Olympic gold medalist Jennifer Heil, Canadian Idol finalist Tara Oram and local teen girls gather for national campaign launch

Olympic gold medalist, Jennifer Heil, and Director, Simonee Chichester, kick off filming of the Because I Am A Girl documentary. The documentary will travel from coast-to-coast talking to Canadian girls about what it means to be a girl. The film is part of Plan Canada's national movement to raise awareness about the importance of girls' rights around the world. www.becauseiamagirl.ca (CNW Group/Plan Canada)

Olympic gold medalist, Jennifer Heil, and Canadian Idol Finalist, Tara Oram, demonstrate the power of girls at the Because I Am A Girl kick-off - Plan Canada's national movement to raise awareness about the importance of girls' rights around the world. www.becauseiamagirl.ca (CNW Group/Plan Canada)

Because I Am A Girl national campaign is set in motion with the kick-off
    of a Canadian documentary tour

TORONTO, Sept. 22 /CNW/ - Today at Berczy Park in Toronto, local teen girls joined Olympic gold medalist and freestyle skier Jennifer Heil for the kick-off of a national campaign that aims to raise awareness in Canada about the importance of girls' rights around the world. This groundbreaking campaign by Plan Canada features an up-and-coming documentary crew travelling from coast-to-coast talking to teen girls in Canada about what it means to be a girl - here at home and in the developing world.

The documentary is the cornerstone of a campaign that aims to enlist girls in Canada in the fight against gender inequality around the world by raising awareness of the plight of girls in the poorest regions of the planet and their untapped potential to be powerful agents of change for their families, communities and nations.

"Investing in girls can literally lift entire nations out of poverty," said Paula Roberts, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Development. "The unique power to bring about social change extends to girls right here in Canada so Plan Canada is inviting them to become part of a global movement for girls everywhere."(1)

Starting today to October 28, an up-and-coming documentary film crew will travel from coast-to-coast asking girls "are you the one" to support social change and talking to teen girls in Canada about what it means to be a girl - here at home and in the developing world. Girls can also participate in the documentary by uploading a video in response to the Plan Canada video on YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/PlanCanadaVideos).

In Spring 2010 the national documentary will be unveiled at "Pink Carpet Premieres" across the country and at that point teen and tween girls from coast-to-coast will discover if they were included in the final cut.

To raise campaign awareness, this integrated marketing campaign involved various agencies and included traditional media relations, online social media activities, advertisements, public service announcements and celebrity endorsements. Girls can also show their support and find out other ways they can get involved by visiting the BIAAG microsite at www.becauseiamagirl.ca.

"The campaign is truly a coordinated effort to ensure that girls and young women are aware of the issues and that we reach our goal of enlisting one million girls over the next five years to support social change for girls around the world," said Roberts.

Jennifer Heil was the first to start filming and will likely be joined throughout the movement by other notable Canadian celebrities and BIAAG ambassadors such as Lisa Ray, Grace Park, Elisa Estrada and Margaret Atwood.

In addition to participating in the documentary, Canadian girls can "be the ones" to support social justice for girls around the world by visiting the BIAAG website at www.becauseiamagirl.ca.

For campaign details and a tour schedule, please visit www.becauseiamagirl.ca.

About Plan

Plan is a global movement for change, mobilizing millions of people around the world to support social justice for children in developing countries. Founded in 1937 as Foster Parents Plan, we are one of the world's oldest and largest international development agencies, working in partnership with millions of people around the world to end global poverty. Not for profit, independent and inclusive of all faiths and cultures, we have only one agenda: to improve the lives of children. Join us and plan to change the world. plancanada.ca

---------------------------------
    (1) Girls and the Global Economy: Adding it All Up - Plan's third annual
        Because I Am A Girl Report, 2009.

    Media materials can be downloaded at
    ftp://BIAAG:plan@veritascanada.com

    User Name: plan@veritascanada.com
    Password: BIAAG
    Host: ftp.veritascanada.com

    Instructions:
    - right click on start
    - left click on explore
    - copy and paste link to the address field then enter
    - enter username and password

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/


For further information: For additional information on the event and available photo opportunities, please contact Lisa An, Veritas Communications, T: (416) 955-4587, C: (647) 292-2478, E: an@veritascanada.com