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Author Archives: Samuel Chamberlain

YMM Announces findings of What Helps? What Harms? Initiative

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Youth MOVE Maine is an organization founded on the belief that all young people should have the opportunity to advocate for themselves and play an active role in decision-making that affects their lives. What Helps? What Harms? is an initiative intended to influence programs and policies for youth. A form of this process was first completed by a chapter of Youth MOVE in Westchester County, New York, to address various topics, services and systems that were unique to that community. To bring the authentic voice of Maine youth, Youth MOVE Maine utilized youth driven approaches including targeted focus groups of youth in Cumberland, Androscoggin and Penobscot counties to gather What Helps?, What Harms? and What’s Needed? in Maine. This process compiled diverse voices of youth who have experience with juvenile justice, mental health, community, foster care, education and employment.

Purpose Statement: Youth MOVE Maine What Helps? What Harms? initiative is a youth driven project to empower youth in identifying helpful and harmful assets from each of the 6 identified pillars (Community, Employment, School, Mental Health, Juvenile Justice, Foster Care). Through their lived experiences within these pillars, youth also voice what is needed for the systems of care to be more supportive and resourceful.

Activity Statement: Youth MOVE Maine met with targeted youth who had lived experiences within each of the 6 pillars. These meetings were inclusive of the focus groups in a variety of settings to ensure a diverse dialogue of youth voices. Each focus group was conducted using a set of questions which included what their experience has been within the pillar, what has been challenging, what has been helpful and what they see as needing reform.

Youth voices need to be heard at all levels, including state and local levels. Youth are continuously facing obstacles and struggles within the 6 identified pillars. Youth voices and ideas are vital in learning the true gaps that exist within our systems, and identifying changes that will result in more relevant, supportive and effective services.

Read the What Helps? What Harms? Initiative Findings Document here.

Are you interested in learning more about Youth MOVE Maine? Please contact us here.


July Staff Highlight: Megan Skilling

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MeganSkillingHow long have you been with Youth MOVE Maine and what is your position?
I am the Mid Maine Regional Coordinator and I have worked for youth MOVE Maine for almost a year and a half! Prior to that I was a public school teacher.

What about Youth MOVE Maine and the work that happens here inspires you?
Everyday I am inspired by youth that I work with.

Watching the youth grow and have a voice! I am continuously inspired and amazed daily buy how motivated and determined the youth are. I love seeing THEM make a difference and impact in their community. I love providing them with  resources that they need and helping them grow. They inspire me everyday to be a better person. They challenge me to expand my knowledge base and comfort zone. I learn as much if not more from them as they learn for me. I look forward to going to work nearly everyday!

The MOVE in Youth MOVE stands for Motivating Others Through Voices of Experience, what does that mean to you?
It means that everyone has a voice, regardless of age, gender, race etc, and they can use their voice to motivate others and help others and each other grow. It means that you can use that voice to make a difference and you can learn from every experience.

What is your favorite passtime?
I am a fitness instructor as well and enjoy teaching zumba, taking classes and working out. In addition to that I enjoy spending time in the summer at my families camp on the lake. I love crafting too. I just purchased my first home and look forward to making it my own. I like to keep busy!

If you could do anything to change the world, what would you do?
Wow. That’s a hard question! It may sound cliche but I would love to see acceptance. There is so much hate and disappear in the world and I would love to turn on the news and see stories that were positive and not so discouraging and sad.

You can bring 3 things to an island, what would you bring?
Am I by myself?!?!?! Hmmm…
1. Sunscreen – I burn!
2. My friend so I wouldn’t be alone.
3. A picnic basket of food and snacks!
Hopefully this is only a day trip 😂

July Youth Highlight: Joy Harrington

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Joy-HarringtonPeriodically, Youth MOVE Maine likes to highlight youth in the community holding true to our values of being a youth-focused statewide organization. This month, we chose to highlight Joy, a lifelong Mainer, and a recent graduate of Stonehill College, here is what she said:

Tell us a little about yourself…

Hi there, I’m Joy, a 22-year-old Lewiston native who is incredibly passionate about social justice and laughing a lot. My sense of humor is a cross between a 5-year-old and a dad, and I care about making the world a more just and compassionate place. Also, I really enjoy traveling and going on adventures!

