Raise-A-Reader Day: Wednesday, September 24



    Working toward a more literate Canada

    WINNIPEG, Sept. 18 /CNW/ - The Winnipeg Free Press joins newspapers
across Canada for Raise-a-Reader Day in support of family literacy.
    On September 24, hundreds of volunteers - including local celebrities,
sponsors, and literacy beneficiaries - will blanket Winnipeg streets, high
pedestrian traffic areas, bus and coffee stops, and the drive-thru lineups of
select McDonald's restaurants. They'll be trading special-edition copies of
the Winnipeg Free Press and National Post for donations to Canwest
Raise-a-Reader.

    
    Why?
    -   More than 40% of Canadian adults have literacy skills below the level
        needed to succeed in today's society and economy.
    -   100% of the money collected on Raise-a-Reader Day stays in our
        community, distributed through the Canwest Foundation to local
        literacy programs, including Literacy Partners of Manitoba and CNIB.
    -   Canwest Global and the Winnipeg Free Press provide the time and
        resources to carry out the program so that every penny donated on
        Raise-a-Reader Day goes to our beneficiaries.

    Among the volunteers out on city streets next week:
        Leonard Asper, President and CEO, Canwest Global Communications Corp.
        Gail Asper, President, Canwest Foundation
        Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University
        of Winnipeg
        Bob Cox, Publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press
        Peter Chura and Joe Pascucci (Global Winnipeg)
        Thomas Steen, former Winnipeg Jets great
        Barrin Simpson and Joe Lobendahn, Blue Bombers
        Buzz & Boomer, and more!
    

    "Winnipeg is the volunteer capital of Canada because the people here know
how to support important social causes and believe in giving back. I applaud
those who are joining us on Raise-a-Reader Day and encourage everyone to come
and get your paper from us next Wednesday morning, and make a donation," said
Gail Asper, President of the Canwest Foundation.
    Volunteers hope their early-morning enthusiasm will raise over $30,000 -
helping set a new record for one-day money-raising efforts in support of local
literacy programs.
    Reading is a gift - You can give it.

    
    Joining the Winnipeg Free Press on Raise-a-Reader Day, in communities
across the country, are newspapers in the following 27 cities:

    Vancouver Island                        BC Mainland
    ----------------                        -----------
    Victoria Times  Colonist                Vancouver      The Vancouver Sun
    Port Alberni    Alberni Valley Times    Kelowna        Kelowna Daily
    Nanaimo         Nanaimo Daily News                     Courier
    Ucluelet        Westerly News           Penticton      Penticton Herald
                                            Prince George  Prince George
                                                           Citizen
                                            Kamloops       Kamloops Daily
                                                           News

    Alberta                                 Saskatchewan
    -------                                 ------------
    Calgary         Calgary Herald          Regina         Leader-Post
    Edmonton        Edmonton Journal        Saskatoon      The StarPhoenix
    Lethbridge      Lethbridge Herald

    Ontario                                 Quebec
    -------                                 ------
    Windsor         The Windsor Star        Montreal       The Gazette/Le
    Hamilton        Hamilton Spectator                     Devoir
    Toronto         National Post
    Ottawa          Ottawa Citizen

    Nova Scotia                             Newfoundland
    -----------                             ------------
    Halifax         The Chronicle Herald    St. John's     The Telegram
    Sydney          Cape Breton Post

    New Brunswick                           Prince Edward Island
    -------------                           --------------------
    Saint John      Telegraph-Journal       Charlottetown  The Guardian
    Moncton         Times & Transcript      Summerside     Journal Pioneer
    Fredericton     Daily Gleaner



    Background

    -   Canwest Raise-a-Reader (RAR) is an award-winning national program
        designed to increase awareness and collect funds/resources to support
        family literacy programs. All of the money raised through Raise-a-
        Reader is donated to local literacy and educational organizations and
        stays in the community where it is collected.

    -   The campaign is a year-round initiative with important fundraising
        events taking place throughout the year in 28 cities across Canada,
        highlighted by an annual fundraising event in the early Fall: Canwest
        Raise-a-Reader Day which happens on Wednesday, September 24 this
        year.

    -   Thousands of volunteers, including sports and entertainment
        personalities, newspaper and television employees, sponsors and
        beneficiaries take to the city streets and high-traffic locations to
        exchange special-edition newspapers for donations to the
        Raise-a-Reader cause.

    -   Since its national launch in 2002, the Canwest Raise-a-Reader
        campaign has raised over $10 million for family literacy programs
        across Canada. The program was initiated by The Vancouver Sun and
        originally ran as an isolated fundraiser in British Columbia. Today,
        the campaign is TRULY national - with representation by newspapers in
        all ten (10) provinces and the celebration of RAR Day in cities from
        Ucluelet, BC to St. John's, NL.

    -   Nearly all of the newspaper partners also support Canwest Canspell, a
        national grassroots initiative designed to celebrate and reward
        literacy skills by encouraging academic excellence and positive study
        habits through school-level, regional and national spelling bees
        across the country.

    -   Raise-A-Reader and Canwest Canspell are complementary literacy
        programs: RAR engages and fosters reading for children in their
        formative pre-school and early-school years, while Canspell takes the
        power of words and literacy a step further by rewarding academic
        achievement for youth in Grades 4-8. Both programs focus on families
        and children and encourage reading skills.

    -   Funds raised to support literacy initiatives in each participating
        market for the Raise-a-Reader program come from several sources
        including national and local sponsorships, ongoing fundraising such
        as coin-box retail placement, book drives, the new Raise-a-Reader
        Concert Series and other local events and campaigns, and of course
        the one-day exchange of special-edition newspapers for donations on
        RAR Day.

    -   Generous support for RAR nationally includes: Assante Wealth
        Management, 7-Eleven Canada Inc., and Scholastic Canada Ltd. Numerous
        local sponsors in every market enhance the program with funding and
        goods-in-kind services.

    -   Last fall, Canadian music superstar, Michael Bublé, launched the
        Canwest Raise-a-Reader Concert Series with the announcement of his
        sixteen-city tour. Bublé's Concert Series dates sold out across the
        country in record time, with partial ticket proceeds donated to the
        Raise-a-Reader national fundraising program.

    -   Since then, Grammy award-winning songstress Anne Murray and musical
        legend James Taylor followed Bublé's lead, donating partial ticket
        sales of their latest concert tours through the Canwest
        Raise-a-Reader Concert Series.
    





For further information:

For further information: Lynne Munro, VP, Community & Public Affairs,
Canwest Global Communications Corp., T: (204) 953-7765, lmunro@canwest.com

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