Improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities

Youth and Lifelong Learning

Our Goal
United Way is dedicated to education, for youth and for people of any age, challenge or disability to reach their full potential.

Our Approach
Youth & Lifelong Learning volunteers’ work includes promoting the importance of building “youth assets” at home, in schools, and in the community.

United Way Funded Strategy Number of Local People Served
Offering positive activities for youth development 2,527
Mentoring youth at risk 689
Supporting people with disabilities to work and live to their potential 161
Tutoring adults who need help in reading and writing 177

A meaningful relationship between a child and their mentor, can have a powerful impact on both!

Four years ago a young girl and a teenager were first matched through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midcoast Maine’s School-Based Mentoring program. Kyara was a shy and nervous 2nd grader, and Paige, a freshman in high school, wanted to serve her community and build her resume for college. At that time Kyara enjoyed school, but caused fights with her peers. She didn’t have a big sister to look up to for the guidance she needed. In the beginning Paige was unsure if the relationship would ever develop in a deep and meaningful way.

They met weekly to sharing activities and interests. Their first year was a success, and both girls asked to be matched for a second, third, and eventually a fourth year! Over that time, they began to see each other as “real sisters” – not just as students in a program. Coordinators, parents, and teachers also saw the mutual impact. Kyara began to listen to Paige’s advice on friends, school, and bullying. Kyara says: “Paige was there to have fun with and helped me enjoy my life. She taught me to ignore drama. Now I don’t fight with others like I used to.”

Paige learned to think on her feet and accept unexpected challenges with thoughtfulness. She says: “I’ve had to cope with things I never realized I’d face in this program. Kyara doesn’t just have little kid problems -- she has real worries, and I have to think about how I would have felt at her age.”

Paige is now an honors graduate heading to Belmont University in Tennessee to study chemistry, and Kyara will be going to middle school to pursue cheerleading and gymnastics. Both are excited for their new transitions and are taking with them experiences and skills they otherwise might not have had. Both agree: “BBBS isn’t an afterschool activity - it’s a friendship!”

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