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MainStreet Foundation awards $25K for Kids grant to New Beginnings

Pictured here (l. to r.) are Lacey Donle, Outreach Program Coordinator; Danylle Carson, New Beginnings Board VP and Attorney at Wilson & Associates; Julie Buffington, New Beginnings Board Treasurer and Chief Retail Officer, SVP Androscoggin Bank; Chris Bicknell, Executive Director; Connor Tamminen, Outreach Staff Member; Topher Balderas, Outreach Program Director; Sam Buhlig, Outreach Staff Member; Jessy Kendall, Outreach Staff Member; Rachel Spencer-Reed, Director of Development and Community Services; Steve Closson, MainStreet Foundation Chair; and Paul Andersen, CEO of Androscoggin Bank.

Androscoggin Bank’s MainStreet Foundation has announced that the 2018 recipient of its annual $25K for Kids grant will be New Beginnings. 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 availability of food and housing resources to youth who utilize their programs.

Based in Lewiston, New Beginnings’ Outreach Program is designed to find and build trust with youth living in unstable situations and at high risk for exploitation. 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 provide greater access to food on a daily basis at its Youth Drop-In Center and 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 help up to 65 youth transition to permanent housing and stability in ways we couldn’t have 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 well-being of those we serve.”

“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,” said MainStreet Foundation Chair Steve Closson. “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.” For more information about New Beginnings, see 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. In 2015, the grant was awarded to Longley Elementary School for its after-school programming, including an innovative walking school bus. In 2014, the grant went to the Androscoggin Childhood Advocacy Center, a child-focused center that promotes the healing of victims of child sexual abuse. In 2013, the award went to Good Shepherd Food Bank’s BackPack Program in the Lewiston and Auburn schools.

Androscoggin Bank’s MainStreet Foundation has a mission that is simple, focused, and essential: to help keep at-risk kids in Maine safe, healthy, active, happy, educated, and nourished. Four times a year, the MainStreet Foundation awards grants up to $5,000 to excellent nonprofit agencies actively working in our communities to help kids thrive. These grants vary based on need and typically total more than $50,000 per year. For more information, visit www.mainstreet-foundation.org.

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