Youth and Community Engagement
Youth and Community Engagement (YCE) staff engage with state, local, and tribal agencies, youth, and key community stakeholders to transform systems and communities so Maine’s young people experience better outcomes. Through our youth-adult partnership approach, we empower youth in transition to adulthood to serve as leaders and change advocates in partnership with adults. We help to build the capacity of individuals and communities to make significant changes to entrenched social problems through supporting people to tell their stories, developing multiple and accessible outlets for participation, and enhancing the capacity of community collaborations.
The Youth Leadership Advisory Team (YLAT) is the voice for Maine’s youth in Foster Care. YLAT is a partnership of youth and adults working together to improve outcomes for young people in the foster care system through: public speaking and training; advising decision makers about youth priorities; youth-centered laws and policies; and resources and opportunities for young people in foster care.
Maine-Wabanaki REACH, a cross-cultural collaborative made up of Maine child welfare staff and Wabanaki representatives, established and advises the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC). REACH educates Native and non-Native people about the history of Maine and Wabanaki peoples, promotes healing from intergenerational trauma, builds allies for improved tribal-state relations and will oversee the implementation of the TRC recommendations.
The Maine Youth Transition Collaborative (MYTC), made up of public and private partners from across Maine, works with young people, the child welfare system, and community members to ensure that youth transitioning from the foster care system to adulthood have the resources and personal connections they need to be successful. MYTC works with communities around Maine on the issues vital to a young person’s economic self-sufficiency, such as post-secondary education and employment.
The Southern Maine Youth Transition Network is a cross-sector collaborative comprised of youth and adults that seeks to reduce the number of teens and young adults in Southern Maine who are disconnected from school, work, and community through aligning programs so that older youth are guaranteed continuous support from secondary through postsecondary education and on to credentials and jobs. SMYTN includes public agencies, private service providers, faith-based organizations, businesses/industry sectors, foundations, and educators, as well as youth leaders with diverse life experiences and valuable expertise to share.
Portland Empowered engages students and parents in educational reform and decision-making, increasing opportunities in Portland Public High Schools for including their voice and leadership in making learning more student-centered.