Part 1: Donna Dwyer, President and CEO, of My Place Teen Center joins me to talk about their mission to provide a safe haven for youth ages 10-18, sustaining them with comfort, meals, resources, and hope. My Place Teen Center (MPTC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, regional organization headquartered in Westbrook, Maine, with a temporary location secured in Saco, and a soon-to-be new one in Biddeford (opening in 2022).
They are a year round, free, out of school time program. They provide academic assistance through tutoring, study skills, the Learning Technology Lab, and Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math (STEAM) programs. They offer instruction in character development, leadership development, life skills, job skills, and financial literacy. They focus on aspects of healthy, responsible moral development that builds strong character, self-esteem, academic, and leadership skills.
The culture at the Teen Center is one in which they are loving first and firm when needed. A family-type, anti-bullying, safe environment is their hallmark. When youth walk through their Red Doors, they see kids who have the potential to thrive with mentoring and guidance. Their niche is fostering grit, perseverance, curiosity, passion, and accountability. These non-academic pursuits are the success indicators of positive, thriving futures. They are committed to engaging these young people in positive relationships and meaningful activities that allow them to be courageous in the face of their traumatic life circumstances.
Given their transient, middle and high school population, they know that hunger and homelessness are on the rise and parent substance use is a contributing factor to their kids’ exposure to early trauma. Confronted with the fallout of childhood trauma, they are asking why do some children adapt and overcome, while others bear lifelong scars that flatten their potential? A growing body of evidence points to one common answer: Every child who winds up doing well has had at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive adult.
Please consider donating to help My Place Teen Center continue their mission. Not only will you be helping children today, but also our future adults!
Part 2: Weekly Words of Wisdom – Lynda shares a story about a recent encounter with an angry parent and provides tips on how we can have a positive influence on our children.