Wilmington, DE; February 26, 2021YWCA Delaware has launched a new YW Leaders program designed to help high school students develop a better understanding of who they are while cultivating an appreciation and understanding for individuals of diverse backgrounds whose appearance, values, and interests differ from their own.

The new Cultivating Young Leaders for Racial and Social Justice Program, which is sponsored by M&T Bank, is a collaboration of YWCA Delaware’s Youth and Racial and Social Justice programs.

“As a champion of social justice for more than 125 years, YWCA Delaware is dedicated to eliminating racism,” said Paula Jenkins-Massie, President, YWCA Board of Directors and Senior Compliance Manager, M&T Bank. “We understand our youth are our future leaders and hope this program will guide high school students to a deeper understanding and respect for their fellow classmates while sharing insights into their own experiences.”

As part of YW Leaders’ "Cultivating Young Leaders for Racial and Social Justice Program," students will participate in facilitator-led, interactive virtual sessions offered through four educational modules. Participating students will engage in critical conversations and learn skills to become leaders in their communities as they advocate for racial and social justice. As the program grows, students will be given the opportunity to transition into leadership roles.

“We are community-focused at M&T Bank,” said Nick Lambrow, M&T’s Delaware Regional President. “Like the YWCA, we recognize that today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders, and are proud to partner with this organization as they help students in Delaware make a positive change in their high schools and become leaders in their communities who advocate for racial and social justice.”

Partnering schools will likely experience an increase in cultural understanding and acceptance between students from diverse backgrounds as a result of the program. Following student training the program will become student lead.

“Now more than ever, we need to listen to each other, break down the walls between us, and channel our emotions into meaningful action for sustainable change,” said Stephanie Staats, CEO, YWCA Delaware. “We are so grateful for M&T Bank, for their sponsorship, support for our students, and organizational leadership, that is helping to make this program possible.”

Area high schools interested in being a pilot school for YW Leaders’ Cultivating Young Leaders for Racial and Social Justice Program should go here to complete the interest form.