Location: 144 Howe St. Lewiston, ME
Team: Julia Sleeper, Kim Sullivan, Deb Lewis, Ryan Morrill, Anwar Whiting, Christina Gaudio, Jasmine Black, Steve Crowson, Alex Bolden, Jamilia Davis, Cristal Martin
Tree Street Youth provides a safe space in Lewiston-Auburn that encourages healthy physical, social, emotional, and academic development while building unity through diversity. As the only solely youth-focused organization in Lewiston, programming is dictated by the youth served. The After School Academic, Arts, and Athletic Enrichment Program takes place each day after school, serving 120-150 youth grades, K-12 from 2-6 p.m.
How are you making Maine a better place for young people?
The mission of Tree Street Youth is to support the youth of Lewiston-Auburn, Maine through academics, the arts and athletics. We provide Lewiston-Auburn youth with a safe space that encourages healthy physical, social, emotional, and academic development while building unity across lines of difference.
Programming at Tree Street Youth is very multi-dimensional. Being the only solely youth-focused organization located in Downtown Lewiston, programming is greatly dictated by the various youth populations served. The After School Academic, Arts, and Athletic Enrichment Program takes place each day after school. This program serves between 120-150 youth grades K-12 each day and is open 5 days a week from 2-6p.m. Students receive tutoring and homework help services as well as safe-space mentoring. In addition each day various athletic and arts enrichment programs take place at the center for any interested youth. Programming includes basketball, cooking, music, art, gardening, girls group, karate, community service, hands on carpentry class, Step, book club, and dance. Programs are taught by staff and various community volunteers. The majority of youth we serve come from at risk or low-income backgrounds with approximately 75% being immigrant or refugee youth.
What challenges in your community are you addressing?
Youth living in the “Tree Street” Neighborhoods of downtown Lewiston face many challenges each day. The majority of youth that we serve (approximately 75%) are immigrant/refugee youth who have resettled in Lewiston/Auburn over the past decade. Many of these families struggle with acculturation, language barriers, and basic adjustment issues. The remaining 25% of youth that attend programming at Tree Street are American-born lower-income families who often struggle with single-parent homes, drug/alcohol abuse in their homes, and academic struggles. Tree Street works to provide a safe space for all youth no matter who they are to attend to find support and encouragement. In addition we provide an opportunity for youth of all backgrounds to come together and unite over their differences through their interest in enrichment activities.
Who will benefit from your idea? How will people access and learn about the work you are doing?
Any youth living in the Lewiston/Auburn area can benefit from our idea. Anyone is welcome to attend programming and participate or volunteer. People can get connected to Tree Street through referrals from local agencies, schools, or community organizations. Word of mouth is also a strong force in sharing about the work we are doing in the city.
What major success would you like to see at the end or apex of your project?
I would like to see Tree Street grow and expand programming in order to serve more youth from a wider range of backgrounds. Our hope is to have Tree Street be a place where everyone no matter who they are can come together to unite over the amazing youth living in Lewiston/Auburn.
Any thing else you’d like us to know?
Tree Street is almost entirely run by volunteers. As we are a new organization there is only 1 fulltime paid staff member. Because of this we rely a great deal on volunteers, the youth, and their families to help direct program development and maintenance of the space.
Project Partners (are you partnering with anyone else in the community?):
Bates College Harward Center, LEAP (L/A Arts), Longley School, Somali Bantu Community Mutual Assistance Association, Sylvan Tutoring, Trinity Church, University Southern Maine