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The Co-operators Sends Five Staff Members to Volunteer Overseas

Feb 11, 2009

    GUELPH, ON, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - Five staff members from The Co-operators
group of companies will soon be participating in short-term volunteer
opportunities overseas. The volunteers were selected from across Canada, and
will be sharing their professional skills with community organizations in
developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America in March 2009.
    It's all part of a new partnership The Co-operators has developed with
Leave for Change, a volunteer program run by Uniterra. Uniterra is Canada's
largest international volunteer organization and is funded through the
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Through Leave for Change,
The Co-operators volunteers will participate in work assignments of three
    "The Co-operators participation in Leave for Change represents a new
level of support for staff volunteerism and supports the growing trend of
people using personal vacation time to volunteer abroad," said Kathy
Bardswick, The Co-operators president and CEO. "The program offers a unique
personal and professional development opportunity that complements our
existing practice of providing annual paid volunteer days and our co-operative

    The Co-operators Leave for Change volunteers for 2009 are:

    -   Cheryl Conly, Co-operators Life (Regina, SK)
    -   Vanessa Gonzalez, Co-operators General (Mississauga, ON)
    -   Francis Lavoie, L'Union Canadienne (Quebec, QC)
    -   Danielle Rolland, HB Group (Laval, QC)
    -   Lori Winnitowy, Co-operators Life (Regina, SK)

    These volunteers will use two weeks of personal vacation time and one
week of paid leave from The Co-operators. In addition, The Co-operators will
make a $5,000 donation to Uniterra for each of the five staff members. This
covers all costs for each volunteer, from vaccinations to travel and lodging.
    Under Leave for Change, volunteers are assigned work placements in one of
11 countries: Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Guatemala, Guinea, Malawi,
Mali, Nepal, Niger, Senegal and Vietnam. The Co-operators volunteers will work
with local partner organizations in such areas as finance management,
information technology, business correspondence, youth leadership and English
language instruction.

    About The Co-operators:

    Based in Guelph, Ontario, The Co-operators is a group of Canadian
companies offering home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm
insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators Group Limited is a
100 per cent Canadian-owned co-operative with assets of $7 billion. It is
owned by a group of Canadian co-operatives, credit unions and like-minded
organizations. It is well known for its community involvement, and is listed
among the 50 Best Employers in Canada.

For further information: Leonard Sharman, The Co-operators,
1-877-795-7272, ext. 2707

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