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PLEA wins $1-m VanCity award.

Vancouver--PLEA Community Services Society of BC won the $1-million Vancity Award for its mentoring program for young people vulnerable to crime, addiction and exploitation.

The program is for children aged 6+ who are vulnerable to high-risk activity, such as problems at school, associating with the "wrong crowd," attracting police attention, being in and out of foster care, demonstrate negative attitudes, or be uncommunicative. Many have engaged in criminal activity, but are too young to be charged.

Through the program, the children are matched with adult volunteers who build a relationship with them, act as positive role models, and help them build self-esteem and get on the path to success.

The funds will be used to purchase a site for a KidStart Mentoring Centre, program expansion in Greater Vancouver and for the expansion of the program to Victoria and Campbell River.

The centre will bring all of KidStart's Lower Mainland services under one roof, allowing them to hire additional staff to support the training of volunteers and the matching of volunteers and young people. The centre will also act as a resource and reference centre for best practices in mentoring programs for at-risk children. The program is expected to help thousands of children. .

Vancity, Canada's largest credit union, established the award to support the social, environmental and economic well-being of the community. The award, the largest corporate gift of its kind in Canada, is available to non-profit groups in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Victoria areas of British Columbia. The funds for the award come from a percentage of Vancity profits set aside each year for community initiatives.

PLEA was chosen from four finalists by Vancity members who voted by ballot, online and over the phone. The other three finalists included: the Crisis Intervention & Suicide Prevention Centre of BC for expansion of its groundbreaking www.youthinbc.com program; the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver for the creation of a centre for children of offenders; and Our Place for the construction of a new centre for Victoria's disadvantaged. www.plea.bc.ca.
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Title Annotation:PLEA Community Services Society of BC
Publication:Community Action
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 23, 2006
Words:342
Previous Article:Not all available volunteers are used, study says.
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