Kids to Obama: Consider This! Virtual World SecretBuilders Invites Children to Share Thoughts with President-Elect Obama

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A new contest launched today on kids' virtual world website SecretBuilders.com invites players to submit a picture and message to President Obama. The winning entry will be published President's Day on The Huffington Post, the hugely popular news website and aggregated blog founded by Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer.

We encourage contestant to look at the world around them and highlight anything - a place, person, idea, symbol, or phenomenon -- that moves them, and to capture it in a drawing, photo, or video and a small write-up

Pundits around the world are offering ideas and advice to President-Elect Obama. Now kids have their turn. A new contest launched today on kids' virtual world website SecretBuilders.com invites players to submit a picture and message to President Obama. The winning entry will be published President's Day on The Huffington Post, the hugely popular news website and aggregated blog founded by Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer.

"Cool! I have a lot of ideas of things to tell President Obama so I will submit more than one entry," said Lyrica, an eight-year old SecretBuilders player from Philadelphia, Pa.

The "Dear President Obama" contest invites players from around the globe to share a thought with the President-elect Obama in the form of a picture message. Contestants enter the virtual world at SecretBuilders.com to send in a drawing, photo, or video with a short text message highlighting anything they wish to bring to the attention of the President-elect and the world. The winning entry will be posted on the The Huffington Post on Presidents Day, February 16, 2009. Runners-up will also be featured on political website Slate, popular game forum Gamezebo and submitted to CNN's user-generate site iReport.

The grand prize winner also will receive $500 cash and will have $500 donated on their behalf to a school or a children's charity of their choice.

Judges include a panel of experts from universities and non-profit organizations.

"We encourage contestant to look at the world around them and highlight anything - a place, person, idea, symbol, or phenomenon -- that moves them, and to capture it in a drawing, photo, or video and a small write-up", said Jeff Brenzel, Dean of Admissions at Yale University and a contest judge.

Additional judges include Professor Munis Faruqui of University of California at Berkeley, Dr. Alan Kirchner, Professor of Political Science at Ohlone College, CA, William Rubel, founder of Stone Soup Children's Magazine, and Scott Hassan, co founder of eGroups and founding team member of Google.

To help kids prepare for the submission, an environment within SecretBuilders called the Mellow Drama Theater is decorated in a presidential theme and features an avatar of Ms. Huffington who greets kids. Kids click on the avatar to visit her "home" and engage in contest-related activities including a quiz on President-elect Obama.

"We are grateful to Arianna Huffington and The Huffington Post for supporting the "Dear President Obama," said Umair Khan, co-founder and CEO of Secret Builders. "They have given a voice to young folks worldwide and a chance to be published on one of the world's leading news websites."

The "Dear President Obama" contest is also supported by organizations including Gamezebo, KidZui, Art in Action, Wild Planet Toy Company, Naseeb Networks, and Stone Soup magazine.

About SecretBuilders
SecretBuilders is a virtual world with an emphasis on creativity and historical adventure for children 6 to 14 years old. Children live and play among fictional and historical characters and learn concepts from the arts and humanities. They take quests, publish artwork and writings, play scores of casual games, enter contests and participate in an extensive virtual economy and social life. Children are also given the tools to build out this virtual world with their own ideas, activities and actions. SecretBuilders is funded by The Entrepreneurs Fund III, an early stage venture fund, and prominent angel investors from Silicon Valley and the East Coast. The company is headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif. For more information, visit http://www.secretbuilders.com.

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