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Astellas Pharma US Sends 1,300 Volunteers to "Give Kids the World," Largest Single Group of Volunteers in Village History


6/14/2012 10:08:26 AM

KISSIMMEE, Fla., June 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Give Kids The World Village (GKTW) will host its largest single contingent of volunteers in its history on Wednesday, June 13, when more than 1,300 Astellas Pharma US, Inc. employees trade their iPhones and corporate focus for brushes, rakes and wrapping paper to help make dreams come true for children with life-threatening diseases.

In town for the company's annual national sales meeting in Orlando, the Astellas volunteers will descend on the 70-acre Village to spruce up the grounds and wrap gifts for the Village's weekly "Winter Wonderland Parade," a weekly gift-giving extravaganza for the children and their families. Volunteers will be landscaping, painting, wrapping gifts and mending fences throughout the day.

GKTW spokeswoman Colette Krahenbuhl said that the Astellas group will be "the largest volunteer group the Village has ever welcomed at one time. On April 18, we celebrated more than two million documented volunteer hours at a single location, and now with Astellas' volunteers, we will be well on our way to three million hours."

"I know that our experience at Give Kids The World Village will be a gratifying and memorable experience for our employees, but more importantly it will positively affect the thousands of kids and families that visit the Village each year," said Jim Robinson, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Astellas. "We are proud to partner with Give Kids The World, which shares our mission of bringing about a brighter tomorrow for patients around the world."

To get the most of the event, Astellas is partnering with You and Who, a buy-one-give-one t-shirt company, to make an additional donation to the You and Who's "Who's Hungry" program. For each You and Who t-shirt worn by an Astellas employee, Astellas will donate a meal to Covenant House Florida, which serves runaway, homeless and at-risk youth under 21, including teen parents and their babies. In addition to their time, Astellas employees will be making donations to GKTW and Astellas will match dollar-for-dollar all contributions and donate the money to the Starlight Children's Foundation.

Covenant House Florida Executive Director James Gress said: "Each night in Central Florida there are hundreds of adolescents, and young children whose parents are adolescents, who struggle to find a warm meal and safe shelter. This generous contribution from Astellas Pharma will assist Covenant House Florida in providing nutritious meals to all the kids residing in our Orlando Crisis Shelter for an entire month."

This event is part of the company's annual corporate social responsibility event called Changing Tomorrow Day, which is a global volunteer initiative that empowers Astellas employees to make a difference in their local communities. Through the Changing Tomorrow Day initiative, Astellas employees throughout North and South America and around the world commit an entire day to community service. The employees volunteering at GKTW will join more than 800 other Astellas employees at affiliate locations throughout the Americas who will hold their Changing Tomorrow Day activities later this fall.

About Astellas

The Astellas culture and brand is committed to building community, helping others, encouraging integrity and inspiring people to make a difference, today, tomorrow and every day. Astellas Pharma US, Inc., located in Deerfield, Illinois, is a U.S. affiliate of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc. Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products. The organization is committed to becoming a global category leader in focused areas by combining outstanding R&D and marketing capabilities. For more information about Astellas Pharma US, Inc., please visit our website at www.astellas.us or follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/AstellasUS.

About Give Kids The World

Recognized as the highest rated charity in America by personal finance site MainStreet, and also reported by MSN Money, Give Kids The World Village (GKTW) is a 70-acre, non-profit resort in Central Florida that creates magical memories for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. GKTW provides accommodations at its whimsical resort, donated attractions tickets, meals and more for a weeklong, cost-free fantasy vacation. With the help of many generous individuals, corporations and partnering wish-granting organizations, Give Kids The World has welcomed more than 115,000 families from all 50 states and over 70 countries. For more information about GKTW and its mission, visit givekidstheworld.org.

About You and Who

You and Who is a buy-one-give-one company that sells unique artist-designed t-shirts. For every shirt sold, a matching shirt is donated to someone in need. Shirts are designed by local artists across the United States to benefit their own communities. Under the company's "Who's Hungry" program, You and Who provides shirts for companies, teams or functions, and for every shirt ordered, one meal is donated to someone in need. For more information about You and Who, visit www.youandwho.com.

About Covenant House Florida

Covenant House Florida opened in Fort Lauderdale in 1985 and expanded to Orlando in 1995. Since its opening over 25 years ago, the organization has served more than 33,000 teens via street outreach, crisis shelters, transitional housing projects, and walk-in and aftercare services, making it one of the largest private agencies serving runaway and homeless youth in the State of Florida. It is part of an international mission with programs in 21 cities in the United States, Canada, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua. The agency relies primarily on support from private individuals and organizationsnot on tax dollarsto meet the multiple and complex needs of homeless youth. For more information about Covenant House Florida, visit www.covenanthousefl.org.

SOURCE Astellas Pharma US, Inc.


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