YWCA Westfield to Launch New York State Mentoring Program in Westfield
Local leaders champion initiative to support Westfield students
Westfield, NY (4/4/22) – YWCA Westfield has begun the process of training high school students and teachers as mentors for children enrolled in their after school program as they implement the research based New York State Mentoring program in Westfield, matching youth with caring volunteer mentors.
“Mentoring has many positive outcomes including improved attendance, greater participation in school, higher graduation rates and college acceptance rates,” said YWCA Westfield Executive Director Stephanie Stevens. “We are thrilled to be able to offer this program to local students with the support of local leaders.”
The New York State Mentoring Program is a one-to-one mentoring program in which volunteers, in this case, high school students and adult staff, are matched with younger children in their communities. The mentees for this program will be students enrolled in the YWCA Westfield after school program.
Many students have struggled throughout the pandemic as schools switched between in-person and virtual learning, and support to help them to get back on track is needed. The mentoring program follows a research-based model in which mentors and their mentees meet in a supervised environment on a regular schedule. This format provides the important element of consistency to the mentoring relationship.
Local leaders supporting the initiative include New York State Sen. George Borrello, New York State Rep. Tom Reed, Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel, and Westfield Academy Superintendent Michael Cipolla.
“The pandemic impacted kids’ academic and social development,” Sen. Borrello said. “These trained mentors will help guide younger students as they resume normal classroom education and regain their footing. The mentors will help students navigate the challenges they face during the rebuilding process and provide encouragement as they learn, play and grow. What benefits the children benefits the community. This is a wonderful opportunity for Westfield families.”
“We care about children having every opportunity to reach their fullest potential,” said Rep. Tom Reed. “That is why we are pleased to hear that YWCA Westfield will be a part of the New York State Mentoring Program. This program is an amazing resource for our youth that offers a valuable and rewarding experience for both the students and their mentors.”
“Chautauqua County is fortunate to have this program implemented in our region,” Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel said. “We look forward to seeing mentors and mentees being matched and the positive experiences all involved will have.”
“We are excited to provide this opportunity to the students of Westfield who are enrolled in the YWCA Westfield after school care program,” said Westfield Academy Superintendent Michael Cipolla. “Our Partnership with YWCA Westfield allows us to offer educational programming that promotes our educational goals while also supporting our students’ social and emotional development. It is our hope that this program will expand in the future.”
###About YWCA Westfield
YWCA Westfield opened its doors in 1894 to meet the needs of the women and girls in Westfield and the surrounding community. Throughout the years the organization has grown and changed to meet local needs, but the agency remains a membership organization. A nonprofit, YWCA Westfield offers fitness facilities to members, high quality after school programming in two school locations to local families and other community programming that supports the YWCA USA mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. In 2020, YWCA Westfield renovated part of its facility to add AirBnB overnight accommodations to welcome and host visitors to the Chautauqua region.