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Become a Young Scholars Mentor

March 18, 2019

Young Scholars group shotHow You Can Help Our Community

Serving as mentors to the amazing young people in the Young Scholars program is among our most rewarding experiences. Join us by learning about the program here, and see why so many find this program so gratifying.


The Young Scholars Program

The Young Scholars Liberty Partnerships Program (YSLPP) is a multi-year collaborative project between Utica College and the Utica City School District (UCSD) to motivate diverse and talented students to stay in school, earn a New York State Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation, and pursue post-secondary education.

Each year, Young Scholars serves approximately 350 students from grades 7 through 12. UCSD teachers nominate students in sixth grade who show promise, but who may not achieve their full potential due to social and/or economic factors. The finalists are selected by a volunteer panel of professionals from the area.

Chosen students receive year-round academic support including a summer program prepping them for the following school year, college and career exploration, social and emotional support provided by counselors and staff, community service, and enrichment activities. If the student is fortunate enough, they are also paired with a mentor.

The program has been quite successful, as the impressive results show in the YSLPP brochure. More than one hundred YSLPP students have served as summer interns in the local community, and the program’s partnership with Workforce Development has provided hundreds of its students with summer jobs.



Mentorship

An important part of the Young Scholars program is pairing adult mentors with program participants. Mentors are volunteers who serve as positive role models, give students guidance and advice, and provide fun social and cultural enrichment experiences. Experiences are often as simple as a visit to the mall, a lunch out together, taking in a sporting event or movie, or going for a walk at the park. Many activities are free, so it doesn’t cost a lot, in money or time. In fact, the minimum commitment is only 2-4 hours a month. Some mentors have one student they provide support to, and many mentor multiple students, often participating in activities with several students together. Many mentors have kids of their own, and bring their mentees along during family events.

While mentoring means a very modest commitment of time, mentors can make a tremendous impact on the lives of these promising young people. Mentors say they get more from the experience than the students do, and often form lasting friendships with their mentees. With a small investment in time, mentors make a big difference in the community.



Becoming a Mentor

Although a number of First Source staff and Members have joined with other community members to serve as mentors, the program can use more. Some 60 mentors serve now, and the program would like to grow that number to 100, so we are encouraging you to consider joining us as a mentor and making a difference in the life of a Young Scholar. If you have a friend or family member who you think would make a great mentor, encourage them to apply as well.

Becoming a mentor is a simple process with just a few qualifications. The first step is filling out an application and a Background Check authorization. You must have a valid NYS driver’s license, and be willing to commit to the program for one year. Once you are qualified, the program provides an orientation, and ongoing support to help you get started and continue to provide fulfilling experiences for your mentee.



Why First Source is Invested in the Program

We are very excited to continue to partner with this tremendous program to help fulfill the dreams of our youth here in the Mohawk Valley, as their goals align with our community mission. We provide financial support, fill leadership roles, offer job shadowing and internships to Young Scholars interested in banking and/or financing, donate tools to teach financial literacy in their summer program, team up with Young Scholars for community service, and encourage our staff and Members to volunteer as mentors. 


How Can Your Place of Work Get Involved?

To teach community members more about the program, Young Scholars offers 30-minute “Lunch & Learn” presentations and workshops for any sized group, organization, or business. Simply contact them to schedule a presentation for your workplace or organization. 

Individuals can learn more by contacting Linda Stewart, Mentor Coordinator, by email at lbstewart@utica.edu, or phone at 315-792-3237. Join us in becoming a mentor, and help our students Grow Big Dreams. 



“The positive and empowering effects of being a mentor are immeasurable and I am both thrilled and proud to be part of the YSLPP mentoring experience.” 
- Kim Van Duren, Mentor
 


“Mentoring is something that has changed my life in the most positive way. I always find that mentoring has truly made me have a more profound understanding of today’s youth. I feel that no matter what, both of my mentees know that they have someone with whom to share a laugh or an important conversation. Mentoring is a never-ending gift, a mentoring situation that after graduation will hopefully turn into a lifelong friendship." 
- Dennis Hahn, Mentor


“We text frequently and do as many fun activities as we can together. She attends family functions with me because she truly is my second daughter. Watching her grow is incredible and I know there's much more that Young Scholars is going to see from Areiana in the future.” 
- Alicia Adamczyk, Mentor 

 

Giving Back to Our Community

January 3, 2019

2018 A Year in Review  

At First Source we make it part of our mission to give back. In 2018, we helped support our community by giving approximately $300,000, and countless volunteer hours, to help a number of local organizations and thousands of individuals.

Our charitable work does more than simply give a handout; it gives a hand up. In addition to helping many local businesses grow, it provides for basic human needs, a better future, and education. It helps people live smarter, healthier, more independent lives.

It is important to give where we can, get involved, and make a difference to those who need it most. Thank you for helping to support community causes along with us throughout the year. You have truly made an impact.

