Everyone knows Maine summers are special. With near perfect weather and beautiful vistas throughout the State, it’s an ideal time for so many of us to recharge and relax with family and friends. Clearly, the throngs of tourists visiting our State are evidence of that. But lots of folks in Maine aren’t afforded the luxury of downtime. The fact is, for so many Mainers, summer is simply a continuation of their daily struggle to stay afloat.
As a Foundation that works with lots of partners across Maine to help our neighbors get ahead, we know that progress can often feel elusive. But that wasn’t the case when I recently had the opportunity to attend the graduation of the second cohort of Family Futures Downeast in Washington County. The program takes a two-generation approach to programming, working with parents and children simultaneously, to end generational poverty. Throughout the year this class of women put in long hours at either Washington County Community College or University of Maine at Machias in the evening while their children received high quality educational experiences on campus. Most did so after working day jobs — and now they were reaping the benefits. Virtually all had concrete plans to pursue further educational opportunities or move on to better paying jobs.
They were an extremely proud bunch of graduates and you couldn’t help but be moved when you saw that pride reflected on their children’s faces as well. Even the littlest ones could appreciate how hard their mothers were working for their shared future. I felt surrounded by potential — the potential of this cohort of young women and their children to succeed, and the significant potential for two-generation initiatives like Family Futures Downeast to intervene in the cycle of generational poverty in Maine.
Potential is something we think about a lot at the John T. Gorman Foundation and we see it in so much of the work we support and promote. In this season’s newsletter we highlight some of that work, including several efforts aimed at helping vulnerable older youth reach their full educational and economic potential, and a unique medical-legal partnership in Lewiston that has been so successful at helping families deal with unsafe housing that it’s being replicated in Portland. I hope you enjoy reading about what our partners have been doing the last few months. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or thoughts.
Tony Cipollone, President & CEO