The collaborative mission of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies is to serve the best interests of its donors in perpetuating their philanthropic interest in financially supporting our community, using the Foundation’s integrity, accountability, and community knowledge.
Executive Director and President of Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, Mike Kane elaborated on the Foundation’s rationale behind the grant to Mount Aloysius College and the Mercy Youth Initiative. “For the past few years, youth mentoring has been a focal point for the Community Foundation. We’ve learned through various surveys and site visits that these programs can make a real impact on kids, but we also know that they can be challenging to implement. In the case of the Mercy Youth Initiative, we are pleased to partner with Mount Aloysius College to give this existing program the support it needs to expand and reach even more children, particularly in the northern part of Cambria County.”
Sr. Helen Marie Burns, RSM, vice president of mission integration at Mount Aloysius College noted that the Mercy Youth Initiative is designed to work with youth of promise who may need additional help as they near college age. “We are so grateful for this support by the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies. Their generous recognition of the Mercy Youth Initiative’s value to the community and their thoughtful collaboration will allow us to deepen the program to help more area students as they consider their future and their own contributions to this community.”
The Mercy Youth Initiative enables Mount Aloysius students to serve as mentors for these “youth of promise” in our region. Participating Mount Aloysius student-mentors are interested in working with youth.
Mercy Youth Initiative programs are held each month during the school year. Each monthly meeting includes a wellness/fitness session, a career exploration session, lunch and a mentorship session with the college student mentors and their mentees.
Sr. Helen Marie explained that the term “Youth of Promise” includes children believed to have the ability to further their education after high school in preparation of a career.
Mercy Youth Initiative sessions have included a full-gamut of explorations. Kim Franey, assistant project manager for the college’s community engagement and social entrepreneurship department explained. “These monthly programs have included breast cancer awareness, financial literacy, college exploration, the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, heart health, engineering, and the law,” she said. “The students are engaged with the program and they look forward to spending time with their respective mentors.” Ms. Franey also serves as Mercy Youth Initiative program coordinator.
Ms. Franey explained that there is no cost to the student-participants. The program is free and supported this year by Mount Aloysius College, the Community Foundation grant, the Sisters of Mercy and other community partners.