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Youth Enrichment Services named Champion in Action in Massachusetts

Citizens Bank and NECN provide $25,000 grant, PR and volunteer support

BOSTON        (February 6, 2009) - Citizens Bank and NECN today named Youth Enrichment Services a Champion in Action® in Massachusetts under the category of youth programming. The nonprofit organization inspires and challenges children and teens by offering physical and educational activities that foster life-long respect for self, others and the environment. As part of the award, it receives a $25,000 grant from the Citizens Bank Foundation and extensive media coverage from NECN.

For the past 40 years, YES has empowered thousands of youth with the belief they can achieve anything. It serves more than 2,000 youth each year between 7 and 18 from Boston’s low-income neighborhoods. With the help of junior and adult volunteers, kids learn the value in taking risks through outdoor adventure activities such as skiing, hiking, biking, canoeing and camping. The programs are designed to provide experiential educational opportunities that strengthen resiliency and support positive development.

“YES is instilling in our future leaders the confidence they need to accomplish their goals,” said Robert E. Smyth, President, Citizens Bank, Massachusetts. “We are honored to partner with our friends at NECN in saluting this organization, its staff and the young people who have benefited from the wonderful programs it offers.”

Each year, from December through April, more than1,500 youth downhill ski and snowboard through Yes’s Operation Snowsports program, while its Outdoor Adventure program allows 400 kids to hike, bike and camp from May through October. These programs prepare young clients for the YES Academy, a multi-faceted, year-round apprenticeship program that builds the skills needed to become future instructors and leaders while instilling a commitment to public service.

“Clearly, YES has for years been on the forefront of understanding the link between physical activity and emotional well-being and thousands of Bostonians are the better for it,’’ said NECN President and General Manager Charles J. Kravetz. “We are delighted to partner with Citizens Bank to spotlight this great organization and the positive energy it has brought to our city and our citizens.’’

YES is being recognized for:

• Building relationships with Boston youth police officers, community organizations and teachers in an effort to identify disengaged youth in need of positive alternatives.
• Engaging more than 200 volunteers who donate more than 10,000 hours of their time working as coaches, trip leaders and support staff, while serving as positive role models.
• Offering specific programs geared toward job training, environmental education and leadership development.
• Giving young people the opportunity to take part in activities they might not otherwise be exposed to for financial or geographic reasons.
• Having a profound impact on clients – 70 percent have some college experience and 97 percent are employed.

As a Champion in Action, YES receives:

• A $25,000 contribution in unrestricted funds from the Citizens Bank Foundation.
• Media coverage from NECN, including public service announcements, news stories and segments on other NECN programs such as NewsNight and New England Business Day.
• Volunteer support from Citizens and NECN employees.
• Public relations support.
• Promotional support highlighting the Champion in Action in all Citizens Bank branches and on its ATMs.
• Exposure on both Citizens Bank and NECN Web sites.

“YES is a unique youth development agency that draws youth from every city neighborhood and figuratively and literally brings them to the mountaintops to tap and challenge their limitless potential,” said Bryan Van Dorpe, President and Executive Director, Youth Enrichment Services.

“We are honored and thrilled that Citizens Bank and NECN recognized our efforts and those of our young clients by naming us a Champion in Action. This award will raise our profile and that of our Junior Volunteer program, laying the groundwork for increased youth enrollment and funding from donors.”

Since introducing the program in 2002, Citizens has awarded $650,000 to 26 Massachusetts organizations.

To learn more about YES, please visit yeskids.org.

About Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank is a division of RBS Citizens, N.A., operating its seven-state branch network in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. It has 258 branches and 597 ATMs in Massachusetts.

RBS Citizens, N.A. is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $161 billion commercial bank holding company headquartered in Providence, R.I. CFG’s two bank subsidiaries are RBS Citizens, N.A. and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. They operate a 13-state branch network under the Citizens Bank brand in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont, and the Charter One brand in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. CFG has non-branch retail and commercial offices in about 40 states. It is one of the 10 largest commercial banking companies in the United States ranked by assets and deposits. CFG is owned by RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc).

About NECN

NECN is the largest 24-hour regional news network in the country, with 3.7 million subscribers in more than 1,050 cities and towns in all six New England states. It is a partnership of Comcast and the Hearst Corporation. The station specializes in long-form journalism, producing documentaries and extensive local and national political coverage. For more information on NECN, go to www.necn.com.