“Too often we underestimate the power of a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the power to turn a life around.”

Mentoring is an important focus at the YWCA Cortland. We currently have four mentoring programs that are free to all participants.


Bridges for Kids is an individual mentoring program that matches trained aBridges for Kidsdult volunteers with children, ages 5-12, who live in stressful home situations. The mentor meets with the child once a week. Mentors provide the one-on-one attention so crucial to building self-esteem in children. In addition, they offer enrichment activities designed to increase the child’s self-confidence, resiliency skills and background knowledge. Activities range from cooking nutritious meals at the YWCA to sledding in Beaudry Park. The importance of education is stressed, as is healthy exercises, creative outlets, and new experiences such as museums and sporting events. The program provides monthly family activities for all enrolled families as well as assistance with school supplies.

To enroll your child in Bridges for Kids please stop byBridges for Kids the front desk for an application or download one here. Bridges for Kids Enrollment Form

To become a mentor you must be 18 years or older, have access to a vehicle, be willing to commit to at least 1 year with the child, and attend training. If you would like to be a mentor download the application here. Mentor Application

For questions about Bridges for Kids email: bridges@cortlandywca.org



GEMS is a support group for girls who “aged out” of our Bridges for Kids program. The girls share experiences, learn to stay healthy, do creative projects and service to the community. They are working to make smart life choices and become confident leaders.

Currently, there are only 10 slots available for the GEMS program. If there is a child you would like to enroll in the program, please email bridges@cortlandywca.org



Kids Fun Club is a once a week program that provides organized gym activities here at the YWCA. SUNY Cortland students volunteer to run this program and promote positive social interaction, sportsmanship and provide positive role models for the children.

For more information on the current schedule contact the front desk at 753-9651.