Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Children, Youth and Families

Sonja Howard

Director, NAFCC Accreditation


338A Wishcamper Center

Contact Information

Phone: (207) 230-0114

Sonja Howard is an Accreditation Facilitator at Maine Roads to Quality. Her role is to provide support and technical assistance to cohorts of family child care providers seeking NAFCC accreditation and to cohorts of center based directors whose programs are seeking NAEYC accreditation. She has been trained to be a NAEYC validator and an NAFCC observer. Sonja has over 22 years of experience in the field of early childhood education. She has been director and assistant director of two lab schools in Maine; at UMF and Westbrook College (now UNE.) She has been a family child care provider and has many years of experience supporting and training family child care providers. She has enjoyed being an adjunct faculty member for UMF, UNE, SMTC, and EMTC teaching a variety of courses. Additionally, Sonja has worked for Head Start as a program manager for center based and home based options. She is a CDA advisor and trainer. Sonja has a B.S. from the University of Maine at Farmington and an M.S. from Wheelock College in Early Childhood Education.

Nellie Mae Education Foundation nominates Pious Ali for the Lawrence W. O'Toole Award

Pious Ali

Pious Ali, Youth and Community Engagement Specialist in Cutler’s Children, Youth, and Families Programs, has been nominated for the Lawrence W. O’Toole Award by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. Pious is one of six nominees from the New England states.

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation believes that student-centered learning – where learning is personalized, engaging, competency-based and not restricted to the classroom – will prepare young people to graduate high school ready to contribute to their communities and succeed. This award is given out each year to an individual, school district, or non-profit that has exhibited great leadership in moving student-centered approaches to learning forward in the New England region.

The winner will be selected by online voting and will be awarded a $100,000 grant to help advance student centered learning!


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MYTC 2014 Celebration

Colby Swettberg, May 2014, MYTC

Every year the Maine Youth Transition Collaborative brings together youth and adult partners from around Maine to celebrate the year's achievements and milestones.

MYTC’s fourth annual celebration dinner was held at the Brunswick Hotel and Tavern on May 13, 2014. Over seventy young adults, adult partners, professionals, legislators, adoptive families, and friends came together for an evening of fun, renewed connections, learning, and good food.

The importance of mentors in the lives of young people was the theme for the evening. The keynote speaker, Colby Swettberg, Executive Director of Adoption and Foster Care Mentoring in Boston, was introduced by Jacob Hills. Ms. Swettberg talked about what good mentor-mentee relationships look like for youth in foster care and led a discussion about best practices and challenges to bringing youth and mentors together.

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