How UW Agencies Help Cornellians

A representative snapshot of how United Way of Tompkins County member agencies interact with Cornell students, staff and faculty:

The Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes actively assists Cornell faculty, staff and students by providing cancer-related support, information, and community. When a member of the Cornell community is diagnosed with cancer, there’s a very good chance that they will turn to the Cancer Resource Center.  In addition to our direct service to those affected by cancer – including a special collaboration with Cornell’s Campus-to-Campus bus service – the Cancer Resource Center serves as a fieldwork site for Cornell class projects, student volunteers, and work-study students. The ongoing collaboration between cancer researchers at Cornell and the award-winning Cancer Resource Center has become a national model.

The Child Development Council promotes the healthy development of children at every level, and Cornell students, staff and faculty use our resource and referral services.  Through the Council, parents who work or study at Cornell have the opportunity to learn about quality child care and after-school programs, and find assistance in paying for that care. They also benefit from the support we offer area providers and programs. A Cornell class in Architecture Art & Planning has conducted what has become a nationally replicated “Economic Impact of Child Care Study” for our community, and a law student has joined and enriched our board of directors, recently leading a book drive to expand the variety of reading materials in area child care facilities.

The Franziska Racker Centers provides services for individuals with disabilities of all ages, including preschool special education, clinical therapies, community and residential services. We work with countless people each year who have Cornell University connections. Racker Centers also provide opportunities for internships and meaningful volunteer and hands-on educational opportunities for Cornell students interested in exploring and/or advancing their career in human services.  The Centers also benefit from the Johnson Graduate School of Management program. On an annual basis, we work with a number of Johnson Board Fellows on a specialized project benefitting our organization.

Suicide Prevention & Crisis Service (SPCS) and Cornell University have a long and proud history.  We provide training for members of Empathy, Assistance and Referral Services (EARS) including a two-day workshop in suicide intervention skills. Cornell students also serve as volunteers for the Crisisline at SPCS, gaining important skills they will use as medical and mental health professionals. Ten percent of the calls to the SPCS Crisisline are from students and staff of area academic institutions. We see an increase in calls from students near the end of each semester when the stress of final exams and projects are compounded with changes in living and work situations. We also receive calls from parents who are worried about their Cornell students.

Tompkins Learning Partners is a literacy-focused non-profit that serves adults (18 and older) living or working in Tompkins County. Our Adult Basic Education program serves those looking to improve their skills in areas such as reading, writing, and computers. The English as a Second Language program serves immigrants and refugees permanently residing in Tompkins County who have a desire to learn English. Some of our students are Cornell staff members or spouses of graduate students.  A few of our volunteer tutors are retired Cornell University faculty or staff who donate their time to teach English language learners, as well as native English speakers who are working on strengthening their literacy skills.

The YMCA has had a long history of cooperation and collaboration with the Cornell community, from students to retirees, from filling volunteer needs at a specific event, and to long-term service on our board of directors. The Y is a special place for young children whose parents work at the University, and has helped Cornell students in fulfilling their course requirements. The YMCA is an inclusive organization with a shared commitment to nurture the potential of kids, promoting healthy living, and fostering a sense of social responsibility. Everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Our many relationships with Cornel University help us reach that goal every day.