Day - Greater Washington Fundraising

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
was Greater Washington
Give to the Max Day.
Please Donate Next Year.

July 15th, 2011
Elayne Bennett interview with
Seth Leibsohn on
Bill Bennett's “Morning in America” radio talk show


Elayne Bennett, President and Founder of Best Friends Foundation was interviewed by Seth Leibsohn, Producer/Director of Research for Bill Bennett's “Morning in America” radio talk show on the importance of marriage. Listen to the interview by using the following link:
http://media.townhall.com/townhall/bennett/EBennett7.15.11.mp3

June 17th, 2011
2011 Diamond Girl
and Best Men Leadership
Scholarship Recipients

2011 Diamond Girl and Best Men Leadership Scholarship Recipients
Diamond Girl Leadership
*Hope Ajayi George Washington University
Kevwe Ajueyitsi North Carolina A & T
Tori Dugger University of New Haven
Yaa Yaa Hunt Pennsylvania State University
Lauren Mauney Bryn Athyn College
Mbachur Mbenga Trinity University

Best Men Leadership
DeAngelo Anderson Montgomery Community College
Jamal Childs North Carolina A & T
Cameron Harris Howard University
Christopher Holness Virginia Commonwealth University

*Hope Ajayi has received a full scholarship from George Washington University.
Her Diamond Girl Leadership award is a U. S. Savings Bond to be utilized within the GWU scholarship guidelines.

June 17th, 2011 event
Diamond Girl and Best Men Leadership Recognition Program

The Diamond Girl and Best Men Leadership Recognition Program was held on Friday, June 17th, 2011 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center on 7100 Connecticut Avenue. A luncheon was served in the Danforth Courtyard and the Recognition Program followed in Aiton Auditorium. The Recognition Program recognized the 2011 Scholarship recipients, the Best Friends Foundation College Council and the achievements of Diamond Girl Leadership, Best Men Leadership, Potomac Job Corps and the support and dedication of their school principals, coordinators and parents.
Open a .pdf of pages from the event program booklet for details about the event.

 

June 17th-18th, 2011 event
Youth Leadership Summit


The Youth Leadership Summit was held on Friday and Saturday, June 17th –18th , 2011 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center on 7100 Connecticut Avenue. Sessions for student leaders included: video and discussions about Dating Violence, Healthy Relationships/Healthy Marriage - Conflict Resolution and Communication Skills, College and Career Planning, Networking and Financial Planning.

Contact Pauline Hamlette for details about the summit at (202) 478-9677.

March, 2011
New CDC Sex Report for ages 15 to 24

Great News!
A new sex trends report has been released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Researchers found that between 2006 and 2008, abstinence was 27% in young men between the ages of 15 and 24 years, up 22% since 2002. Abstinent females in the same age bracket was at 29%, up 7% from 2002. Students, parents, teachers and risk-avoidance programs like ours can be encouraged by this positive new trend for America's youth.

Anjani Chandra, a health scientist at the NCHS comments:
"I think a lot of people misconstrue this as meaning they've never had vaginal sex. But this is no sexual contact of any kind......They didn't have anything. It's what they're telling us and we have to take it on faith."

View a .pdf file of the full 49 page CDC/NCHS report.

March, 2011 Newsletter "The Leader" published

The newsletter for the Best Friends Foundation and the National Youth Leadership Summit entitled "The Leader" has been published. View a 20 page .pdf file of "The Leader" and see news about our program results, fundraising activities, donors, achievements of our student leaders and our curriculum and programs.

February 26th, 2011 event


Dating Violence Prevention Seminar:Stop the Silence. Prevent the Violence”



In response to the current epidemic of teen violence and abuse, the Best Friends Foundation conducted a Dating Violence Prevention Seminar: Stop the Silence. Prevent the Violence” on Saturday, February 26, 2011 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center on 7100 Connecticut Avenue.

View a .pdf file of the program for the Dating Violence Prevention Seminar.

The Best Friends Foundation is a recipient of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Healthy Marriage / Healthy Relationships grant for high school youth. An important component of the grant is the focus on teen violence and abuse in intimate relationships. We are expanding our program to offer our HHS approved curriculum and Violence and Abuse Prevention Protocol to more students and teachers in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

The Seminar agenda included a performance of the “Yellow Dress” by Deana's Educational Theater and a presentation by Best Friends Foundation Leadership students entitled “Make Music Not Madness” which promoted positive peer relationships through music and dance. The performances were followed by a question and answer period with Dr. Robert DuPont a graduate of the Harvard Medical School and a nationally recognized expert on substance abuse. Dr. DuPont is the founding president of the Institute for Behavior and Health. Lunch was provided and a workshop on Conflict Resolution and Communication Skills was held in the afternoon.

