Three outstanding volunteers receive inaugural State Farm Good Neighbour
Award, presented by

$75,000 donation to on winners' behalf

TORONTO, April 19 /CNW/ -, Canada's national charity for youth development, and State Farm Canada are pleased to announce the winners of the first-ever State Farm Good Neighbour Award, presented by, in recognition of outstanding volunteer commitment to mentoring Canadian youth.

"Kids, parents and school representatives are always telling us how phenomenal the coach-mentors are, and how much of an impact they make on program participants," explains Janet King, president and founder, "This award recognizes and supports the work of these dedicated volunteers who make a positive difference in the lives of youth in their neighbourhood schools through the program."

Winners are being recognized this week, National Volunteer Week (April 18 - 24), via a presentation at the school where they volunteer. A $25,000 contribution will be made to by State Farm Canada on behalf of each of the three winners.

"As a good neighbour, we are dedicated to volunteering in the communities where our employees live and work," says Barbara Bellissimo, senior vice president, State Farm Canada. "State Farm is proud to partner with to recognize the outstanding volunteers who are dedicated to mentoring our Canadian youth and helping them build the skills to become tomorrow's leaders."

Winning coach-mentors best exemplify's coaching principles, which include a willingness to listen and share; reliability and trustworthiness; patience and understanding; and a commitment to making a positive difference in kids' lives. The winners are:

    -   Rakhee Sawhney is a two-time coach-mentor who delivered the
        program at St. Hillary Catholic School and St. Gertrude Catholic
        School in Mississauga, ON in 2009. Rakhee learned about the
        opportunity to volunteer with through her workplace, TD
        Canada Trust. Rakhee's commitment to and respect for the kids in her
        programs were evident in comments from those who nominated her. One
        of the kids in her program explains "Rakhee made us all feel welcome
        and important...I look up to her as a GREAT (sic) role model."

    -   Mark Guilbeault is a State Farm Agent who coached at McKay Public
        School in Port Colborne, Ontario and shared his experiences as a
        mentor in the program via a weekly blog throughout the fall/winter
        2009 program on the site
        ( According
        to his school champion: "Mark is extremely dedicated to the students
        and they greatly respected him and appreciated the time they spent
        with him."

    -   Lits Kong has always loved working with kids and teaching new skills.
        She was a coach-mentor at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic
        School and David Leeder Middle School in Mississauga, ON in 2009.
        Lits was chosen as a State Farm Good Neighbour Award winner for her
        hard work and dedication to the program. As one nominator put it
        "Lits' hard work and dedication was really evident...she handled the
        class as if it was her full-time position."

All volunteer coach-mentors who participated in's leadership and life-success skills programs during the 2009 season were eligible for the award. Candidates could be nominated by anyone who has knowledge of the nominee's coach-mentoring activities, and the extent to which the nominee exemplifies's coaching principles. Nominations were evaluated by a selection committee comprised of State Farm and representatives. The names of both the nominator and nominee were removed from the forms, prior to being sent to judges to ensure impartiality.

For more information on the State Farm Good Neighbour Award, presented by, please visit

About is Canada's national charity for youth development. For over a decade, we've been coaching kids to make positive choices by building self-confidence, leadership abilities, and life-success skills through free, in-school, afterschool programs. Led by fully trained, volunteer coach-mentors, the educator-endorsed program focuses on teaching youth goal setting, effective communications, and other valuable skills that last a lifetime.

About State Farm

State Farm(R) has been serving Canadians since 1938. It is the fourth largest auto insurer, and seventh largest property and casualty insurer in Canada. State Farm's over 540 Canadian agents and 1500 employees provide insurance and financial services including mutual funds, life insurance, vehicle loans, critical illness, disability, home and auto insurance to our customers in Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick.


For further information: For further information: Karen Benner, Director of Communications,, office: (416) 465-7277, cell: (647) 588-7277, email:; John Bordignon, Media Specialist, State Farm Canada, office: (905) 750-5567, cell: (905) 801-6078, email:

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