Group Think


Jumpstart Our Youth, student philanthropy, grants

Students from Waterville, Winslow and Messalonskee gathered to hear seven nonprofit presentations for JOY grants

Use 10 minutes to earn $1000 from a discerning group of 200 middle and high schoolstudents.On March 5th 2013, seven area nonprofits lined up to pitch their organizations to JMG and Project Reach students from Messalonskee, Waterville and Winslow. The assembled students, who would rank which of the organizations deserved JOY grant funds at the conclusion of the presentations, learned a lot about challenges faced in their communities and about presentation style.

Lisa Bird from Special Olympics heard the group gasp when she told them that in the not-so- distant past, babies born with intellectual disabilities were occasionally suffocated by parents who knew that a bleak and unsupportive future awaited their children.

Steve Mayberry of the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers sought support for a teen parent/school program, telling the students that teen mothers cannot qualify for health insurance, food stamps, prescription medications or housing if under age 18.

Steve Soule of the South End Teen Center chose to show a slide presentation assembled by the teens served rather than take questions in his allotted time.

Tom Pekoe of Make-A-Wish Foundation drew the distinction of answering the most questions from the intrigued audience.  For the record, the most unusual wish granted to a Maine child with a life threatening illness was to provide a purple hot tub.

Betty Palmer of the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter helped the students envision an end to homelessness when she asserted that the 5,000 residents of the town of Oakland could surely find a solution to provide housing for the 11 homeless in their own town.

Students learned how they could become camp councilors at the Pine Tree Camp for people with disabilities.

Practically every student in the room was standing when asked by the Autism Society of Maine presenter how many had been touched by autism.

The morning presentations were recorded by WLBZ -TV.  Grants to the successful programs will be announced at the end of March.