We are very excited and honored to be part of the Maine Working Communities Challenge.
Our team includes
- long-time child advocates: Claire Berkowitz of Midcoast Maine Community Action & Barbara Reinersten of United Way;
- Bill Haggett, retired CEO of Bath Iron Works
- Bath City Leaders: Marc Meyers and Aaron Park; and
- Dr. Deb Hagler, a leading pediatrician in Maine.
- RSU 1 Assistant Superintendent: Katie Joseph & Morse High Assistant Principal Devon Gallice;
- Julie Kenny, Director of Bath Technical School & Allen Lampert, Director of Merrymeeting Adult Education
- As well as several youth and young adults who bring lived experience to the table.
So far, our work has been targeted to the City of Bath, as the Sagadahoc County seat, with the aim of our initiative spreading out and connecting all areas of our county.
Bath is home to a rich maritime history, our downtown area is ranked one of the best in the country, and we are home to one of Maine’s largest employers. If you happened to be here last weekend for Winterfest, you might have wondered if you had just stepped into a real-life Hallmark movie!
Yet, when we look to our youth and young adult community – we see a disengaged population, struggling to find success in school or in the workplace, with high rates of depression and anxiety, substance use, and involvement in the juvenile justice system. Our youth are struggling with homelessness, they are losing their parents to the opioid crisis, and we are losing them to violent crimes, overdose, and suicide.
Our initiative will focus on reducing the rate of youth hopelessness by 15% over the next 10 years by creating a comprehensive web of support that includes education, mentoring, training, jobs, and healthcare; so that one call for help unlocks, and sets into motion, a wide range of support systems and removes the numerous barriers often faced – especially by families with low-to-moderate incomes, families of color, and members of our LGBTQ communities.
In ten years, our vision is for Sagadahoc County youth to be thriving, well-equipped, and eager to enter the workforce, resulting in a flourishing local economy and a healthy community. With your support, we believe we can begin to unravel these complex issues for sustainable systems change throughout the Midcoast region.