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WPC is in the local Newspaper for a volunteer program: "Looking Beyond Ledgers"

An article on White Paper Co.'s volunteering program with the St. James Society was published in the local South Scott & North Delta Source newspaper (a special edition newspaper by The Now) on Feb 6th.

Business in Delta

Looking Beyond Ledgers

Marisa Babic
Staff writer

A local company's philanthropy is paying unexpected dividends.

The White Paper Co. is one of Canada's largest office suppliers and includes an office in Delta, near the Alex Fraser Bridge.

While the goal in the business world is to make profits and create jobs, White Paper Co. is looking beyond the ledgers. Company executives also recognize the importance of building future leaders by encouraging their employees to get involved in the community and make it a better place.

Under the leadership of CEO Michael Shein, the company has partnered with the St. James Society, a grassroots organization with a long history of community building in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

The society's mission is to provide support for people who face multiple challenges of poverty, crime, chronic mental illness, IV drug use, illiteracy, homelessness and the sex trade in the poorest urban area of Canada.

As part of its partnership obligations, the company offers its employees three days off a year, with pay, to volunteer with the society.

Sonia Heer is one of the staffers who took the company up on its offer.

Heer, a surrey resident, has been with the company for just over a year. She works in accounts payable and is also pursuing an accounting degree in Kwantlen Polytechnique University.

She said she's always wanted to volunteer somewhere, but her hectic schedule has kept her from finding the right agency.

When the opportunity came up at work, she jumped at the chance.

Along with several of her co-workers, Heer spent her time apply on a fresh coat of paint at one the society's houses, an experience she found immensely rewarding.

"It was a wonderful experience," she said.

Michael Shein, co-founder as well as CEO of White Paper Co., said the objective of the partnership was to expose his employees to some of the gritty reality in this region.

The lessons from this program go beyond what can be learned at our offices. Our employees get the change to learn and help support people who are unable to support themselves. Some of our employees have never been exposed to these realities. We want to enlighten them in the hope they will continue taking the initiative of getting involved in the community," Shein said.

The experience has certainly inspired Heer. "It changed my outlook, she said. "I've actually never helped out before. I've never done this sort of thing and, by giving me this change, I felt like I was making such a positive impact in the community. It's given me more reason to get out there and actually find more time to do this sort of thing."

Aside from making the house of Cordova Street a nicer place, the volunteering has netted a fringe benefit.

"It was a great team building experience, it just felt really good," Heer said. "It would be great if more companies out there got involved in this sort of thing - if not for the fact that they're giving back to the community, it's a great way to get to know the people that you work with."

View "Looking Beyond Ledgers" published article

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