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Youth Homelessness - Life Skills - Minutes for Feb 16, 2012

Attended: Ashalie Wark, Ruth Saint Amand, Connie Ladd, Nancy Souza, Angela McMahon, Tony Veit, Cindy Manson
  • Ashalie Wark of Youth Move Maine, shared a survey that’s given to youth, guardians, service providers who wish to join. Being a youth-led organization, the agenda of the group becomes tailored to the needs/wants of each specific group. One group may focus on nutrition & cooking, another on health & wellness, or advocacy of self/telling your story.
  • Life skills training cannot be a one-step, single curriculum, specific time and place delivery system. The content is unique to each youth and the time and place of delivery must be accessible & safe to the youth as well as what they need and at a time they are able to receive it physically and emotionally.
  • The ruralness of the catchment area warrants de-centralizing the “where” as we need to go where the youth are…
  • What needs to be centralized is the resources or clearinghouse so that everyone is aware of and connected to all possible resources to offer the homeless youth.
  • Need to tap into existing groups that are providing training in Life Skills. Existing programs like Youth Move Maine, YETE, JMG….. and need to have many varied ways/places/times available to each homeless youth who needs support.
  • Connie Ladd and Angela McMahon connected with Gwen Bacon (Messalonskee Adult Ed) and Patty Bowman (Skowhegan Adult Ed) who are both very interested in conversations about Adult Ed providing training to teens, knowing that it would might possibly need to happen in off-site locations.
  • Can YETE be expanded beyond the Wtvl school program? The restraint is funding, but it could be and should be duplicated through a business avenue vs a non-profit in order to build a financial base. Business focused groups like Rotary would be great. An example of a WTVL business leader who has gone above and beyond expectations of an employer sponsoring a YETE candidate is Charlie Gaunce. He’s become a spokesperson for YETE.
  • The process of engaging homeless youth is one-on-one or small groups, which translates to “expense of services”.
  • Key tool for use with these youth is Motivational Interviewing, which accesses youth in a way that honors their background but moves forward, is a non-clinical engagement technique using a harm reduction model…Are they ready and motivated to make a change?
  • Wtvl Public Library’s Career Counseling program focuses on adults…can a program happen that focuses on youth?
  • Ruth Saint Amand of HealthReach RSVP is looking to utilize the Threshholds program with youth and is presently collaborating with Nancy Sousa to do a small pilot program with 2 or 3 youth.
  • Need a basic assessment tool to find out: Where the youth is at? What do they need? What’s their level of motivation? From here the youth is tapped into the most appropriate resources available.
  • How would the youth be targeted to do the assessment (high school, youth groups or ???)?
  • Tony Veit will check with Preble St whose program is very successful, to see what hurdles they faced while building their program. This info might help us maintain positivity as we develop/build programs/resources in central Maine.
  • When looking into mentors and training of mentors look at RSVP’s training program for their volunteers. The format is well developed and implemented. Trained volunteers means greater success and no expense.
  • Connie Ladd will be checking with the Library and Career Center in Skowhegan, as possible space to provide resources (Life Skills training) to the homeless youth in that area.
  • In a perfect world, we want a “Preble St” program. In a realistic world at this time, we need everyone together at the table with their expertise and motivation around initiatives for youth, so that the homeless youth can be quickly and efficiently moved to the resources he or she needs.

Food for thought Value-Added Community-if everyone gives a little extra to the support/work/care of others, the sum of the total would be huge and impactive, but to each individual “giver” it would feel like a small amount from them.

Goal for the February 28 meeting of all 3 Initiative groups is to share:

  • What we’ve learned
  • what needs to happen next
  • how do we do it
  • what’s already being done and can it be used as a template/model for other things


  • trained volunteer mentors for individual homeless youth before/during/after their homelessness and or life challenges
  • to market a community vision and plan to business community stakeholders, getting a complete buy in financially, guaranteeing greater success.

Will the Life Skills Initiative committee continue (if so what is direction/plan?) or will it evolve once info from all 3 groups is presented?

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