The Co-operators donates $20,000 to Keeners Car Wash

The Co-operators has donated $20,000 to Keeners Car Wash, a social enterprise of Family Services of Greater Vancouver.

“Our giving philosophy is rooted in the principle of concern for community and wanting to contribute something positive back to the communities we serve, where we live and where we do business,” says Leonard Sharman, spokesperson for The Co-operators.

The donation came from The Co-operators’ Community Economic Development Fund, a fund that aims to create a more inclusive economy and society by giving a ‘hand up’ to those that face barriers. As a social enterprise, Keeners Car Wash creates employment opportunities for youth that face barriers to employment, one of which is being a youth.

“This particular fund is focussed on young people who face barriers and allow them to reach their full potential,” says Leonard. “We look for organizations that are already experts in that field and do a good job with that.”

Keeners Mobile Car Wash is an environmentally-friendly service that cleans cars for fleets, large organizations and businesses. Keeners employs youth between the ages of 18 and 26 to operate and work in the business.

“The goal is that youth will learn skills and trades that they can take to other jobs,” says Andrew Bryson, manager of Keeners. “Typically the youth we hire have barriers to employment so we give them life skills and training and hold them to regular employment standards while providing them with teaching and coaching opportunities.”

Since its inception in July 2012, Keeners has employed 25 staff, all youth. Almost all have gone on to other employment, or have pursued post-secondary education.

“It’s a unique aspect of Keeners that we not only give youth jobs, but we help them find their next job too, or help them pursue further education,” notes Andrew. “We are very grateful to The Co-operators for helping create new opportunities for youth in our community.”