If you have any questions regarding the seminar, please contact either Pauline Hamlette at 202-478-9683 or by email at phamlette@bestfriendsfoundation.org or Elayne Bennett at ebennett@bestfriendsfoundation.org for more information.
 

September
10th-12th, 2010

The National Youth Leadership Summit was held Friday, September 10th - Sunday, September 12th at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in DC. This event was sponsored by the HHS Healthy Relationships/Healthy Marriage grant. An expert guest speaker panel included Dr. Curtis Adams, author and psychiatrist; Judge Reggie Walton, U.S. District Judge, District of Columbia;  Judge Anita Josey-Herring, Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia; Seth Leibsohn, Producer/Director of Research “Morning in America” radio talk show and Claremont Institute Fellow; Seth's wife Elaine Leibsohn who is an expert in community relations/strategic partnerships and a featured speaker at numerous national conferences; and Kyle Mims a former Best Men member and graduate of Temple University in 2010. There was also a dance for leadership students on Saturday night. Some topics addressed at the summit included: Benefits of Healthy Relationships and Marriage, Drugs and Alcohol, Dating Violence, and AIDs and STDs.

May 13th, 2010
The 2010 Foundation Annual Fundraising Event was held Thursday evening May 13th, 2010 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC.
Attendees, donors and distinguished guests enjoyed a heartwarming evening of great music, dining and dancing to benefit our DC students.
The Best Friends Foundation expresses our heartfelt appreciation to all who attended and donated to benefit our youth. You can go to the event web page to view details of this year's event. Please plan to attend next year.
February 2nd, 2010

Landmark research published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine proves abstinence education effective
The Washington Post and The New York Times reported that a federally funded study producing the highest level of scientific evidence evaluated an abstinence class for an extended period of time and found it as effective or more effective than compared classes. The study was led John B. Jemmott III, PhD a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Jemmott, his wife, Loretta S. Jemmott, PhD, RN and Geoffrey T. Fong, Phd conducted the randomized controlled trial of 662 6th and 7th grade students in urban public schools.
Link to the Washington Post article Link to the New York Times article
Link to the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine article

January 29th, 2010


Best Friends staff referenced on The World Over with Raymond Arroyo radio program
Pauline Hamlette, National and Metropolitan Program Director of the Best Friends Foundation and Robin Williams, Best Friends Metropolitan Program Manager of the Best Friends Foundation were referenced on the rise in teen pregnancy rates.
Download the program (may be downloaded for private use only)

January 26th, 2010


Best Friends on Laura Ingraham
Elayne Bennett, President and Founder of the Best Friends Foundation was on the Laura Ingraham radio show to discuss teen pregnancy.

September 11-13, 2009


The 2009 Best Friends Foundation
National Youth Leadership Summit
was held September 11th—13th at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC.
See a .pdf of the newsletter for this event, "The Leader."


July 16th, 2009

Best Friends on Bennett Mornings
Elayne Bennett, President and Founder of the Best Friends Foundation and Valerie Huber were on Bennett Mornings radio show Follow this link to hear the broadcast on townhall.com.



June 5th, 2009

The 2009 Foundation Annual Fundraising Event "Make Music Not Madness" was held Friday evening June 5th at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC. Attendees, donors and distinguished guests enjoyed a heartwarming evening of great music, dining and dancing to benefit our DC students. Best Friends celebrates 22 years of programs that "Make Music Not Madness." The Best Friends Foundation expresses our heartfelt appreciation to all who attended and donated to benefit our services to youth. We especially wish to thank these donors:

Benefactor Council
Susan and Lawrence Kadish
Patron CouncilElayne and Bill Bennett, GEICO, Jim Kimsey-Kimsey Foundation,
Marlene and Fred Malek, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, Bill O'Reilly
Friends CouncilL & S Milken Foundation, Rosenthal Automotive


March 30, 2009

Best Friends on Fox News—The O'Reilly Factor

Elayne Bennett, President and Founder of the Best Friends Foundation, appeared on The O’Reilly Factor on the FOX News Channel on Monday, March 30, 2009 at 8:00 pm EST (repeated at 11 pm EST) to discuss the youth development and character education.


 

February 22, 2009

Best Friends Health is Happiness Day
9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
“Stop the Madness” Panel Luncheon and “Make Music Not Madness” Assembly
Noon – 2:30 p.m.

