Sears Canada helps Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada provide kids with a safe and positive alternative to the streets through After-School Grants



    27 Clubs across Canada to each receive $10,000 for after-school programs
    and activities

    MARKHAM, ON, Sept. 9 /CNW/ - Sears Canada will contribute $277,700 to
Boys and Girls Clubs across Canada for the 2008-09 school year as part of its
Sears After-School Enhancement Grants program. Twenty-seven Boys and Girls
Clubs across Canada will each receive $10,000 that will enable them to provide
a safe, fun and enriching after-school alternative to the streets for
thousands of local children and youth. Two additional Clubs will also receive
a significant Sears donation under the Sears After-School Enhancement Grants
program for special Club enhancements for delivering after-school programs.
    The Sears After-School Enhancement Grants are a national initiative of
Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC) in partnership with Sears Canada. With
the grants, the Clubs will be able to expand existing after-school programs
that comprise a wide range of activities and services, and create new
after-school programs to help families and communities in need of support.
    Many children and youth in Canada don't have a parent at home waiting to
greet them after the school day ends. Young people with nowhere to go are more
likely to get into trouble with the law, drop out of school, and engage in
destructive and potentially criminal behaviours. They are also at greater risk
for poor mental and physical health.
    According to the Canadian Council on Social Development (2005), 80% of
mothers of school-aged children are employed outside the home (an increase of
42% in 25 years). Roughly 25% of boys and 20% of girls are home alone after
school by Grade 7. Young people are most likely to be bullied after school and
most likely to engage in unsupervised Internet use. The average child spends
67 hours of discretionary time each week - more hours than they spend in
school.
    In Reaching for the Top: A Report by the Advisor on Healthy Children &
Youth (2008), Dr. Kellie Leitch cites the Sears After-School Enhancement
Grants program as a best practice model. The report also calls on the federal
government to play a leadership role in encouraging healthy activities during
the after-school time period, especially among children and youth from lower-
to middle-income families.
    "The after-school hours are a critical time for children who are
unsupervised and have nowhere safe to go," said Pam Jolliffe, President and
CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. "With the help of caring adult mentors,
Boys and Girls Clubs after-school programs can offer these kids a positive
place where they can participate in activities that help nurture their
personal, social, physical and academic development."
    Many thousands of children, youth and their families have benefited from
the Sears After-School Enhancement Grants. A survey conducted by Ipsos Reid in
2005 revealed that 69% of alumni said that their involvement with Boys and
Girls Clubs saved their lives. Research shows that young people who are
involved in after-school programs have improved educational success; enhanced
self-esteem; better peer and family relations; and increased positive mental
and physical health.
    "Sears Canada is proud of its more than 40-year partnership with Boys and
Girls Clubs of Canada," said Eliana Cugini, Manager, Corporate Communications,
Sears Canada. "We are committed to helping kids gain access to opportunities
that enable them to build confidence and skills, overcome personal challenges,
and achieve their true potential."
    Since 2001, Sears Canada has contributed nearly $2 million to support the
positive growth of children and youth by investing in enriching and rewarding
Boys and Girls Club after-school programs for children and youth.

    
    Boys and Girls Clubs in the following communities will receive a 2008-2009
After-School Enhancement Grant:

    AB:   Brooks and District, Calgary, Lethbridge, Saddle Lake and
          Wainwright
    BC:   Central Vancouver Island, Greater Vancouver, Greater Victoria and
          Kamloops
    NB:   Grand Manan, Moncton and Petitcodiac
    NL:   Gander, St. Anthony and St. John's
    NS:   Cole Harbour, East Dartmouth and Spryfield
    MB:   Thompson
    ON:   Albion, Brantford, Niagara, Peel and West Scarborough
    PEI:  Charlottetown
    QC:   Dawson and Lachine
    SK:   Regina and Saskatoon
    

    About Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

    Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada is a leading, national provider of
programs to children and youth that support the healthy physical, educational
and social development of close to 200,000 young people and their families
each year. In 700 community locations across Canada, clubs offer after-school
programs in physical recreation, technology, the arts, literacy, personal
growth and more. Many clubs also provide meals, emergency shelter, family
support programs and other support to children, youth and families at risk.
Boys and Girls Clubs have been helping young Canadians to discover, develop
and achieve their potential for over 100 years. To learn more, visit
www.bgccan.com.

    About Sears Canada

    Sears Canada is a multi-channel retailer with a network of 196 corporate
stores, 179 dealer stores, 61 home improvement showrooms, over 1,800 catalogue
merchandise pick-up locations, 106 Sears Travel offices and a nationwide home
maintenance, repair, and installation network. The Company also publishes
Canada's most extensive general merchandise catalogue and offers shopping
online at www.sears.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Carol Davies, Director of
Communications, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, (905) 477-7272 ext. 234,
cdavies@bgccan.com; Eliana Cugini, Manager of Corporate Communications, Sears
Canada, (416) 941-4426, ecugini@sears.ca


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