• Press Release - November 30, 2015

    Right To Play, Microsoft expand Canadian First Nations youth empowerment program to British Columbia


    VA​NCOUVER, CANADA (November 30, 2015) – Right To Play today announced a gift of $3,000,000 USD from Microsoft to expand the Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program into British Columbia.

    The PLAY program is the flagship program for Right To Play in Canada and this expansion underscores both Microsoft and the Toronto-based international development organization's commitment to the well-being of First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) children and youth in Canada. Working in collaboration with 24 FNMI communities in the province, the PLAY program aims to reach more than 3,000 FNMI youth over the next three years.​

    "We are grateful to Microsoft for their support as we introduce the PLAY program to British Columbia—not only for their financial contribution, but for the determination with which they advocated for this programming in B.C.," says Right To Play CEO, Kevin Frey. "This expansion follows five years of tremendous success for PLAY in Ontario and Manitoba. We undertook an extensive feasibility study and needs assessment in B.C. to ensure PLAY will produce equally effective, culturally-relevant programming that is youth-owned and supported by local community partners, and we are extremely honoured for the opportunity to work with, and learn from them."

    Innovative and community-driven, the PLAY program uses sport and play to empower Indigenous children and youth with the necessary life-skills to become change-makers in their communities. Aligned with many of the Calls to Action laid out in the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the B.C. PLAY program will work to deliver on the goals of promoting healthy living, supporting positive mental health, lowering drop-out rates, increasing educational performance and improving youth employment.

    "British Columbia has become a second home for Microsoft, and we're committed to the future of this community, its economy, and especially its young people," said Microsoft President Brad Smith. "Right To Play gives First Nation, Inuit and Métis youth the opportunity to learn and grow, through sport and play. This is a mission Microsoft is eager to support."

    Microsoft's investment in the PLAY program is part of their global YouthSpark initiative, which reaches young people around the globe with opportunities for education and skills training.

    Since 2010, the PLAY program has grown from partnering with two First Nations in Ontario, to now partnering with 88 First Nations and urban Aboriginal organizations in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia.

    "I used to have to come up with programs for the kids on my own," said Deserae Wycotte, a member of the Williams Lake Indian Band, who runs their after-school programs and received training to become a Community Mentor with Right To Play. "Now the programs we run help kids learn while they're having fun – and learn in a way that sticks with them."

    Read Microsoft's blog profiling Right To Play Community Mentor in Williams Lake, B.C., Deserae Wycotte: http://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2015/11/30/microsoft-sponsors-program-to-give-kids-in-british-columbia-the-right-to-play/​

    B-roll can be downloaded from the link below:
    Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/xuhxnfgl2bbe3hb/AADx6Vsnyf4-glwVSXczI6bha?dl=0

    A YouTube video can be embedded to a website:
    YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/RightToPlayCan/videos

    About Right To Play

    Right To Play is a global organization that uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity. Through weekly sport and play activities, Right To Play helps over one million children learn to create better futures and drive social change. Operating in more than 20 countries, Right To Play was founded in 2000 by social entrepreneur and four-time Olympic gold medalist Johann Olav Koss. It is headquartered in Toronto, Canada, with national fundraising offices in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Regional offices are in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Right To Play programs are facilitated by more than 600 international staff and 14,400 local volunteer Coaches.

    Programming in Canada includes the enhancement of education in priority schools and the Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program, which is partnered with more than 88 First Nation communities and urban Aboriginal organizations across Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia.

    About Microsoft Canada Inc.

    Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Inc. is the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT") the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in both French and English. Headquartered in Mississauga, Microsoft Canada has nine regional offices across the country dedicated to empowering people through great software - any time, any place and on any device. For more information on Microsoft Canada, please visit www.microsoft.ca.


    Kyla Pearson
    Manager, Communications
    Right To Play Canada
    O: +1.416.203.0190 x333
    C: +1.416.953.2464
    www.righttoplay.ca |@RightToPlayCAN

    Daniel Sytman
    Senior Communications Manager
    Microsoft Citizenship & Public Affairs
    O: (425) 707-9706