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Press release from CNW Group

Introducing We365 - the first digital platform to inspire social good in youth

Friday, October 18, 2013

Introducing We365 - the first digital platform to inspire social good in youth

09:00 EDT Friday, October 18, 2013

Free the Children and TELUS partner to inspire young people to give back with new smartphone app

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VANCOUVER, Oct. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, in front of 18,000 youth and educators at the youth empowerment and educational event We Day Vancouver, Free The Children and TELUS introduced We365, a first of its kind digital platform (in combination of functionality) for young people, making it easier than ever to make positive change in communities, locally and globally.We365 is a one-stop-shop for youth to take action, providing a central hub to collect and track volunteer hours, applaud and reward young world-changers, encourage social activism and help them connect with other like-minded, young individuals. For every sign-up from now until April 2014, Free The Children will immunize a child in its Adopt a Village communities overseas. Immunizations are crucial to preventing illnesses and enabling youth to grow up healthy and strong. In addition, every person who registers for We365 between September 20 and December 31, 2013, will be entered for a chance to win a $10,000 gift to their charity of choice* from TELUS.

"We reached out to individuals and organizations - ranging from youth and educators, to guidance counselors and local charities - gathering their valuable insight and feedback to ensure we were creating the right platform, accessible and functional to all," said Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children. "Together with TELUS, we created a space for young people to inspire and be inspired by other like-minded young people, 365 days a year.  With TELUS' dedication towards helping us create a safe and positive online space, coupled with its innovative ideas and commitment to service, We365 is truly going to help revolutionize the way youth create positive change."

"Young people today have the commitment and passion to change the world. TELUS is excited to continue to build upon our existing partnership with Free The Children and our investment in youth through We365 - an innovative new platform that celebrates and nurtures a like-minded community spirit," said Jill Schnarr, Vice President of Community Affairs, TELUS.  "Through We365, TELUS is combining the power of technology with the popularity of social media, and will engage kids with online challenges throughout the year, inviting them to take action to better their communities, in the process, giving them a chance to win access to exclusive events, as well as scholarships and charity grants."

An initiative of Free The Children and TELUS, We365 is a free, cause-agnostic platform, available as a mobile app or online (www.we365.com). Users can create personal profiles, enabling them to find friends or other like-minded individuals to connect with. For instance, students can log-in between classes and take 30 seconds to see what activities friends are engaged in, or 'like' a new cause or upload a photo of a fellow student organizing a bake sale for charity.  What's more, users will have access to feature stories, videos and photographs that give life to the issues they care about most, seamlessly through the digital platform, courtesy of The Globe and Mail, We365's official Media Content partner in Canada.

"The Globe and Mail is very pleased to be the official Canadian Media Content partner for We365," says John Stackhouse, editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail. "With eight foreign bureaus, including a new bureau in Brazil, we are more committed than ever to bringing Canadians the stories that must be told, and to facilitating the discussions that must be had, to make positive change both locally and globally."

We365 is easy to use with five key features:

  • Causes & Challenges - We365 connects users with more than 60 causes they are passionate about, such as the environment, animal welfare, education and anti-bullying. Challenges are the actions users take to help support the causes they care most about.
  • The Action Dial - this interactive dial allows users to take online and real-life challenges through photos, status updates or check-ins. Challenges range from simple daily online actions to weekly tasks with a real world impact. It can be as simple as posting a photo of a person picking up litter, donating lunch money, or volunteering at a local animal shelter.
  • Volunteer Tracking - In recent years, many school boards have committed to service learning and volunteering to enrich the student experience. The Volunteer Tracking feature helps students, educators and organizations track and verify hours that can be leveraged to build their social impact portfolio for school purposes, résumés and university applications.
  • Personal Fundraising Pages - Users can create personal fundraising pages for charities or causes they are most passionate about, with access to 85,000 registered charities in Canada. What's more, with special thanks to RBC, the new platform will empower financial literacy, supporting personal fundraising pages and providing relevant causes/challenges to help young people gain a stronger understanding of money matters.
  • Gamification and Badges - Users are recognized by earning points for the completion of challenges, volunteer hours, and fundraising dollars. Users with high scores can be rewarded with badges that will be displayed on their profiles to celebrate their impact.

