Women’s Fund Slates Young Women’s Initiative Kickoff for Oct. 18

SPRINGFIELD — The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts (WFWM) will host its inaugural Young Women’s Initiative (YWI) Kickoff on Wednesday, Oct. 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the UMass Center at Springfield. Christine Monska, new program officer for Leadership Programs with WFWM, will host the city-wide youth event to highlight some of the key issues girls and young women face in the city of Springfield, and what the organization’s Young Women’s Advisory Council (YWAC) plans to do about it.

Parents, teachers, community supporters, and champions are encouraged to bring a young person in their life to this event. The kickoff celebration is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be available. Opening remarks will be delivered by Springfield City Councilor Justin Hurst. This program features young women leaders working together with adult mentors to create a road map for their collective futures. The kickoff will center the voices of Springfield young women in their own leadership development. To RSVP, e-mail Ellen Moorhouse at emoorhouse@mywomensfund.org by Monday, Oct. 16.

The Young Women’s Initiative (YWI) Springfield Partnership is a groundbreaking initiative aimed at driving economic prosperity for young women. YWI is led by a coalition of eight women’s foundations across the U.S. The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts is piloting the Springfield Partnership, a unique program that will produce systems change on behalf of young women in the region’s largest city.

“I am thrilled to join the Women’s Fund as our transformative leadership programs expand to include young women,” said Monska. “When young women and girls utilize their voices to become leaders in their community, our nation becomes one step further to achieving gender equity. I am honored to lead a program dedicated to fostering greater opportunity for Springfield’s young women and girls.”

Monska comes to the WFWM with extensive experience in program and curriculum development, capacity building, and advocacy for gender-inclusive policymaking at the international, national, and local levels. As a Western Mass. native who served as a district director for state Sen. Ben Downing and commissioner for the Berkshire County Commission on the Status of Women, she brings deep understanding of the structural barriers young women and girls continue to face in the community. She remains the Continuing Education advisor for Bard Microcollege in Holyoke, the nation’s first college for low-income women whose educations have been disrupted by pregnancy or other barriers to four-year degree programs and career opportunities.

Monska earned her master’s degree in global affairs, international law and human rights at New York University, Harvard Business School’s HBX CORe focusing on business analytics and financial accounting, and a bachelor’s degree in government from Smith College.

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