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New campaign focuses on increasing number of volunteers, Little Brother Little Sister "matches"

Apr 11, 2008

    GUELPH, ON, April 11 /CNW/ - A $10,000 donation from The Co-operators is
helping Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guelph (BBBSG) reach out to potential
volunteers and new funding sources, says Michael Fox, president of Big
Brothers Big Sisters of Guelph. An increase in volunteers could mean the
difference between a child obtaining a Big Brother or Big Sister or remaining
on the waiting list. At any given time, about 80 local boys and girls are
waiting for a match with an adult mentor.
    The need is particularly strong for male volunteers. In fact, 80 per cent
of the children on the waiting list are boys who will wait an average of three
years before being matched with a Big Brother. BBBSG provides services to
children from the ages of five to 16 years. The organization currently runs
five different mentoring programs in Guelph.
    "The Co-operators has been a dedicated supporter of BBBSG and has
exhibited outstanding leadership in their commitment to the community and to
children. Our agency is very pleased to have been selected as the recipient of
this generous donation," Fox said.
    The funding will enable BBBSG to carry out a four-phase re-branding and
promotional campaign, including the development of new brochures, posters and
fact sheets; recruitment videos aimed at both potential volunteers and
corporate partners; and membership in a database through which the
organization gains access to new sources of potential funding. The final phase
of the campaign is expected to be in place by late 2008.
    "Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guelph is an organization that makes a
significant difference to the lives of girls and boys in our city," said Kathy
Bardswick, The Co-operators president and CEO. "Often, all it takes to affect
the life of a child positively is time spent with him or her, listening and
doing simple activities together. Responding to this kind of request to help
build their volunteer services truly is a perfect fit between The Co-operators
values and our desire to strengthen community programs as much as we can."

    About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guelph:

    Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guelph's mission is to promote the healthy
development of children and youth of our community through a variety of
quality mentoring programs. BBBSG is committed to the recruitment of
volunteers dedicated to upholding the values and principles of the
organization and to those we serve. BBBSG serves over 400 children in the
Guelph community; and more than 330 volunteers contribute over 25,000 hours to
help meet the goals of the agency. In all endeavours, we will act with
integrity and create an environment that encourages teamwork and respect.

    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; Jessica Bowes, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guelph,
(519) 824-5154, ext. 223

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