The free We365 digital platform is a safe environment for like-minded young people to connect and share ways they are making a positive difference in the world, together. Students under 13 can join with parental guidance. Their privacy is protected, with limited connectivity to other users, and parents are sent regular email updates on their child's activity. Youth over 13 have unlimited access to the social space to connect, track their mandatory school volunteer hours, and share their social impact on other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

With the introduction of the We365 app, it is important to ensure that kids are engaging in online activities safely. With that in mind, TELUS WISE and TELUS WISE Footprint Internet safety programs for youth will be integrated into the We365 app. TELUS WISE is a unique educational program focusing on Internet and smartphone safety that helps keep families safer from online criminal activity such as financial fraud and cyberbullying. This program is available as a free resource to all Canadian families. Visit www.telus.com/wise for more information.

In addition, We365 has been awarded the Parent Tested Parent Approved (PTPA) Winner's Seal of Approval. PTPA Media has North America's largest volunteer parent testing community, with over 60,000 parents and was rated the Most Trusted Seal by 22,000 parents.

We365 is globally available on www.we365.com. It will also be available for free download on BlackBerry®, Android™** and IOS through BlackBerry World, Google Play and the Apple App Store.  A French version of the digital platform will be available later this fall.

Photos of We365 - http://bit.ly/1esmfF2
Hi-res downloadable We365 broll - http://bit.ly/1gLVFJ0
We365 Backgrounder - http://bit.ly/1bXwcgd

* Must be a registered Canadian charity and cannot be registered as a religious organization.
**Android is a trademark of Google Inc.

About Free The Children
Free The Children is an international charity and educational partner. Founded in 1995 by international activist Craig Kielburger, Free The Children believes in a world where young people are free to achieve their fullest potential, and empowers youth to remove barriers that prevent them from being active local and global citizens. The organization's domestic programs—which includes We Day, Free The Children's signature youth empowerment event—educate, engage and empower 1.7 million young people across North America, the UK and around the world to become engaged global citizens. Its international projects have brought more than 650 schools and school rooms to youth and provided clean water and sanitation, health care and food security to one million people around the world, freeing children and their families from the cycle of poverty.

The organization has received the World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child, the Human Rights Award from the World Association of Non‐Governmental Organizations, and has formed successful partnerships with leading school boards and Oprah's Angel Network. For more information, visit www.freethechildren.com

About TELUS 
TELUS (TSX: T, NYSE: TU) is a leading national telecommunications company in Canada, with $11 billion of annual revenue and 13.2 million customer connections, including 7.7 million wireless subscribers, 3.4 million wireline network access lines, 1.4 million Internet subscribers and 712,000 TELUS TV customers. Led since 2000 by President and CEO, Darren Entwistle, TELUS provides a wide range of communications products and services, including wireless, data, Internet protocol (IP), voice, television, entertainment and video.

In support of our philosophy to give where we live, TELUS, our team members and retirees have contributed more than $300 million to charitable and not-for-profit organizations and volunteered 4.8 million hours of service to local communities since 2000. Fourteen TELUS Community Boards lead TELUS' local philanthropic initiatives. TELUS was honoured to be named the most outstanding philanthropic corporation globally for 2010 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, becoming the first Canadian company to receive this prestigious international recognition.

For more information about TELUS, please visit telus.com.

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Image with caption: "An initiative of Free The Children and TELUS, We365 is a free mobile app and website that enables young people to track and verify their volunteer activities for school, as well as provide the tools needed to fundraise, take action, and amplify messages for thousands of different charities. (CNW Group/TELUS Corporation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131018_C5068_PHOTO_EN_32219.jpg

Image with caption: "An initiative of Free The Children and TELUS, We365 is a free mobile app and website that enables young people to track and verify their volunteer activities for school, as well as provide the tools needed to fundraise, take action, and amplify messages for thousands of different charities. (CNW Group/TELUS Corporation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131018_C5068_PHOTO_EN_32220.jpg

Image with caption: "An initiative of Free The Children and TELUS, We365 is a free mobile app and website that enables young people to track and verify their volunteer activities for school, as well as provide the tools needed to fundraise, take action, and amplify messages for thousands of different charities. (CNW Group/TELUS Corporation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131018_C5068_PHOTO_EN_32221.jpg

SOURCE: TELUS Corporation

For further information:

Julia Thomas, PR Manager
Free The Children
julia.thomas@freethechildren.com
T: (416) 738-8702

Donna Ramirez
TELUS Social and Media Relations
donna.ramirez@telus.com
(416) 320-9309

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