In conjunction with developing the 5-year plan for the Aspirations Incubator Program, we spent April and May reviewing proposals from 27 final applicants in our RFP process. The final applicants were selected from an initial pool of 81 candidates who responded to our request for proposals that outlined the following priorities for youth program models:
- Positive youth development that integrates both prevention and intervention strategies
- Multi-year mentoring activities – community or school-based
- Fostering social/emotional learning and resiliency asset building
- Encouraging higher education & career exploration
- Utilizing evaluation data to inform programming
In reviewing the final applications, we realized that the breadth and depth of programming across the state varied widely, and we had a range of different types of organizations that applied, so we developed 4 categories for grant awards. Following is a description of the categories and the grants awarded within each category:
Leaders in the Field - $10,000 grants to organizations with established youth programs that rise to the top, and serve as inspirational examples of effective, evidence-based program models focused on raising the aspirations of middle school students.
- Community Bicycle Center
- Maine Robotics
- Maine Seacoast Mission – EdGE Program
- The Game Loft
- The Telling Room
- Tree Street Youth
- University of New England – Office of Citizenship & Civic Engagement
Promise and Potential - $5,000 grants to organizations with programs for middle school students that have been in place for 1-3 years, are rooted within a solid organizational structure, and utilize a developmentally appropriate program model to effectively focus on raising the aspirations of middle school students.
- Lubec Community Outreach Center
- Maine Academy of Modern Music – Machias Program
- Seeds of Independence
Seed Investment - $5,000 grants to solid youth-serving organizations that are proposing a new, innovative, well-researched, and well-designed program focused on raising the aspirations of middle school students.
- Harpswell Coastal Academy – Propeller Program
- Herring Gut Learning Center – Alumni Mentoring Program
- Island Institute – Middle School Teaching and Learning Collaborative Expansion
Strong Schools - $5,000 grants to middle schools that are taking an innovative, student-centered approach to working with students to raise aspirations and support students academically, emotionally, and behaviorally in the school setting, while also connecting with community resources in an effective way to broaden support for student needs during out-of-school time.
- Maine School Administrative District #44: Telstar Middle School
- Regional School Unit #1: FLOW Program
- Regional School Unit #10: Mountain Valley Middle School