When Dr. Andrea Hamilton, assistant principal at Elmford’s Alexander Hamilton High School, spoke to the staff at United Way of Westchester and Putnam (UWWP) at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year about her students’ needs, she had no idea what would happen next.
“From the first time I had a meeting at United Way, I felt like they were invested,” said Hamilton. “I walked away from the meeting feeling like our partnership was going to work, and it did—beyond my expectations.”
The educator was concerned about her female students. She felt they needed support and exposure to opportunities.
UWWP was ready for the charge. First, it invited Hamilton and some of her students to the annual Celebration of Women in Philanthropy “Take a Walk in Her Shoes” Breakfast, held by the Women’s Leadership Council. There, the young women were able to meet successful female professionals and hear the inspirational words of this year’s honoree, Ruth Mahoney of Key Bank, as well as from Alexis Glick, the keynote speaker.
“When I walked into the women’s leadership breakfast I thought, ‘Wow… this isn’t me at the moment, but it could be me in the future,’ ” said high school senior Melida Rodriguez-Chavez. “That breakfast gave me more self-empowerment. I left it believing that anything is possible.”
In addition, United Way connected Hamilton with female executives from IBM who were interested in mentoring students. UWWP was also a conduit between Elmsford and several other school districts for a STEM-related Cybersecurity Day for middle school students at Pace University.