MONDAY, AUGUST 2, 1999202/307-0703



HOUSTON, TEXAS -- Attorney General Janet Reno today honored Peggy Beasley of Corpus Christi, Texas and Marco Ramos of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with senior citizen and youth Community Millennium Awards for their work in revitalizing their neighborhoods and providing opportunities for residents to live, work, and raise children in a safe and clean environment. The awards, presented during the National Weed and Seed Conference in Houston, are in keeping with the White House Celebration on the Millennium theme to "Honor the Past - Imagine the Future," a national program encouraging the participation of every American in our nation's celebration and commemoration.

Peggy Beasley represents the D.N. Leathers Public Housing complex, Corpus Christi's first Weed and Seed neighborhood. Through her work with city and public housing officials, the police department, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas, Mrs. Beasley was able to transform a once drug-ridden, crime infested public housing complex into a community where children now are able to ride their bicycles and play, and older residents can sit on their front porch and look at buildings free of graffiti and streets clean of trash. Her work with school-age children in her community was also recognized.

Mrs. Beasley, along with other D.N. Leathers residents, committed themselves to the nearly 100 school-age children of the neighborhood by providing meals, purchasing clothes and school supplies, and ensuring every child was properly vaccinated for the coming school year. Their fundraising work attracted interest and donations from the community, which enabled them to take the children of the housing project to Sea World.

Marco Ramos of Philadelphia was recognized for his work teaching conflict resolution to elementary school children in the Weed and Seed Community of North Philadelphia, and for his work in Safe Haven multi-service education centers. His service as a drug-free role model for youth was also recognized. Mr. Ramos' work with at-risk children in the community and local law enforcement has resulted in a safer neighborhood where crime, drug use, unemployment, illiteracy, and disease are now under control. He continues to serve his community. He is the only male counselor in the Summer on the Square Day Camp for Youth.

The conference, sponsored by the Executive Office for Weed and Seed located in the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs (OJP), helps communities build stronger, safer neighborhoods by implementing the Weed and Seed strategy, a community-based, multi-disciplinary approach to combating crime. The program involves both law enforcement and community-building activities, including economic development and support services.

To learn more about the White House Millennium Project and how your community can become a Millennium Community, log onto the White House Website at For more information on the Justice Department's Executive Office for Weed and Seed, log onto the OJP Website at Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.