For additional Health is Happiness Day Information contact:
Rita Kelly Burns at 202-478-9677
rburns@bestfriendsfoundation.org

 

February 20-22, 2009

Best Friends Foundation National Training Conference
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
2660 Woodley Road, NW
Washington, DC 20015

For additonal Training Conference and Luncheon information contact:
Ann Goldsmith at 202-478-9677
agoldsmith@bestfriendsfoundation.org

December 13, 2008

Holiday Party
The Holiday Party for Best Friends and Best Men mentors and the College Council students was held on Saturday, December 13th at Catholic University.
Christmas came early for the Metropolitan Leadership Choir, Best Men Leadership Step Team, and Diamond Girl Leadership Dance Troupe as they performed at the Angel for a Day celebration on the campus of Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Approximately 500 children from area schools enjoyed a fun-filled afternoon of carols, games, and activities. A highlight was a Secret Santa room where approximately 1000 toys were distributed.

Sponsored by the DC Young Men’s Leadership Team, the fifth annual holiday event brought smiles to the faces of all who attended. Special guest Bishop Martin D. Holley of the Archdiocese of Washington DC commended the young people for their hard work and spirit of service and expressed his gratitude to those who “gave so generously of their time and effort to provide such joy and hope to the young children.”

September 5-7, 2008



2008 Best Friends Foundation National Youth Leadership Summit was held Friday, September 5th through Sunday, September 7th at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. On Saturday, a luncheon and panel discussion with distinguished guests was led by Elayne Bennett and Carol Platt Liebau, author of Prude: How The Sex Obsessed Culture Damages Girls.

This is the 3rd year of our Stop the Madness panel on the importance of healthy relationships and prevention of alcohol and drug use, sex, and violence among adolescents.  The panel included community leaders from the Metro D.C. area who share a concern for today’s youth.  The panel discussion was followed by a production of Make Music Not Madness, which aims to promote among our youth “music” activities which enrich, inspire and uplift instead of “madness” activities which degrade, depress and lead to danger.

See more information.
 

May 9, 2008



2008 Foundation Annual Fundraising Event was held Friday evening May 9th at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. Entertainers were Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. (original members of the 5th Dimension), The Drifters and Chuck Brown. Donors and guests enjoyed dinner, dancing and fun at what has been called "Washington's best party." The Foundation is very grateful to all donors and guests for their generosity and attendance.
See a .pdf file with pictures/info from the event.

November 9,2007

Best Friends on Fox News—The O'Reilly Factor

Elayne Bennett, President and Founder of the Best Friends Foundation, appeared on The O’Reilly Factor on the FOX News Channel on Friday, November 9 at 8:00 pm EST (repeated at 11 pm EST) to discuss the Best Friends Foundation programs.

Read or print a .pdf of a transcript of the interview.


July 22-25, 2007
Youth Leadership Summit


John Walters


Melba Moore


America’s youth at our nation’s capitol for our Youth Leadership Summit

Washington, DC – Youth and adult mentors from Washington, DC and across the nation participated in the Best Friends Foundation’s third annual National Youth Leadership Summit Today’s Leaders, Tomorrow’s Future at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, July 22-25, 2007.  Over 150 youth leaders attended this national leadership summit to hear from presenters and engage in discussions that address the current state of youth.  Each youth leader gained a greater knowledge on how to avoid violence, drugs, alcohol and premarital sex, as well as listened to presentations on college/career prep and financial planning. 

Summit Highlights:
John Walters, Director of The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, spoke to youth leaders from around the country during a keynote luncheon address: “The Current State of Adolescent Drug Use.”

“Stop The Madness,” panel discussion. Experts discussed issues and solutions regarding adolescent risk behavior.  Panelists included The Honorable Robert Flores, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; Dr. David Murray, Chief Scientist for Counter-Drug Technology Assessment Center, Office of National Drug Control Policy; Jose Dominguez, Director of Grants Administration, DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation; Tyrone C. Parker, Co-founder and Executive Director of Alliance for Concerned Men; Beverly Watts Davis, Senior Advisor on Substance Abuse Policy, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); and Seth Leibsohn, Producer of William Bennett’s “Morning In America” radio show.  Best Friends Foundation Founder and President, Elayne Bennett, served as moderator.

Best Friends Foundation’s student musical production, “Make Music Not Madness,” with special guest appearance by acclaimed singer and actress Melba Moore, most recognized for making history as Luttiebelle in the Broadway production “Purlie,” and becoming the first black actress to win a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress.

May 11, 2007
DC
Recognition
Ceremony

20th Anniversary

Washington, DC - Marriott Wardman Park Hotel . This ceremony recognized the achievements of the DC Best Friends, Diamond Girls Leadership, Best Men and Best Men Leadership and the dedication of their school principals, coordinators, parents and teacher mentors. Guest speakers were Will A. Gunn, President and CEO Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and George Sanker, Principal Hope Community Charter School. The audience was treated to special performances from Make Music Not Madness.

