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DataStar, Inc.

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Promoting Company Volunteerism in Difficult Economic Climate Provides Unique Opportunity for Companies to Give Back to the Community

Waltham based DataStar, Inc. allows its employees up to three paid days per year to participate in volunteer community service activities. This policy has proven to provide a great benefit to all involved at relatively little cost to the company.

Waltham, MA, November 10, 2009 --( Like many small companies during the current economic downturn, DataStar has searched for ways to continue to act in a socially responsible manner, while still meeting budgetary constraints. By encouraging employee volunteerism, companies can give back in a variety of ways to benefit local and national charitable organizations. Besides the obvious benefits to the community, volunteer efforts provide employees the opportunity to share in the good will and sense of working together to make the world a better, healthier, more caring and peaceful place for us all to live.

According to Glenn Davis, a co-founder of DataStar, "We have to be more creative in our approach to giving back." Davis explains that the act of simply writing a check is not so easy these days. Allowing and encouraging employees to donate their time and talents can be a relatively low-cost approach to achieving an even greater positive impact.

DataStar's policy allows employees up to two hours per month or up to three days each year to participate in volunteer activities during the work day. DataStar co-founder and President, Ellie Smerlas, puts it this way, "To us, it is not 'time off.' It is 'time well spent' and we support every minute of it. To me personally, volunteering is a form of enrichment in my life much like mulching the roses for winter, knowing they will be better bloomers in the spring. My heart smiles every time I see one of our DataStar employees reach out to help others."

Among the activities DataStar employees have participated in recently include volunteering at Camp Sunshine, a retreat in Casco Maine for children with life threatening illnesses and their families. Glenn Davis has been volunteering at Camp Sunshine with his family since 2005. The experience "can change your entire perspective on life," according to Davis. "Camp Sunshine is an amazing place and affords volunteers a unique opportunity to really feel they are making a difference. I am especially pleased that my coworkers have joined me in supporting Camp Sunshine, and that my company has afforded them this opportunity."

Time has increasingly become a valuable resource. Employees appreciate the ability to not have to tap their precious vacation time to pursue these endeavors. Cynthia Biagini, a Senior Project Director at DataStar has also volunteered at Camp Sunshine with her daughter. "It was so nice when families at Camp Sunshine would thank me for taking my vacation time to volunteer. When I would tell them my company allows us to volunteer without using vacation time but still get paid, they were absolutely amazed and grateful." said Biagini.

Another group of employees has been participating in Red Cross blood drives a couple of times each year. A favorite event has been the 9/11 blood drive held at Fenway Park. DataStar's "Blood Club" has donated a total of 40 pints since 2005. According to Senior Project Director, Kristin Hennessy, "I appreciate working for a company that really encourages its employees to give all we can, even during office hours. There's such a desperate need for blood donations right now, and we go as a group to donate -- there really is power in numbers!"

Operations Director, Tonya Strange, has participated in blood drives and also recently participated in the 2009 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in honor of her mother, an amazing woman who has battled the disease for 12 years. Strange endured swollen knees and legs and considerable pain, but persevered to cross the finish line on the second day. "I was just completely overwhelmed with emotions and so happy to have been able to honor my mom in such a way, while at the same time helping to raise money to hopefully eradicate this horrible disease. Although my mom may not survive Breast Cancer, I know that my participation in the walk will help so many others…and that's why it was worth every bit of pain I experienced!" Strange also hopes to volunteer at Camp Sunshine in the future.

"We hope other companies join us in providing this type of support to help the myriad of worthy causes out there," says Davis. "It's a win-win situation for all parties involved – the company, its employees and the receiving organization. Our employees become more compassionate people and more committed to company values." Clearly, a tough economy can provide unique opportunities for companies to give back.

About DataStar:
DataStar, located in Waltham, MA, provides survey management and data processing services to researchers worldwide. They have been a leader in market research, employee and customer satisfaction programs and other feedback/assessment applications since 1990.

For more information or to schedule an interview with principals Glenn Davis or Ellie Smerlas, or any of the employees mentioned above, please contact Glenn Davis at 781-647-7900, Ext. 103, or via email:

Contact Information
DataStar, Inc.
Glenn Davis
781-647-7900, Ext. 103

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