The Juvenile Justice Advisory Group recently awarded a $90,000 grant to support after-school programs in mid-coast Maine. Youthlinks, a program of Broadreach Family & Community Services and STAR, a program of Five Town Communities That Care (CTC) were the joint recipients of this generous funding. “Youthlinks and STAR have common goals,” says Youthlinks Director, Amie Hutchison. “Both programs are working to improve outcomes for middle school students by providing skill building programs and meaningful volunteer opportunities.” “We are excited to be working with Broadreach and Youthlinks in this way. Collaboration provides us with the opportunity to share resources and expertise and ensures that every dollar goes even further,” added Five Town CTC Executive Director, Dalene Dutton. Another common goal of Youthlinks and STAR is to create a generation of life-long community-minded volunteers.
The Juvenile Justice Advisory Group (JJAG) oversees Maine’s participation in the federal juvenile justice initiative. The purpose of the initiative is to help states craft effective responses to the problems of juvenile crime and violence; and to reduce delinquency and youth violence by providing community members with skills, knowledge, and opportunities to foster a healthy and nurturing environment that supports the growth and development of productive and responsible citizens.
Youthlinks’ mission is to empower youth to commit to themselves and their communities, broaden their horizons, and acquire healthy life skills through focused enrichment programs and meaningful volunteer work. Youthlinks offers a diverse menu of in-school, after-school, and summer programs to engage a broad base of youth with varying interests. Their programs rely on creating mutually beneficial relationships with other area non-profit agencies. Through these opportunities, youth are exposed to new experiences, develop new knowledge and skills and develop pride in the service they give to their community.
The STAR Program seeks to provide opportunities for youth to learn skills that they can use in service to their community, to provide recognition for the contributions of young people, and to connect youth to other places where they can use their newly acquired skills. Youths who have confidence in their basic skills are apt to become involved in groups where healthy development is fostered. For the spring cycle of STAR, students will participate in one of the following classes: Knit Wits, Exploring Through the Arts, Hands On Science, Animal Antics, Aldermere Farm Hands, Martial Arts, Cooking, and Improvisational Drama.
STAR is open to 5th-8th graders in the towns of Appleton, Camden, Hope, Lincolnville, and Rockport. It is the flagship program of Five Town Communities That Care, whose mission is to promote healthy youth and to prevent problem adolescent behaviors such as substance abuse, violence, delinquency, school dropout, teenage pregnancy, and suicide.
Youthlinks and the STAR program are available at no cost to participants thanks to the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group grant and generous donations from community members, organizations, and businesses. For more information on Youthlinks, visit www.youthlinksonline.org or call 594-2221. For information on Five Town Communities That Care, visit www.fivetownctc.org or call 236-9800.
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