DC 2007 Essay Winners:

Best Friends
 
5th Grade Shaquan  
6th Grade Latrice  
7th Grade Unique  
8th Grade Kevwe  
Diamond Girls Leadership - Cherre
 
Pauline Hamlette, Director of Programs
 
April 27, 2007
"Rockin' at
The Ritz" Annual Fundraising Event
Foundation Annual Fundraising Event -"Rockin' at The Ritz" was held on Friday evening April 27th, 2007 at The Ritz Carlton Hotel, Washington, DC. Performers this year were Fabian, Jerry Butler, Barbara Lewis and Bobby Vee & The Vees.

March 4th, 2006

"Do You Remember When Rock Was Young?" Annual event was held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. At the Best Friends Foundation’s annual fundraiser philanthropist Foster Friess and his wife Lynn announced a million dollar match offer to the audience.  They extended the match for monies raised by the Foundation until March 31st and then donated one million dollars to the Foundation at a special "Have a Heart" dinner on March 30th. The Foundation expresses it's deepest gratitude for their caring generosity and to all the donors who contributed during the Million Match campaign. We cannot thank you enough.

The March 4th fundraiser event audience of students and dignitaries was overwhelmingly enthusiastic.  Special guests included Mayor Anthony Williams, Senator George Allen, Susan Allen, Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, Andrea Steele, Representative Roy Blunt, Ambassador Van Eenennaam of the Netherlands, Ambassador Jim Nicholson, Norman Mineta, Secretary of Transportation, Gail Norton, Secretary of the Interior, Jim Kimsey, Fred and Marlene Malek, Jack Evans, John McLaughlin, Morton Kondracke and William Bennett, former Secretary of Education.   

Students from the Best Friends, Best Men, Diamond Girl Leadership, and Best Men Leadership Programs featured their musical talents in a special performance with Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge of “We Are Family” and “Let’s Hear it for the Boys.” The students’ performance “brought down the house.”  The Best Men boys step drill and drum line was awe-inspiring and led to the generous match offer.  Three Dog Night appropriately concluded the truly joyous evening with their hit “Joy to the World.” All proceeds from the event went to support the Best Friends Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

August, 2005 Best Friends clothing sent to Hurricane Katrina victims
440 Best Friends T-shirts were sent to the Salvation Army to be used for the victims of Hurricane Katrina who were evacuated to the Houston Astrodome disaster shelter
. The Foundation expresses it's deepest sympathies and concern for the victims in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama who suffered tremendous loss during this tragedy.
July 28-30 , 2005

Best Friends Foundation Youth Leadership Summit and National Youth Summit
Best Friends, Best Men and Leadership participants from Washington, DC, Milwaukee, WI, Erie, PA, San Diego, CA and Clay County, KY gathered for the first ever Best Friends Youth Leadership Summit from July 25th July 28th. Day one of the summit was devoted to the Best Friends curriculum as leadership students immersed themselves in information from their student journals. While serving as ambassadors for their sites, the students discussed topics such as; violence prevention, media influences, decision making and participated in a debate about positive music choices. The activities concluded with a banquet to honor all College Council members who received scholarships in addition to the new Diamond Girl bracelet. At the end of the night, all of the students attending the Summit had the opportunity to take a tour of Washington, DCs monuments and landmarks. Over the next few days, the Foundation partnered with the Family and Youth Services Bureau of the Department of Health and Human Services for their Annual Youth Summit, which was also held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. Leadership students had the chance to meet and work with other youth from all over the country and engage in seminars on advocacy in their communities and on enhancing their leadership skills. The students had a marvelous time at this year's youth summit.

April 29, 2005

Mona Charen's article "Abstaining on abstinence data" appeared in THE WASHINGTON TIMES. See the article online.
The article concerned the study of the Best Friends program by Robert Lerner, Ph.D., published in the Journal of Adolescent and Family Health
. The same article by Mona Charen, headlined "You won't read it in the papers", is also available online at Townhall.com.

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist and political analyst living in the Washington, D.C. area. She launched her syndicated column in 1987 and it has become one of the fastest growing columns in the industry. It is featured in more than 200 papers, including the Boston Globe, the Baltimore Sun, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution and the Washington Times. She spent 6 years as a regular commentator on CNN's "Capital Gang" and "Capital Gang Sunday," and has served as a judge of the Pulitzer Prizes.

