AUGUSTA – Volunteer Maine, the Maine Commission for Community Service, awarded a total of $6,000 to 3 youth-serving organizations through its Summer of Service grant program. Successful applicants are Waterville's South End Teen Center, Portland Housing Authority’s Community Hope through Education Empowerment Training and Action (CHEETA) Project, and the League of Women Voters of Maine’s Youth Council. Each organization will receive $2,000 to support youth-led service projects this summer.
The Commission focused on youth-led service because it has the greatest impact on learning and confidence. “Youth-led” means individuals 18 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-led initiatives are distinct because they develop young peoples' knowledge, skills and abilities to be catalysts for positive change within their communities. Their collective activities and experiences spark interest in the community, increase a sense of belonging, and build confidence in their ability to address local issues.
The three grant recipients will guide their youth members as they select an issue to work on. They will then decide what action they want to take, recruit local support, plan and complete their service project, and formally debrief what they learned as well as what they accomplished.
The Waterville South End Teen Center is a collaboration between KVCAP and the Alfond Youth & Community Center/Boys and Girls Club. It provides a safe and positive environment for youth aged 12 – 18.
The League of Women Voters of Maine’s Youth Council focuses on reaching peers to engage them learning about democracy, civic engagement, and leadership.
Portland's CHEETA Project is a youth-designed, youth-led program that operates through the Public Housing Authority's study centers. It promotes social justice and equality and celebrates diversity through service learning projects and action oriented games, classes, and workshops.
Volunteer Maine promotes meaningful youth-led service as one path to a civic identity and sense of common purpose. It recognizes that service is a lifelong habit that can be most easily acquired early in life.
105 State House Station
19 Elkins Lane, Rm 105
Augusta, ME 04333-0105