Pathways to Education Canada celebrates National Volunteer Week

~ Pathways to Education Canada thanks volunteers for investing their time and welcomes Manulife Financial as a new volunteer partner ~

TORONTO, April 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - Today, Pathways to Education Canada, a program that is reducing high school dropout rates in low-income communities, celebrates the unique contributions of each and every one of their volunteers during National Volunteer Week. In recognition of National Volunteer Week, Pathways to Education also announces a new partnership with Manulife Financial, which further enhances their volunteer program. Manulife Financial's five year partnership will go towards developing volunteer engagement strategies across Canada, helping to build an infrastructure to support, retain and grow Pathways' group of dedicated volunteers to meet the existing and future needs of the program.

"It is because of our committed volunteers and the diverse skills they bring to Pathways that we have been able to have such a significant impact," said David Hughes, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pathways to Education Canada. "With the support of Manulife Financial, Pathways will have the opportunity to expand our existing volunteer programs and recruit new volunteers to help more students graduate high school."

With the help of volunteers, Pathways to Education Canada is working to make Canada a nation where all youth have an equal opportunity to graduate from high school and build the foundation to reach their full potential. Volunteer tutors, mentors, fundraisers and board members are fundamental to Pathways to Education and a key part of what makes the program such a success.

"Education provides a foundation from which a country can measure prosperity and success," shares Nicole Boivin, Senior Vice President and Chief Branding and Communication Officer at Manulife Financial.  "Academic accomplishments affect our ability to compete in the workforce, make a better wage, and escape the cycle of poverty.  At Manulife we believe that every volunteer, every volunteer act and every hour given back is an investment in the future of all Canadians and partnering with Pathways enables us to impact the lives of our future leaders - something important to both Manulife and its employees."

Pathways' innovative, community-based program has been helping youth in low-income communities stay in school and graduate to post-secondary for more than ten years. Working in partnership with governments, social welfare agencies, and hundreds of diverse volunteers who share their talent and wisdom, Pathways is helping to break the cycle of poverty and enable strategic, long-term social change. To learn more about Pathways to Education and ways to volunteer and get involved visit http://www.pathwaystoeducation.ca/take-action/volunteer.

About Pathways to Education Canada - www.pathwaystoeducation.ca

Pathways to Education Canada is a charitable organization that helps youth in low-income communities graduate from high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education or training. Pathways addresses systemic barriers to education by providing leadership, expertise and a community-based program proven to lower dropout rates. Founded in 2001, Pathways operates in eleven communities across Canada, with programs in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Manitoba.

About Manulife's commitment to volunteerism

Preparing for the future is something Manulife gets behind every day. The Manulife Volunteer Commitment focuses on helping Canadians build a better future on three important levels: by inspiring Canadians to want to get involved and give back; by supporting initiatives that help Canadians match their unique skills and talents with meaningful volunteer opportunities; and by engaging Canadians in the idea of volunteerism and its value to the future of our country. To learn more, visit www.manulife.ca or Get Volunteering on Facebook.

About Manulife Financial

Manulife Financial is a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. In 2012, we celebrate 125 years of providing clients strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for their most significant financial decisions. Our international network of employees, agents and distribution partners offers financial protection and wealth management products and services to millions of clients. We also provide asset management services to institutional customers. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were C$500 billion (US$491 billion) as at December 31, 2011. The Company operates as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia and primarily as John Hancock in the United States.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at manulife.com.

SOURCE Pathways to Education Canada



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