First Niagara Bank Partners with YMCA Associations in Southeastern Pennsylvania to Promote Youth Mentoring

Mentoring Matters initiative contributes $300,000 to support volunteer recruitment for YMCA's youth mentoring programs throughout the region

Dec 08, 2010, 16:05 ET from First Niagara

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of its continued commitment to youth mentoring, First Niagara Bank announced yesterday a partnership with the YMCA associations of southeastern Pennsylvania to promote and fund youth mentoring and volunteer programs throughout the region. Through its corporate-wide Mentoring Matters program, First Niagara will contribute $300,000 in support of the 14 YMCA associations serving Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Lehigh counties of Pennsylvania.

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Robert D. Kane, regional president, First Niagara Eastern Pennsylvania; Jean Hunt, director of City Wide Youth Development; and YMCA mentor/mentee pairs joined together at the Christian Street YMCA in South Philadelphia and the Allentown YMCA to celebrate this partnership.

"The YMCAs of southeastern Pennsylvania have a long and distinguished record of developing and supporting youth mentoring programs that positively influence the lives of young people throughout our region," Kane said. "First Niagara is proud to partner with the YMCA as part of our Mentoring Matters program, and we are dedicated to recruiting mentors and supporting the Y's valuable programs."

First Niagara's volunteer recruitment efforts will include a regional public awareness campaign and funding for a toll-free YMCA volunteer hotline (1-855-YMENTOR [963-6867]) for interested individuals to call and learn more about volunteer opportunities at participating YMCAs.

First Niagara will encourage its employees to participate in YMCA mentoring and volunteer programs.

Many YMCA mentoring programs are designed for children in grades four to eight. Research shows that this is an extremely pivotal time in a young person's development. Young people who have mentors are 86 percent more likely to get good grades and go to college, and less likely to get involved with drugs.

"Volunteering your time with a young person is one of the most profound ways you can change a child's life for the better," said John Flynn, president and CEO, YMCA of Philadelphia and Vicinity. "Just a few hours of your time can have a long-lasting impact, not just on the child, but on a family, and by extension, an entire community."

In early 2011, First Niagara and the YMCAs of southeastern Pennsylvania will also launch a financial literacy program at local chapters focused on educating young adults about the importance of financial savings. First Niagara will create savings education curriculum that will be distributed to 14 YMCA branches.

Mentoring Matters is First Niagara's corporate-wide charitable giving program that provides monetary and employee volunteer support to mentoring programs throughout upstate New York and Pennsylvania. In its fourth year, First Niagara's Mentoring Matters initiative has dedicated a total of $2 million for more than 77 organizational mentoring programs, benefitting more than 13,000 youth and young adults.

About the YMCA

The Y is a non-profit charitable organization that strengthens the foundations of our community. With a commitment to nurture youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y ensures that every individual has access to the essentials needed to learn grow and thrive. Across our region and the nation, the Y has a long-standing history of delivering lasting personal and social change.

Additional photos available upon request.

SOURCE First Niagara