HomeNews & EventsNEWS ARCHIVEStandard Life and Big Brothers Big Sisters use GPS technology to "map" a better future for kids

Standard Life and Big Brothers Big Sisters use GPS technology to "map" a better future for kids

Burlington, Ontario, September 3, 2009 – September is Big Brothers Big Sisters month and, to celebrate and raise funds, the charity is teaming up with The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada to dare the country’s corporate employees to be kids again by participating in a series of unique geocaching events planned for September 11 in Toronto and Montreal.

Called Standard Life’s Big Search, the two geocaching events are high-tech games of hide and seek in which corporate teams search out containers of treasure hidden in urban landscapes using a GPS unit and a list of latitude and longitude coordinates. Standard Life’s Big Search marks one of the first times that geocaching has been applied to a Canadian fundraising campaign.

The geocaching events are part of Big Brothers Big Sister’s Dare to be a kid again campaign, which challenges Canadians to rekindle the wonder of childhood in their lives by volunteering to mentor a Little Brother or Little Sister.

Standard Life is leveraging its business network to help Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada to engage over 60 teams to participate in these imaginative geocaching events. All funds raised will go towards the recruitment of 10,000 new mentor volunteers through promotion of the need for volunteer mentors over the next 10 years. This is over and above funding The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada has already committed to this campaign.

“Standard Life is putting its heart and soul into the cause of youth mentor recruitment, says Bruce MacDonald, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada. “The contributions of Standard Life employees and stakeholders – through volunteerism and donations – will enable us to inspire a new generation of volunteer mentors and donors and ensure that every child in Canada who needs a mentor has one.”

Across Canada, the number of children and teenagers in need of a mentor far exceeds the number of available “Bigs”. There are currently 10,000 kids on waiting lists across Canada and some have to wait as long as two years to be matched with a mentor. Big Brother and Big Sister mentors have proven to be instrumental in reducing bullying, truancy, early school leaving and substance abuse.

Geocaching is a fast-growing, fun and highly exciting outdoor recreational activity for all ages in which participants use a Global Positioning System receiver to hide and seek containers anywhere in the world or in a pre-selected area. Geocaching can be likened to a high-tech treasure hunt, sharing many aspects with orienteering and waymarking.

Standard Life elected to use the fun and excitement of geocaching to create a different kind of corporate fundraiser that would attract participants and draw attention to the pressing need for volunteer mentors in today’s difficult fundraising environment.

Individuals wanting to learn more about becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister can visit www.beakidagain.ca.  

“The Dare to be a kid again campaign and Standard Life’s Big Search fundraisers are about helping children get the guidance they need and enabling adults to recapture the magic of childhood by spending a little bit of time as a Big Brother or Big Sister,” says Joseph Iannicelli, Standard Life’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “The people and stakeholders of Standard Life are mobilizing to advance the cause of mentoring, and we invite, no, we dare Canadians from all walks of life to join us. Check out www.beakidagain.ca. Together, we can build better futures for our children.”

About Standard Life
With 2,000 employees based at its corporate headquarters in Montreal and in other major business centres across Canada, The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada provides asset managing services for retirement, investment and protection to 1.3 million Canadians, including group insurance and pension plan participants. The company is a member of Standard Life plc, a major international financial services group headquartered in Scotland. www.standardlife.ca

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada is the nation’s largest youth mentoring organization, providing quality adult mentoring services for over 26,000 children. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada currently has 140 agencies serving more than 1,000 communities, and yet more must be done, as some children still have to wait up to two years for a Big Brother or Big Sister. www.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca  
- 30 -

Impact of Mentoring