April 28, 2005 "Abstinence program shows results" article by Cheryl Wetzstein published in THE WASHINGTON TIMES. See the article online. Ms. Wetzstein's article was also about the study of the Best Friends program by Robert Lerner, Ph.D., published in the Journal of Adolescent and Family Health.
April 27, 2005

Major study release on Adolescent Abstinence
A press conference was held on Wednesday, April 27, 2005 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC for the announcement of a ground breaking independent study "Can Abstinence Work? An Analysis of the Best Friends Program" authored by Robert Lerner, Ph.D. and published in the peer reviewed journal Adolescent & Family Health. The study concerns the effectiveness of teaching adolescent girls in the Best Friends program to reject negative social behavior compared to a sample of peer respondents. Elayne Bennett, President and Founder of Best Friends Foundation will present information. Joining Mrs. Bennett for remarks:

Robert Lerner, Ph.D., Study Author
John P. Walters, Director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (invited)
Nina Rees, Assistant Deputy Secretary, Office of Innovation and Improvement,
Department of Education
J. Robert Flores, Administrator, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention,
Department of Justice
Harry Wilson, Associate Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Department of Health and Human Services
Joe McIlhaney, M.D., President, Medical Institute

April 2, 2005

"Do You Remember When Rock Was Young?"
Annual event was held April 2, 2005.

The Best Friends Foundation gala raised over $600,000 for Best Friends and Best Men programs.
Government leaders, celebrities and distinguished guests danced to Little Anthony & the Imperials, The Chiffons, Bobby Vee & the Vees and Al Wilson at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. More than $100,000 was raised in the live auction when two cars were auctioned off. Committee volunteers and foundation staff produced an exciting and successful event once again. Our heart-felt thanks goes to everyone involved.

Proceeds from this annual event are the primary source of funds for the Foundation's elementary and middle school Best Friends and Best Men programs and the high school Diamond Girls Leadership and Best Men Leadership programs.

See Out and About "Best Friends: A Beacon of Hop" in the Washington Post and "Best Friends Foundation Gala" in Washington Life magazine.

 

APRIL 23, 2004

 

 

Elayne Bennett, David Robinson Recipients of 2004 Simon Foundation Prizes
New York, NY – The fourth annual William E. Simon awards will honor two individuals – Elayne Bennett and David Robinson – whose work and philanthropic efforts focus on meeting the educational and character building needs of young people. The prizes will be presented at a luncheon on April 23rd at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.

The Prize for Social Entrepreneurship, along with a cash award of $250,000, is being presented to Ms. Bennett, who is founder and president of the Best Friends Foundation located in Washington, D.C. She is widely respected for development of in-school programs that not only help adolescents understand the risks of, but abstain from, drugs, sex and alcohol use.

First offered in 1987 to a class of sixth-grade girls in Washington, D. C., the Best Friends program today is conducted in more than 100 schools in 26 cities and in 15 states, as well as in Washington, D. C. and the Virgin Islands. In 2000, the work was expanded to include boys, who since then have been taking part in Best Men mentoring programs in five cities. On average, the Foundation serves approximately 5,000 girls and 1,000 boys and has generated impressive results.

Research has shown that compared to their peers, among Best Men boys, drug use was 33 percent lower and sexual activity declined 20 percent. Among Best Friend girls, alcohol use declined 30 percent, and 40 percent of program participants stopped using drugs altogether.

David Robinson, two-time NBA World Champion, is receiving the Prize in Philanthropic Leadership. Famous for his achievements with the San Antonio Spurs, Mr. Robinson is being honored for his many contributions to his community. The recognition includes a gift of $250,000 to the charity of his choice.

In 1992, David and his wife, Valerie, created the David Robinson Foundation to benefit community programs that meet the physical and spiritual needs of families primarily in their adopted hometown of San Antonio. Considered the single largest gift made by a professional athlete, the Robinsons donated more than $9 million to create The Carver Academy in downtown San Antonio. The project opened in 2001 and benefits many low-income, at-risk students. The school offers elementary-age children a challenging academic program featuring small classes, leadership opportunities and a nurturing family-like environment based on Judeo-Christian scripture. Named for African-American botanist and educator George Washington Carver, Robinson's hope for the school is that Carver graduates return and reinvest in the community. For more information, visit www.thecarveracademy.org.

The Simon Prizes were inaugurated in 2001, as part of the Foundation's efforts to further the legacy of its namesake, who was Secretary of the U.S. Treasury from 1974 to 1977. William E. Simon, Jr. says that the Simon Prizes underscore an important aspect of his late father's life. "My father firmly believed that one person could make a profound difference in the lives of others, and through this prize program – which he hoped to make a kind of Nobel Prize in philanthropy and entreprenurship – he wanted to inspire others to create and support programs that help people to help themselves."

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