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Valassis Leaders Build Community Park in Bessemer, Alabama

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Press release from the issuing company

Livonia, Mich. - Valassis, one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies,announced today its role in building a community park in partnership with the Red Mountain Heights Community League Inc. in Bessemer, Ala., outside Birmingham.

Valassis introduced a community service project as part of a semiannual meeting of its leadership team. The company not only committed $25,000 to the project but also a time commitment from about 80 members of its leadership team. They completed the project at the end of January while in nearby Birmingham for their business meeting. The Valassis team took a hands-on approach, installing park equipment, spreading gravel and readying the park for area youngsters. The park includes swings, a wave slide, spring riders, a walking track and benches. With the charge to demonstrate its philosophy of giving back, the location of the January 2011 business meeting was determined by the project itself. The overriding consideration for the project was that it would directly help children.

"Too often, we take for granted the simple things like being able to walk or bike to a neighborhood park," said Alan F. Schultz Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Valassis. "By helping families one by one, we are honoring our continued commitment to the American family. It all started over 25 years ago when we leveraged the power of our products to help recover missing children, and since that time, our desire to help children has grown."

This park project continues the company's focus on helping children in need. Its Have You Seen Me? program has been featuring the names and faces of missing children across its RedPlum portfolio and reuniting missing children with their families for over 25 years. This program, in partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the U.S. Postal Service, builds on the company's desire to help the American family by empowering them to aid in the recovery of missing children as well as delivering savings to over 100 million households each week in the mail, the newspaper, in-store and online.

The quest to build this much needed neighborhood park began in 2007 when the Red Mountain Heights Community League Inc. of dedicated individuals focused on providing area children with a safe environment. Weaver Land Company donated the land, but the project was at a standstill due to a lack of funding despite local efforts to raise the necessary money. That changed when Valassis partnered with the grass-roots organization to complete the project. The park was dedicated at a ceremony on Jan. 26.

"While talking with my wife one day, we noticed our kids in the neighborhood just walking up and down the streets with no place to go," said Alfred Woods, Vice President, Red Mountain Heights Community League, Inc. "We also noticed that the only place for them to ride their bikes was on the dangerous streets of the community. I said, 'we have to do something to give our kids a place to play in the neighborhood.' We had become discouraged to the point where we had almost given up," Woods continued. "Then, one day, we received a call from Valassis and learned about their commitment to the welfare of children and how our project might be something their company would consider funding. We couldn't believe it. Since that time, the wheels have been in motion and our dream of a park for our children is a reality because of Valassis."

Additionally, the park has been adopted by the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa, where the Valassis business meeting was held.


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