AUGUSTA – Maine youth have shown they want to take action on things that matter in their community. That is why Volunteer Maine, the state service commission, is offering $1,500 mini-grants to support youth-led projects through its Semester of Service grant program. Applications are due on or before November 21, 2023.
Youth groups in schools, faith communities, service organizations, and nonprofits are eligible to apply and participate. The Semester of Service begins on Martin Luther King Day of Service in January 2024 and ends with National Youth Service Day in April 2024. Proposals that tackle issues related to climate, mental or physical health, and housing are encouraged.
“Youth-led” means individuals 17 or younger take the lead in all aspects of the initiative (research, decision-making, design, implementation). Advisors over 18 years old are resources and process facilitators. Youth-leadership is critical because it develops young people’s knowledge, skills and confidence to be catalysts for positive change within their communities.
Participating youth groups are asked to learn what Dr. King meant by the “Beloved Community” and reflect on what their actions can contribute to making it a reality in their locale. “The Beloved Community” is a term first coined in the early 20th Century by the philosopher-theologian Josiah Royce, b1855 - d1916. For Dr. King, the Beloved Community was not an altruistic goal but rather a realistic, achievable goal. It could be attained by people working together to end poverty, hunger, homelessness, racism, prejudice, violence, bullying, and other conditions that divide or weaken a community.
Proposals for youth-led projects will be accepted from organizations with youth programs or youth constituents, 17 years old or younger, that are Maine public or private nonprofits, state/county/local units of government, higher ed institutions, faith-based organizations, Indigenous communities, and local schools.
Regardless of the type of youth group, the legal applicant must have an employer identification number (EIN) or taxpayer identification number (TIN) and, if selected, accept responsibility for signing the grant agreement, accounting for grant funds, and submitting a report on the outcomes of the project. Awards will not be made to individuals.
Application instructions and additional information can be found at VolunteerMaine.org.
About Volunteer Maine
Volunteer Maine, the Maine Commission for Community Service, builds capacity and sustainability in Maine's volunteer sector by funding service programs, developing volunteer managers and service-learning practitioners, raising awareness of the scope and the impact of the volunteer sector, and encouraging an ethic of service.
Maryalice Crofton, Executive Director
Office: (207) 624-7792