You recently graduated from Stonehill College, what were you studying? What would you like to do with your degree?

As a first-generation college student, graduating was such a big deal for me and my family! I double-majored in Sociology and American Studies with a minor in Gender & Sexuality Studies. I plan on pursuing a career in social work, with the goal of obtaining my Masters in Social Work within the next few years.

Since graduating college, what have you been up to? What are you going to be doing this fall?

Right after graduating, I started working at the Bowdoin College Upward Bound program for my third year as their Residence Director. I will be with UB until August, and then I’ll be joining the Tree Street Youth staff in Lewiston, ME as an AmeriCorps volunteer! I will be working in their college guidance program, BRANCHES. When I’m not working, I’ve been catching up on sleep, playing Ultimate frisbee, and hanging out with friends & family!

What advice would you give to youth who are starting college soon?

For the youth who are about to start one of the greatest adventures ever, I want to recommend that you look and take every opportunity your school offers. Join the clubs you want to join, find a way to study abroad for a year, go to your professors’ office hours and ask about their life path, take those really cool electives that feed your soul. Find what makes your campus feel like your home, and run with it!

Do you have any words of wisdom for youth who are thinking about college or post-high school endeavors?

Go for it! Stay chasing your dreams- and catch them.

What is your favorite meal?

I appreciate a good eggplant parmesan dish!

June Staff Highlight: Heidi Allen

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Heidi is a Youth Support Partner in our Southern Region, we recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Heidi and learning more about what she is doing.

HeidiHow long have you been with Youth MOVE Maine and what is your position?
I have been a Youth Support Partner at Youth Move Maine for 5 months.

What about Youth MOVE Maine and the work that happens here inspires you?
Every day I am inspired by the triumphant stories and resiliency of others.

The MOVE in Youth MOVE stands for Motivating Others Through Voices of Experience, what does that mean to you?
Motivating Others Through Voices of Experience, to me, means using my own lived experience and struggles to empower others to overcome their own hard times.

What is your favorite part of your job?
In this job, I grow and learn on a daily basis. Being a YSP is extremely fun and rewarding.

When you’re not being a YSP, what do you do with your time?
When I am off the clock I enjoy spending time with my 5 year old son, hanging out with family and friends and playing/watching sports.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would travel to Brazil.


June Youth Highlight: Kevin Milovich

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Recently, we had the pleasure of meeting a youth in the Northern Maine Region to share a little about himself and what he thinks of Youth MOVE Maine.

KevinTell me a little about yourself…

My name is Kevin Milovich. I love to go for bike rides and I love to watch movies.

How are you involved with Youth MOVE Maine?

I have a Youth Support Partner but I also go to events in the community that Youth Move Maine is a part of or attends. Like, Open Mic Night in downtown Bangor, we’re going to a viewing of Paper Tigers next week and we’re doing some hiking trips this summer.

What part of Youth MOVE Maine do you find helpful or inspiring?

My Youth Support Partner has been through similar things that I have and we talk about them together. We’re both pretty resilient!

What do you think is one of the biggest challenges facing youth today?

I couldn’t name just one. The big three I see are abuse, neglect and guidance.

How do you think we could make youth voice more represented in the world today?

Today, social media is the best way to be heard. That’s what everyone’s about and where you’re heard.

What is your favorite dessert?

Sweet frog frozen yogurt! And now my Youth Support Partner and I have bonded over something yet again…

May Staff Highlight: Kaylee Wing

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Kaylee is a Youth Support Partner in our Northern Maine Region. We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Kaylee and learning more about her role, and how she interacts with youth across the Northern Maine Region.

How long have you been with Youth MOVE Maine and what is your role?

I’ve been with Youth MOVE Maine for 8 months as a Youth Support Partner.

What is one part of your role that inspires you?

What inspires me the most about my role in Youth MOVE Maine is the chance to see the young people I work with continue to grow and take control to make good decisions for their lives.

What does “Motivating Others through Voices of Experience” mean to you?

“Motivating Others through Voices of Experience” to me means sharing your own personal struggles and stories of resiliency to help inspire another person through their struggles. It’s all about connecting with that person on a mutual level.

