Androscoggin Bank's MainStreet Foundation announced that New Beginnings has been named the 2018 recipient of its annual $25K for Kids grant. The award was presented at the MainStreet Foundation annual meeting held November 15, 2018 at the Ramada Lewiston Hotel and Conference Center in Lewiston, Maine.
Aligning with the Foundation's goal of providing the essentials of life - food, shelter, and security - to at-risk youth, New Beginnings will use the $25,000 award to increase the resources for food and housing available to youth that utilize their programs.
New Beginnings' Outreach Program is designed to find and build trust with youth who are living in unstable situations and at high risk for exploitation, and to help them improve their lives. The program helps prevent vulnerable youth ages 14 to 21 from becoming homeless, and helps those who have experienced homelessness to become stable, healthy adults. Funding from the MainStreet Foundation will help New Beginnings to provide greater access to food on a daily basis for youth at its Youth Drop-In Center, and to establish a new emergency client assistance project to eliminate barriers and help more young people access stable, independent housing.
"New Beginnings' outreach program serves more than 500 of Maine's most vulnerable young people each year-all of whom have experienced food insecurity and are at risk for homelessness," said Chris Bicknell, Executive Director of New Beginnings. "The $25K for Kids award means that we will be able to more than triple the number of meals we can provide, as well as helping up to 65 youth transition to permanent housing and stability in ways we couldn't before. We are grateful to the MainStreet foundation for partnering with us to provide the opportunity to improve and expand the existing services and-with input from the youth themselves-try new strategies to improve the health and wellbeing of the youth we serve."
MainStreet Foundation's mission is simple, focused and essential: to help keep kids safe, healthy, active, happy, educated and nourished. According to Steve Closson, the MainStreet Foundation's Chairman, "Food and shelter are what we consider to be the essentials of life, and we feel it is vital to our mission to ensure this funding helps provide those essentials to Maine youth. New Beginnings has already partnered with the Good Shepherd Food Bank to stretch its food budget as far as possible, and the organization's goals of greatly increasing the number of meals served as well as assisting with housing stability among homeless youth make New Beginnings a very deserving recipient of this year's grant."
To learn more about the New Beginnings, visit www.newbeginmaine.org.
This is the sixth year that MainStreet Foundation has awarded this annual grant. Last year, the grant was awarded to St. Mary's Nutrition Center, which ensures that children in the Lewiston-Auburn region have access to healthy, nutritious meals as well as programs that encourage positive growth. In 2016 the grant went to Preble Street Teen Center, a statewide organization that provides accessible, barrier-free services to empower people experiencing problems with homelessness, housing, hunger and poverty, and to advocate for solutions to these problems. In 2015, Longley Elementary School was awarded the grant for its after-school programming including an innovative walking school bus. In 2014, the grant was awarded to the Androscoggin Childhood Advocacy Center (ACAC), a child-focused center that promotes the healing of victims of child sexual abuse. In 2013, Good Shepherd Food Bank's BackPack Program in Lewiston and Auburn Schools received the grant.