"Phones for Change" to give at-risk & homeless youth in Vancouver and
Winnipeg access to Virgin Mobile phones without the worry of debt
VANCOUVER, Oct. 4, 2012 /CNW/ - Virgin Mobile Canada and Virgin Unite,
the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, were joined by Sir
Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, today to pilot a new
program for homeless and at-risk youth. The program, Phones For Change, will work with two youth-serving organizations, Vancouver's Broadway
Youth Resource Centre (BYRC) and Winnipeg's Resource Assistance for
Youth (RaY), to give at-risk and homeless youth access to Virgin Mobile
phones and plans while educating them on the importance of financial
management and how to escape the cycle of debt.
"I've always said that we should be using our businesses to create a
lasting impact in this world - and this program does just that," said
Sir Richard, founder of the Virgin Group. "With at-risk and homeless
youth having so much to go without, a mobile phone is more than just an
accessory - it's their lifeline to employment and services."
Introduced this morning in Vancouver with Sir Richard the Phones For Change program teaches transitioning youth how to develop life and financial
management skills. Youth nominated by each organization will receive a
Virgin Mobile phone that offers a method of contact with employers,
potential landlords, friends and support services. The pilot program
will run for one year in Vancouver and Winnipeg with the goal of
expanding to more markets in 2013.
"Our goal with Phones For Change is to improve the lives of at-risk and homeless youth," says Andrew
Bridge, managing director, Virgin Mobile Canada. "When we heard from
our partners that phones can be such a lifeline for youth, it just made
sense to find a way to help and build a program that could address
this. As we see the impact that this pilot program can create, we hope
to expand it even further in coming years."
Using phones to make a difference
In the coming months, youth from each organization will be screened for
eligibility. Once nominated, youth receive a Virgin Mobile phone which
includes a low cost monthly plan to meet their specific needs. While
the plans are provided free of charge by Virgin Mobile, each
organization will set up monthly bills that the youth are responsible
for. The local organization will then use those monthly payments to
contribute to the youth's pre-existing debt.
In addition to providing the phones and services, Virgin Mobile & Virgin
Unite's RE*Generation will make social investments in each organization
to support financial training and personal budgeting programs. While
youth who are part of Phones for Change are asked to participate in these programs, the training program will
be open to any youth who work with the local organization.
"Phones For Change can open new doors for youth involved in our program," said Jocelyn
Helland, manager of the Broadway Youth Resource Centre. "At Broadway
Youth Resource Centre, we offer almost every kind of support for
at-risk and homeless youth; and now we can add financial literacy and
debt support to the mix. With this program, they will get the support
and tools they need to move on to the bigger and brighter futures they
"The opportunity Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Mobile are providing for
RaY is a wonderful example of how working together as a global village
can make needed change in the world," said Kelly Holmes, executive
director, Resource Assistance for Youth. "This not only gives street
youth a lifeline to safety, but also an opportunity to learn financial
literacy. Our thanks goes out to Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Unite and
Virgin Mobile for thinking outside the box."
Virgin Mobile's RE*Generation Movement
In early 2008, Virgin Mobile Canada and Virgin Unite, the non-profit
foundation of the Virgin group of companies, joined together to create
the RE*Generation movement and empower a generation to help its own.
The RE*Generation brings together organizations that care about
Canada's homeless and at-risk youth and connects them with people who
want to help. RE*Generation is a movement to support solutions to youth
homelessness and support at-risk youth programs in Canada. To date,
more than $1.5 million has been raised and dispersed to leading youth
serving agencies across the country through programs such as Change for
a Dollar, limited edition Samsung RE*Generation phones and ongoing
RE*Generation benefit concerts. The RE*Generation movement is working
with a number of Canadian charitable partners to help get kids off the
streets and onto a path for a brighter future. For more information
visit http://www.virginunite.com or go to www.virginmobile.ca/regen to sign up and join the movement.
About Virgin Mobile Canada
Virgin Mobile Canada rewards, entertains and connects like no one else,
delivering the super-hot phones on the blazing fast 4G network. Virgin
Mobile Members also get benefits like exclusive VIP access and deals
and award-winning service. 91% of Members would also recommend Virgin
Mobile to a friend.
The Virgin Mobile group of companies has attracted more than 18 million
customers worldwide. Virgin Mobile phones are available at more than
4,000 locations nationally including The Source, Virgin Mobile retail
locations and additional retail partners. Virgin Mobile products can
also be purchased online or by calling 1-888-999-2321. Get personal with Virgin Mobile Canada on
Facebook and Twitter.
About Virgin Unite
Virgin Unite is the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group. We unite
people and entrepreneurial ideas to reinvent how we live and work in
the world to help make people's lives better. Our aim is to do our bit
to revolutionize the way businesses, government and the social sector
work together - driving business as a force for good. We also incubate
new, independent approaches to leadership including the Elders, the
Carbon War Room, and the Branson Centres of Entrepreneurship. Virgin
Unite's overheads are covered by Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin
Group, meaning that 100% of donations received go direct to the
frontline where they are needed most. Join us at www.virginunite.com, follow us @virginunite and like us at facebook/virginunite.
Image with caption: "(L-R) Jocelyn Helland, manager of the Broadway Youth Resource Centre (BYRC), Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, and Andrew Bridge, managing director, Virgin Mobile Canada together launched a new RE*Generation pilot program, Phones For Change, today in Vancouver. The program, initiated by Virgin Mobile Canada for RE*Generation and Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, will work with both Vancouver's BYRC and Winnipeg's Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY), to give at-risk and homeless youth access to Virgin Mobile phones and plans - giving them a method of contact with employers, potential landlords, friends and support services. (Photo credit: Richard Lam) (CNW Group/Virgin Mobile Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121004_C4243_PHOTO_EN_18936.jpg
SOURCE: Virgin Mobile Canada
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