Young People are serving their communities

Youth Caucuses of Kennebec, Penobscot and Washington County embark on Semester of Service to fulfill Youth Service Grants awarded from Volunteer Maine.

Mobilize Recovery
/February 27, 2024

The Youth Caucuses of Kennebec, Penobscot and Washington County are embarking on a Semester of Service to fulfill the Youth Service Grants awarded to all three of the caucuses from Volunteer Maine. The grant is based on the 'beloved community' philosophy of Martin Luther King Jr.—a community where all people are respected, cared for, and treated as equals. A beloved community is a space for economic and social justice, peaceful conflict resolution, and the reconciliation of humanity. The first step in this grant is for the youth to investigate and learn more about this philosophy and about the life of Martin Luther King Jr. on January 15.

The youth wasted no time in getting right to work. They learned about the 'beloved community' philosophy of Martin Luther King Jr. and based their projects to carry out one or more of the twin pillars, social justice and equality, that support this concept. All projects will be imagined, directed and led by the youth because this is how our Youth Caucuses operate.

Washington County Youth Caucus made the news in the Quoddy Tides Newspaper. Positive news like this helps us to reverse the stigma of families who have loved ones with substance use. Emma, one of the youth members, is also working toward that goal by building a presence on TikTok.

Their caucus' project for the Volunteer Maine grant is to design, build and stock a number of mini library boxes and to also continue their hygiene drive. This month they are well on their way to finalizing a design for the boxes and are putting together a list of books to stock. Books will include subjects related to climate change, racial justice, LGBTQ literature and mental health. They feel that these subjects help to educate the public in areas which will help build the beloved communities of MLK's vision.

Penobscot County Youth Caucus has extended their hours to two hours every Sunday and expanded into a bigger space at Bangor Area Recovery Network.

The Penobscot Caucus' grant projects will be to train students their age to administer Naloxone and to support LGBTQ youth in the community. Toward these goals, the youth have been drafting Youth Narcan Curriculum and are working in collaboration with Bangor Public Health to have all of the group to be Narcan- trained in preparation for their April Pop-Up event.

In January, the youth also participated in a documentary filming at BARN about LGBTQIA+ in recovery. Two of our young people participated directly in the filming and interviewing. The youth also continue to host a weekly peer-based support group with Health Equity Alliance on Mondays 3pm-5pm. They have been invited by Healthy Acadia to present their personal stories and a panel at their Youth Mental Health summit.

Kennebec County Youth Caucus conducted a day of service on MLK day by volunteering at Project Fresh Start, a nonprofit that collects and distributes gently used household items to people in need.

The youth began the day by showing the documentary "Recovery in Maine: Youth Voices. After sharing their story with the Staff at Project Fresh Start, they shared their muscle power by helping reorganize and clean out storage areas for the nonprofit.

The following week at their meeting, the youth expressed through artwork what kindness means to a community. Some of the concepts included a world where all countries were peaceful, where the homeless didn't go hungry, and communities that grew all the food they needed locally. The vision of youth is inspiring.

If you know of youth who have been impacted by substance use in their families or friends, check out a youth caucus in one of the three locations. In Kennebec County, contact [email protected]. In Washington County, contact [email protected]. In Penobscot Country, contact [email protected].


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