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ATLANTA MAN OFFERS COLLEGE SUPPORT TO 57 CHILDREN

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Fifty-seven inner-city children got a surprising elementary school graduation gift: a guarantee of college if they finish high school.

Atlanta businessman John H. McDonald made the pledge at the Minnie Howell Elementary School graduation Thursday night.In addition to the money involved, the children will get guidance both in and out of the classroom, said Llewellyn Haden Jr., founder of the Atlanta chapter of the I Have A Dream program.

"We want them to have a shot at life like others who have been more fortunate," McDonald said.

He would not disclose how much money was involved in the program, but Haden said money is not the problem in sending the youngsters to college.

Thousands of dollars in national scholarships for inner-city, black youths go unused each year, Haden said, and some of that money can be used to supplement McDonald's sponsorship.

What really counts is opening the horizons for children whose surroundings of poverty and crime often discourage success, Haden said.

"We get them involved culturally and involve them with different people so they know what there is to dream about - because they can't dream about something if they don't know it exists," Haden said.

New York businessman Eugene Lang announced the creation of I Have A Dream in 1982.