First Niagara's Day of Mentoring Teaches Upstate New York Students How to Thrive in the Workplace

Students Trade the Classroom for the Boardroom

Oct 20, 2010, 11:08 ET from First Niagara Bank

BUFFALO, N.Y., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Students from five area schools throughout Upstate New York learned first hand what it takes to succeed in today's workplace when they visited top First Niagara executives and employee mentors at their local First Niagara regional headquarters yesterday.  This daylong recognition of the benefits of mentoring is part of the bank's second annual Day of Mentoring.

(Photo: )

(Photo: )

Through these First Niagara mentors, students saw what life skills are needed to be successful in the corporate landscape, gained greater financial and banking literacy, and obtained real world perspectives on the skills and subjects studied in the classroom.

"We're proud to play an active role in the professional development of our community's future leaders," said John R. Koelmel, First Niagara Bank president and CEO. "Both national and regional studies have proven that mentoring has a tremendous impact on the ability of young people to succeed in the workforce and we're honored to make a lasting difference in determining their future success."

National studies have found that mentoring helps improve children's attendance records, attitudes about school, and expectations to attend college. An August 2010 survey conducted by First Niagara of 31 past Mentoring Matters recipients throughout Upstate New York who are responsible for mentoring programs within their non-profit organizations found that mentoring was also effective in elevating young adults' communication skills, self-esteem, learning to relate well to others, and setting career goals.

More than 83 percent of respondents said mentoring "considerably" improved communication skills; 87.1 percent said self-esteem improved "considerably"; and 100 percent said mentoring helped participants to improve relating well to others. In addition, 38.7 percent said mentoring was "very effective" in helping participants set career goals while 32.3 percent said mentoring was "very effective" in helping young people learn to seek and keep jobs.

First Niagara's Day of Mentoring is an extension of the bank's Mentoring Matters(SM) program, which provides critical funding and volunteer support for mentoring efforts in Upstate New York and Pennsylvania. Recently kicking off its fourth year, Mentoring Matters will top the $2 million total grant mark in 2010, positively impacting more than 13,000 youth through more than 150 organized mentoring programs in Upstate New York.

About First Niagara

Niagara Financial Group, Inc., through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Niagara Bank, N.A., has $21 billion in assets, 255 branches and $14 billion in deposits. First Niagara Bank is a multi-state community-oriented bank with about 3,800 employees providing financial services to individuals, families and businesses. Upon completion of its pending merger with NewAlliance Bancorp, Inc. -- subject to customary closing conditions including approvals from regulators and shareholders -- First Niagara will have more than $29 billion in assets, $18 billion in deposits and 340 branches across Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. For more information, visit

SOURCE First Niagara Bank