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$75,000 donation to kids.now on winners' behalfAurora, Ontario. April 19, 2010. – State Farm Canada and kids.now Canada's national charity for youth development are pleased to announce the winners of the first-ever State Farm Good Neighbour Award, presented by kids.now, in recognition of outstanding volunteer commitment to mentoring Canadian youth.
Winners are being recognized this week, National Volunteer Week (April 18 – 24), via a presentation at the school where they volunteer. A $25,000 contribution will be made to kids.now by State Farm Canada on behalf of each of the three winners.
"As a good neighbour, we are dedicated to volunteering in the communities where our employees live and work," says Barbara Bellissimo, senior vice president, State Farm Canada. "State Farm is proud to partner with kids.now to recognize the outstanding volunteers who are dedicated to mentoring our Canadian youth and helping them build the skills to become tomorrow's leaders."
"Kids, parents and school representatives are always telling us how phenomenal the kids.now coach-mentors are, and how much of an impact they make on program participants,” explains Janet King, president and founder, kids.now. “This award recognizes and supports the work of these dedicated volunteers who make a positive difference in the lives of youth in their neighbourhood schools through the program."
Winning coach-mentors best exemplify kids.now's coaching principles, which include a willingness to listen and share; reliability and trustworthiness; patience and understanding; and a commitment to making a positive difference in kids' lives.
The winners are:
- Rakhee Sawhney is a two-time coach-mentor who delivered the kids.now program at St. Hillary Catholic School and St. Gertrude Catholic School in Mississauga, ON in 2009. Rakhee learned about the opportunity to volunteer with kids.now through her workplace, TD Canada Trust. Rakhee's commitment to and respect for the kids in her programs were evident in comments from those who nominated her. One of the kids in her program explains "Rakhee made us all feel welcome and important…I look up to her as a GREAT (sic) role model."
- Mark Guilbeault is a State Farm Agent who coached at McKay Public School in Port Colborne, Ontario and shared his experiences as a mentor in the program via a weekly blog throughout the fall/winter 2009 program on the kids.now site. According to his school champion: "Mark is extremely dedicated to the students and they greatly respected him and appreciated the time they spent with him."
- Lits Kong has always loved working with kids and teaching new skills. She was a kids.now coach-mentor at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School and David Leeder Middle School in Mississauga, ON in 2009. Lits was chosen as a State Farm Good Neighbour Award winner for her hard work and dedication to the program. As one nominator put it "Lits' hard work and dedication was really evident…she handled the class as if it was her full-time position."
All volunteer coach-mentors who participated in kids.now's leadership and life-success skills programs during the 2009 season were eligible for the award. Candidates could be nominated by anyone who has knowledge of the nominee's coach-mentoring activities, and the extent to which the nominee exemplifies kids.now's coaching principles. Nominations were evaluated by a selection committee comprised of State Farm and kids.now representatives. The names of both the nominator and nominee were removed from the forms, prior to being sent to judges to ensure impartiality.
For more information on the State Farm Good Neighbour Award, presented by kids.now, please visit http://wp.mentorkidsnow.ca/news-state-farm-good-neighbour-award/.
John Bordignon, Media Specialist at (905) 750-5567.
About State Farm®
State Farm has been serving Canadians since 1938. State Farm and its affiliates are the fourth largest auto insurance provider, and the seventh largest property and casualty insurer in Canada. In addition to providing affordable car insurance rates, State Farm has more than 525 Canadian agents and 1300 employees providing insurance and financial services including mutual funds, life insurance, vehicle loans, critical illness, disability, home and auto insurance to our customers in Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick. For more information, please visit www.statefarm.ca, join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or see us on YouTube.
kids.now is Canada's national charity for youth development. For over a decade, we've been coaching kids to make positive choices by building self-confidence, leadership abilities, and life-success skills through free, in-school, after school programs. Led by fully trained, volunteer coach-mentors, the educator-endorsed kids.now program focuses on teaching youth goal setting, effective communications, and other valuable skills that last a lifetime. www.kidsnowcanada.org