$25k for Kids Winners
The 2017 winner is St. Mary's Nutrition Center.
Learn more about the criteria for MainStreet Foundation’s $25K for Kids grant here.
2017 Winner - St. Mary's Nutrition Center
St. Mary's Nutrition Center supports the Lewiston-Auburn region by strengthening community connections, addressing root causes, nurturing a sense of place, and facilitating a deeper commitment to equity across the community. They believe that everyone deserves access to healthy food, and it is a fundamental right.
Focused on using access to healthy food as an entry point to leadership development, community building and making long-term change, the $25,000 award was presented to the Nutrition Center. The award will help it strengthen its youth leadership programs so it can better support teens who have limited opportunities.
2016 Winner - The Preble Street Teen Center
The award was presented at the MainStreet Foundation annual meeting held November 17, 2016 at Cheverus High School in Portland, Maine. Focused on its mission of providing the three essentials of life - food, shelter and security - to as many children as possible, the $25K for Kids award was presented to Preble Street Teen Center to help it maintain and expand its many services to children and teens.
Preble Street is a statewide organization aimed toward providing accessible, barrier-free services to empower people experiencing problems with homelessness, housing, hunger and poverty, and to advocate for solutions to these problems. The Preble Street Teen Center focuses on the youth and teens of Maine who have been forced to leave home, often battling mental illness, substance abuse and homelessness. Every year, Preble Street is seeing in increase in the number of youth asking for help and the increasing complexity of their situations.
Elena Schmidt, Chief Development Officer of Preble Street, shared why the $25K for Kids award is so meaningful to Preble Street: "It's hard to overstate the importance of MainStreet Foundation funding for Maine kids who really need it. It means safety around the clock, meals, health care, counseling, education and employment. And most important, it gives kids who have been abandoned and abused-who are in the hardest times of life, whose futures hang in the balance- a chance to begin to trust, to dream, to reach their goals, and to find a place to call home.
2015 Winner - Longley Elementary School
The 2015 award was presented to Longley Elementary School to help it continue its after-school programming, including their innovative walking school bus program.
Specifically, selected K-2 students will participate in an online iRead literacy lab, in support of the district’s commitment to the Campaign for Grade Level Reading.
Students in grades 3-6 will participate in self-selected clubs focused on learning through the development of students’ multiple intelligences.
The funds will also enable two Longley staff members to serve as a walking school bus, to escort children safely home.
Longley Elementary’s after-school program
Longley Elementary School is a neighborhood school within the Lewiston Public Schools district that serves students from downtown Lewiston, all of whom live within walking distance. Longley employs 80 full-time staff members and currently serves over 400 students, almost all whom are living in poverty.
According to Principal Kristie Clark, “After-school programming is particularly important for Longley students for several reasons. For many students living in poverty, additional academic support is necessary for students to catch up to their peers. It’s also critical that at-risk youth have support and mentorship after school hours. It is a place where they can feel safe, express themselves and form bonds with their teachers and classmates.”
2014 Winner - Androscoggin Children's Advocacy Center
Congratulations to Androscoggin Children's Advocacy Center (ACAC), the winner of our 2014 $25K for Kids grant! The award was presented at the MainStreet Foundation annual meeting on November 20, 2014 in Lewiston, Maine.
After reviewing applications from over 15 organizations, and selecting three exceptional finalists, including My Place Teen Center and New Beginnings, the award was presented to ACAC to help it provide expanded support and security to children in Androscoggin, Oxford and Franklin counties who are victims of child sexual abuse.
ACAC is a child-focused center based in Lewiston that promotes the healing of victims of child sexual abuse. The ACAC is a place where children who have been abused can be interviewed by a specially trained forensic interviewer in a child-friendly, secure environment, rather than be interviewed multiple times by those who need information (law enforcement, DHHS, etc.). ACAC is a community initiative that provides a safe environment for child abuse investigations and treatment, supporting a multi-disciplinary approach to work with the child abuse victims. Their primary goal is to ensure that children are not further victimized by the intervention systems designed to protect them.
With only one forensic interviewer currently on staff, ACAC interviewed 205 kids as of October 2014. The ACAC's growth since its inception in 2005 shows an investment of the multi-disciplinary team approach to the investigation of child abuse cases and the recovery of child abuse victims and their families. The $25K for Kids grant will allow ACAC to pursue advanced forensic interviewer training, add a multi-disciplinary trainer to its personnel and offset operating costs.
2013 Winner - Good Shepherd Food Bank
The winner of the $25k for Kids Award for 2013 is the Good Shepherd Food Bank and their weekend food backpack program.
With some of the highest poverty and food insecurity rates in the state, Lewiston Auburn's four elementary schools teach hundreds of students who literally depend on the free breakfast and lunch provided each day. Many of these children go home on weekends and holidays and do not have access to meals on a regular basis.
Good Shepherd's Backpack Program provides each school with enough healthy food for a child to bring home to his/her family for a weekend of sustainable meals. Unfortunately, the Backpack program only meets a fraction of the needs in Lewiston/Auburn. The support offered by this award helped add 100 new backpacks to the program.