Here in Maine, almost ten percent of our population aged 16 to 24 are disconnected — meaning that they are not in school or working. That’s nearly 15,000 young people who lack the relationships and resources that are required to successfully navigate the pathway to adulthood. At the John T. Gorman Foundation, we believe that we must invest in these young people, many of whom have experienced homelessness, encounters with the juvenile justice system, or time in foster care. We need to do this because it’s the right thing to do and because it’s an investment in Maine’s future. That’s why we’ve devoted this issue of our quarterly newsletter to spotlight some of the work we’re doing with grantees and partners around the state to help vulnerable Maine youth successfully transition to adulthood.
You’ll learn about a forum that the Foundation organized back in September which featured Dr. Elizabeth Cauffman, one of the top experts in the nation on adolescent brain development, as well as a panel of Maine-based experts who connected Dr. Cauffman’s research to challenges facing kids in our community. We’ll also bring you updates on our work with Preble Street’s First Place initiative, which provides young people who have faced homelessness with both housing and the supports they need to live on their own; and Gateway to Opportunity, a “best practice” summer employment program for Portland youth which had a great first year. Further up the coast, the Eastern Maine Skippers Program of the Penobscot East Resource Center — created to combat what was a growing dropout problem — is equipping young people in Hancock and Washington counties with the academic and business skills required to meet the challenges of today’s economy. We also highlight our partnership with Jobs for Maine’s Graduates, which helps Maine youth all over the state achieve their educational goals and the Mitchell Institute’s Promise Scholars Program which is helping youth facing significant challenges succeed in college through scholarships and other supports. Finally, in this issue we’re thrilled to introduce you to Jennifer (Jen) Beck, a Program Associate and the newest member of our team.
Thanks for reading. As always, I invite you to send along any questions, comments, and ideas related to our mission of improving the lives of disadvantaged people in Maine.
-Tony Cipollone, President and CEO