Report released on program helping kids in Maine aspire to greater career, life opportunities

Pencil(Associated Press)
Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 6:47 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - A new report has been released on a program aimed at helping kids in Maine aspire to greater career and life opportunities.

The Aspirations Incubator, funded by the Lerner Foundation, supports students from seventh grade until they graduate high school with a focus on developing connections with adults and peers.

It has been running at six sites around the state since 2017, including the Old Town/Orono YMCA group, called the River Runners.

The report highlights significant positive effects on students, including feeling more connected to their community, and more confidence that they will finish high school and further education.

Truancy rates among participants were also cut in half compared to peers.

”We do really drive home how important it is to be in school to be involved in your community. Because these students have the opportunity to be with us for these six years they really want to be there. They want to be leaders in their school, outside of their school,” said Jessica Dumont, River Runners program manager.

“Kids are gonna have different strengths and opportunities and we really take a hard look at that and the numbers that go along with that and then go, okay, how do we develop this program to fit this group of students, this individual student?” said Gretchen Leithiser, River Runners program manager.

You can read the full report at

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