Youth Engagement Center


Together We Can Support Our Community’s Youth

This year we conducted three separate studies to determine our region’s top needs. A Community Needs Assessment Survey, a series of focus groups, and a forum of over 90 business and community leaders all determined that our community’s top needs are providing safe and secure community spaces for youth, and providing non-athletic programming to draw out skills, create healthy aspirations, and combat the current mental heath and substance abuse crisis.

From this research, the concept of the Youth Engagement Center was developed. It will be a program area at the Bangor Region YMCA with a focus on Psychosocial Wellbeing, Community and Relationships, Community Service, Educational Engagement, and Safe Spaces. The Youth Engagement Center is intended to offer numerous programs to support a variety of youth with a variety of needs, providing the necessary relationships, opportunities, and environment to prevent mental health issues, and also provide psychological support for youth who already live with these challenges.

The outlined project will require support from numerous community partners to fund renovations to the physical space, purchase program equipment, and fund program expenses. We have already been awarded $17,300 from the United Way of Eastern Maine for program equipment. We have received a pledge from the University of Maine School of Social Work to provide bachelors and masters levels interns as clinical volunteers for this program. A $9,945 grant from the Maine Community Foundation has been awarded to support a per-diem LCSW who will supervise these masters level interns. A number of vital pieces of furniture have been donated by Berry Dunn to provide comfortable and quality spaces for our youth.

With these funds, along with matching funds from the Bangor Region YMCA, financial gifts and in-kind contributions from community partners, and grants from other charitable organizations, we will be able to develop and execute this critical program. We are still in need of funding for facility renovations, for non-clinical program staff, and for other program resources. We hope to open our doors on September 1, 2018. Please reach out to us if you would like to get involved in helping  us build this invaluable community asset. Call Emerald Forcier, the Director of Development & Community Engagement at 207-941-2808, or send her an email.

Program Highlights

  • All programs are low-barrier and completely free
  • Drop-In Center for Middle School & High School aged youth
  • Free, healthy snacks
  • TV, game tables, comfortable social spaces
  • Homework support
  • Building Bridges Mentor Program
  • Mental Health Support Group
  • Clinical counseling
  • Service Learning
  • Teens to Work College & Career Readiness
  • Interact Leaders Club
  • Middle School Leaders Club
  • Youth in Government & Council on National Affairs
  • S.T.E.A.M. Achievement Team