United Way Youth Venture

As part of the United Way of Central Massachusetts’ Youth Venture Team, the YWCA has launched their very first team, Worcester In actioN (W.I.N). The United Way Youth Venture Program allows youth to initiate their own social ventures to benefit the community. The teams receive training and tools to help build leadership, teamwork, and entrepreneurial skills.

The YWCA’s W.I.N. Team is helping to raise awareness of social issues in Worcester, including bullying, and the cleanliness of the city. “We want to change the mindsets, dialogues, actions, and perspectives of the younger people, who will be our future” said Ajia Riley, a 12 year old 6th grader at the Goddard Scholar Academy at Sullivan Middle School, and member of W.I.N.

After the initial action plan process, the team pitched their venture ideas to a Community Panel, where they were approved for funding. The team will be given seed money along with continued support to successfully and sustainably launch their ventures. All the teams in the program are fully youth-created and youth-led.

The group will be dedicated to spreading awareness on how to prevent bullying, as well as how to stand up for yourself and others, along with the correct steps to take when bullying happens. “Being a bystander is almost worse than being a bully,” said Stacia Ostiguy, 13 year old W.I.N. member.

The YWCA team hopes to give other youth the skills they need to stand up and say enough to bullies. Their first event will be a summer cookout including food, music, entertainment, and activities such as games, face painting and a drawing. Through this cookout they hope to bring the community together, share the stories of those being bullied, and spread the word about the impact bullying has on school aged students around the country.

The team summed up their goals during their presentation to the Community Panel: “We want to make a difference, eliminate the amount of people who can’t defend themselves, and give them an opportunity to stand up,”

The YWCA will be posting updates on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ywcacm so check back often to see the W.I.N. Team’s progress!


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