 Some 2018 highlights include:

  • Started Financial Friday events at the Utica Children’s Museum, and provided financial education for 6,300 students in 77 schools

  • Participated in #GivingTuesday providing an additional $7,000 in funding to local, employee choice charities

  • Matched employee funding to the United Way of Greater Utica, giving over $6,000 to support vital community needs

  • Raised funds for and awareness of The American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery Program and the American Red Cross’s Sound the Alarm event fueling needed participation

  • Helped Kids Oneida provide Thanksgiving meals for 1,000 families and holiday needs for 10 families, including 30 children

  • Joined the NYS Mentoring program

  • Supported economic development in the greater Utica, Rome, Herkimer and surrounding areas

  • Fundraised and participated in multiple charitable walks

  • Supported our Veterans through Flags for Heroes

  • Worked with the Fibonacci Foundation to support STEAM learning for area youth

  • Supported multiple local humane societies

  • Purchased gym equipment for several local schools to help get and keep our kids healthy, in cooperation with the American Heart Association’s Get Moving campaign

  • Supported the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s educational outreach and prevention initiatives

  • Purchased iPads for the Tilton School at the House of the Good Shepherd, and donated blankets to children in need

  • Helped to finance and sponsor the Compassion Coalition’s new Bargain Grocery facility

  • Helped to send visually impaired children to a special ability summer camp

  • Supported many student and semi-professional athletic training programs

  • Aided in youth scholarship programs
     

American Cancer Society Road to Recovery® Program

October 3, 2018

Providing Rides to Cancer Treatment

For many years, First Source has provided support to the American Cancer Society, from financial assistance to volunteers and fundraising participation. We recently learned of their Road to Recovery program. This invaluable service pairs cancer patients in need of transportation to their appointments with community volunteer drivers.


The Road to Recovery Program

Every day, there are cancer patients who need to get to treatment, but many don’t have a way to get there. The American Cancer Society’s Road To Recovery program provides transportation to and from treatment, for free. Rides are provided by volunteers like you.



How Does It Work?

Volunteers go to cancer.org or call 800.227.2345 to let the American Cancer Society know you would like to help. You provide your availability and what works best to fit your schedule. When they have a patient in your area in need they will reach out and see if you can accept the opportunity. They further coordinate with you from there.


Who Can Volunteer?

If you own or have regular access to a safe, reliable vehicle, then you’re already on the road to volunteering. You’ll also need:

  • A good driving record

  • A current, valid driver’s license

  • Proof of adequate automobile insurance

  • Completion of the simple American Cancer Society training course

  • Regular access to a cell phone, computer, laptop, or tablet computer, to receive notifications

  • Schedule availability, typically Monday-Saturday, as much or as little as you prefer


Why Volunteer to Drive?

For those patients who cannot drive themselves or have no other means of getting to their treatment, the Road To Recovery volunteers may be the only way for them to receive the treatment they need. It can literally be life-saving. Volunteer drivers say that they get as much from the experience as the patients do.


How Do You Get Started?

You need to submit some basic information to the American Cancer Society, after which a volunteer care specialist will contact you to discuss the program, your expectations, and what you hope to gain from the experience so they can ensure a good fit. Then you’ll take some required training, which is self-paced and takes around 90 minutes. From there you’ll complete a background check, and once approved, provide your schedule availability so you can begin being matched to patients needing transportation. You can offer as much or as little time as you prefer, provide rides one way or both ways, and change your schedule availability at any time.

Visit the American Cancer Society’s website to learn how you can get started. A little of your time can make all the difference in someone’s life.
 

Learn More About Road to Recovery
 

Financial Friday at the Children’s Museum

August 17, 2018

Young boy learning the importance of a dollar

It’s Never Too Early to Start Your Child’s Financial Education

On Friday August 24th at the Utica Children’s Museum, we will be hosting a fun filled financial event, where we’ll be teaching kids about the value of a dollar. This interactive financial literacy program is a great way to show children the importance of money, where it comes from and the value it holds. 

Kids will have the opportunity to speak with First Source representatives, ask questions, earn their own “paycheck” and decide how best to save, spend, and even donate their money to community causes in the First Source Kid’s Branch, located on the first floor of the museum. Two separate sessions are available for families that are interested in signing their children up for the event. 

We are proud to be able to partner with the Children’s Museum in educating our children about the importance of developing good financial habits.

Tom Neumann and the Ride for Missing Children

May 30, 2018

Thanks to Riders and Volunteers

Please join us in thanking our community for their involvement in, and support of, The Ride For Missing Children. Tomorrow, Friday, June 1st, is the 2018 Ride For Missing Children. Approximately 500 Riders and 150 Volunteers will hit the road starting early in the morning in Oneida, NY, and arrive in New Hartford that evening, reaching hundreds of school students along the way with a message of safety.

First Source President and CEO Tom Neumann shares why he rides and volunteers to support the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He helps their work to educate people, support the families of missing children, and raise awareness and funds.



We are proud to be a part of this tremendous cause, and encourage you to support the Ride, and cheer the Riders along on their all-day journey.

Posted in: bike, charity, children, NCMEC, ride

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