Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada Gets Priceless Boost from MasterCard



    
    MasterCard Canada to sponsor In-School Mentoring program, run
    'Priceless' TV and national print advertising to drive donations and
    recruitment of volunteers
    

    TORONTO, Sept. 24 /CNW/ - MasterCard Canada today announced that it is
providing Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (BBBSC) with marketing and
funding support to help raise awareness of BBBSC's In-School Mentoring program
and its urgent need for more mentors. MasterCard Canada employees are also
getting involved by volunteering for various BBBSC programs.
    Currently, more than 10,000 children in Canada are waiting be matched
with a mentor. In addition to the financial gift, MasterCard is also producing
print and TV advertising using its award-winning 'Priceless' theme to drive
donations and encourage volunteers to get involved with the program.
    BBBSC's In-School Mentoring program brings together children in need with
adult volunteers. Each volunteer mentor is matched with one child and they get
together for one hour per week at the child's school during the school year.
The exposure to a positive adult influence and the opportunity to talk through
problems or just spend time together is invaluable to the child's esteem and
development.
    "As part of MasterCard Canada's ongoing efforts to make a difference in
our local communities, we saw an opportunity to support a great organization
such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and help ensure that every child in Canada
who needs a mentor will have one," says Kevin Stanton, President, MasterCard
Canada. "Not only is MasterCard funding Priceless ads to raise awareness about
Big Brothers Big Sisters' need for volunteers, our employees are also getting
involved and becoming mentors."

    
    BBBSC research demonstrates the positive impact of the in-school mentoring
program:

    -   90 per cent of mentors report positive changes in the child
    -   88 per cent of students showed improved literacy skills
    -   64 per cent had developed higher levels of self-esteem
    

    "We're thrilled to have such a long-standing and committed partner in
MasterCard. Hopefully their actions will inspire other organizations to do the
same," says Bruce MacDonald, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters
Canada. "Our research shows that in-school mentoring can have a big impact on
a child. A little bit of time from your schedule can make a huge difference."
    "I was about nine years old when I was matched with Elaine," says former
"Little" Vivienne Reid from Oakville, Ontario. "At first I was very reluctant
to participate but at the same time I was in an abusive family and needed the
support so I welcomed the referral. Elaine made me feel as if I truly had a
friend, she would listen to my problems and would spend time with me roasting
pumpkin seeds after we would design and carve the pumpkin, and would...make me
feel as if all of my problems were swept away, if only for a moment. Although
I am currently a 30 year old and mother to children of my own, I often think
of Elaine and still have a picture of us in my home."
    The benefit of the program is not just felt by the child. The mentors get
a great sense of accomplishment by making a difference in another person's
life.
    "I wanted to do something constructive with my free time, so that's when
I decided to get involved with BBBSC as a Big and an In-school Mentor. The
time spent with my Littles was fantastic, and I saw first hand what a BIG
difference sharing a little bit of time can make," says Andrew Price, a former
"Big" from Halifax, Nova Scotia. "So, the question that anyone interested in
joining BBBSC should ask themselves is - how much is time worth to you? If you
need help answering this question, then just talk to a Big or a Little and
they'll tell you - it's priceless!"
    A 'Priceless' print ad promoting the In-School Mentoring Program is
currently appearing nationally to coincide with the start of the school year,
while a TV advertisement will run later this fall in both English and French
and will encourage consumers to make a donation to BBBSC during the key
holiday spending period.

    About Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada

    Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada is the nation's largest youth mentoring
organization providing quality adult mentoring services for 20,000 children in
more than 900 communities. For more than ninety years Big Brothers Big Sisters
organizations in your community have been there to help provide a positive
influence in the life of a child when one is needed.
    Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada believes in a future where Every Child
In Canada Who Needs A Mentor Has A Mentor. Join our effort to help Canadian
children and youth, visit www.sharealittlemagic.ca to find out how you or your
organization can get involved.

    About MasterCard Worldwide

    MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical
economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and
merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard
develops and markets payment solutions, processes over 18 billion transactions
each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to
financial institution customers and merchants. Through its family of brands,
including MasterCard(R), Maestro(R) and Cirrus(R), MasterCard serves consumers
and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more
information go to www.mastercard.com.

    
    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/
    




For further information:

For further information: For MasterCard Canada: Don Blair, Olivia Yu,
dblair@environicspr.com, oyu@environicspr.com, (416) 969-2726, (416) 969-2718;
For Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada: Bruce MacDonald, bmacdonald@bbbsc.ca,
(905) 639-0461 ext. 18

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