What do you do when you’re not at Youth MOVE Maine?

Outside of Youth MOVE I spend my time with my beautiful daughter and my family. I’m also a full-time student at Beal College to get my associate degree in Medical Assisting.

What is a binge-worthy show?

A binge-worthy show for me would definitely be between Vampire Diaries, Chicago P.D, Chicago-Med, and Nurse Jackie.


May Youth Highlight: Madina Abdi

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MadinaMadina is a Sophomore at Lewiston High School, and a member of our Mid-Maine Region’s Advisory Council. Recently, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Madina and learning more about her.

Tell me a little about yourself…

I’m a very social person, I like being around people, and I’m very curious. I like to know what is happening around me. I like to join events and volunteer at various places around the community.

How are you involved with Youth MOVE Maine?

I am a member of the Advisory Council in the Mid-Maine Region.

What part of Youth MOVE Maine do you find helpful or inspiring?

I like what I am doing now [with Advisory Council], it inspires me because it is working against stigma and trying to change Lewiston to make it better for all of us, and it inspires me because that is what I want to do – I want to change what is going around and try to make Lewiston better for youth like me and for younger kids as they grow.

What do you think is one of the biggest challenges facing youth today?

Abuse of drugs, and growing up too fast. There are young kids that want to be mature, and they do things that older kids and adults would do. They grow up too fast, and they’re not enjoying their childhood.

How do you think we could make youth voice more represented in the world today?

Have more events that are held by youth, youth should be working on the events and feel like they are part of the event and the planning of events.

What is your favorite passtime?

Reading. I read anything, I am reading Anthem right now. I also like to volunteer and give my time to others.

Youth MOVE Maine joins Penobscot Job Corps to host an Open Mic Night in Bangor

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Youth MOVE Maine joined Penobscot Job Corps Center at COESPACE in Bangor to host an Open Mic Night. Youth from all over shared personal stories, poems, and songs! The event focused on bullying, resiliency, and nonviolence.

The event was moving and powerful for so many of the participants. Many of the presentations were very emotional, afterwards peers would go up and hug the presenters. The night concluded when the emcee – a Job Corps student, reminded everyone in the room that, “we are a family, we might be dysfunctional, but we are a family.” The support and love between everyone in the room was overwhelming.



Youth MOVE Maine Hikes to End Homelessness

Samuel Chamberlain No Comments

A view of the festival at the Bangor Waterfront.

A view of the festival at the Bangor Waterfront.

On Saturday April 9th, members from the Youth MOVE Maine North office in Brewer, joined over 1,000 hikers at the Annual Hike for the Homeless to benefit the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter. According to the shelter’s Facebook page, over 1,000 hikers joined the event, raising over $36,000 to benefit the shelter.

YMM North Staff (left to right) Kaylee, Sam, and Hannah Joy.

YMM North Staff (left to right) Kaylee, Sam, and Hannah Joy.

The event began at one of 4 starting locations in either Bangor, Brewer, Herman, or Hampden and everyone hiked from their starting location to the Bangor Waterfront for a festival of prizes, food, fun, and friends!

As part of our mission as Youth MOVE Maine, we desire “to impact systems of care, we use youth-driven and youth-guided practices to create awareness surrounding issues important to young people.” Homelessness is an issue that affects many young people in Maine, and one that many of those engaged with our organization hold dear to their hearts.

Bangor Trunk or Treat!

Samuel Chamberlain No Comments

On Monday October 26th, the Bangor Region attended the Bangor Housing Authority’s Annual Trunk or Treat event. The housing authority’s parking lot was full of cars decorated and passing out candy. The Bangor team was well represented with a couple Witches and a Squirrel. The Trunk or Treat event gave area kids the opportunity to go trick-or-treating in a fun, safe, and comfortable space. In addition to the trick-or-treating, Bangor Housing also put on a haunted house inside their offices. The Trick or Trunk event was a great success, we can’t wait for next year!

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3 Regional Offices across Maine!

Youth MOVE Maine operates 3 regional offices across the state! Our offices are hubs of youth-focused activities! Find an office near you to get involved in one of our many programs across Maine.