Youth Mentoring Services embodies 'Live United' spirit

CONTRIBUTEDYouth Mentoring Services participants take part in the 2019 Fred Jackson Football Camp sponsored by United Way of Greater Niagara.

Since it was established in 1973, the mission of Youth Mentoring Services of Niagara County has been making a positive difference in the lives of children and youth through positive mentorship, helping them achieve their highest potential as they grow to become productive, responsible and caring adults.

United Way of Greater Niagara provides critical support to Youth Mentoring Services and dozens of our partner agencies throughout the Niagara region. In keeping with the “Live United” spirit, United Way excels at bringing many of our local human service agencies together in partnerships that promote the health and well-being of at-risk youth in our community.

Every year, United Way of Greater Niagara sponsors the Fred Jackson Football Camp. In 2019, Youth Mentorship Services sent eight children to participate in this amazing opportunity. The kids in the program were able to meet Jackson and his enthusiastic staff who served as role models as the group focused on goal setting, making improvements in performance, and reaching a personal best. At the end of the program, Jackson himself, as well as other current and former players, gave autographs and posed for pictures. It was truly a life-changing experience for the kids!

In addition to the Fred Jackson Football Camp, the power of United Way is best reflected through the partnerships Youth Mentoring Services has developed with many of its partner agencies over the years.

Every year, Youth Mentoring Services joins forces with the Nor-Ton Red Jacket Club on the Soap Box Derby, a youth soapbox car racing program. Children work with their adult mentors for two days to assemble parts and decorate cars for the competition. This community project allows children to get hands-on experience working with tools as they learn to build cars while building their self-esteem.

Youth Mentoring Services also works with the Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Club and the YWCA of the Niagara Frontier to provide developmental in-services using a “High Five” curriculum, based on the recently adopted New York state benchmarks for Social Emotional Learning: self-awareness, self–management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. This program enriches the personal development of youth through monthly themes and activities aimed at helping kids develop various skills and abilities.

These key partnership initiatives, among many others, are just a few examples of United Way’s transformative impact on our region’s youth. Thanks to the generosity of our community, Youth Mentoring Services of Niagara County looks forward to continuing its programming and partnerships with the ongoing help and support of United Way of Greater Niagara.   

Sue Capell is the executive director of Youth Mentoring Services of Niagara County. To learn more about Youth Mentoring Services, call 434-1855 or visit www.youthmentoringservicesniagara.org.

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