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United Way of Southern Maine’s (UWSM) Women United announced an investment of $73,937 in Anchoring Youth to Succeed, a program run by Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine (BGCSM) and A Company of Girls (ACOG). Women United chose the program based on its alignment with Thrive2027 and Women United’s primary investment in Project WIN (Women in Neighborhoods), a program that supports low-income single mothers and their families in Portland’s Bayside area.

“We were focused on closing the gap for youth and teens who aged out of early care and education services in the Bayside community,” said Leslie Gibbons, Women United Investment Committee. “Through this partnership, we’re more intentionally addressing acute needs — whether that’s increasing age-appropriate academic supports, after-school programming, employment, and education planning, or services that promote and treat youth behavioral health.”

Since 2018, Women United’s Project WIN has served 26 mothers and 85 children with a two-generation approach that puts women on a path to financial stability, increases social capital, and ensures their kids get a strong start in life.

“Women United’s support comes at a critical time as we work to move forward past the challenges of the last year,” said Karen MacDonald, Chief Operating Officer of Boys & Girls Club of Southern Maine. “This grant is an investment in the young people we serve. The Clubs are committed to continuing to provide hope and opportunity by supporting academic success and building leaders.”

Through this partnership, BGCSM & ACOG will provide more academic supports and mentoring, parent engagement, arts-based enrichment, and summer programming focused on learning, enrichment, and social-emotional wellness. Additionally, the Anchoring Youth to Succeed program will collaborate with other youth-serving organizations such as Mayo Street Arts, Portland Public Library, Community Policing, the Root Cellar, and Bayside Anchor to offer enriching workshops for both youth and families.

“Our partnership with UWSM and BGCSM to create arts-based enrichment opportunities specifically tailored to these participants, advances our efforts to create healthy, vibrant futures for children in our community.” said Jennifer Roe, Executive Director of A Company of Girls. “Innovative and collaborative projects like Anchoring Youth to Succeed are instrumental in increased high school graduation rates and thriving futures, and the arts can play a critical role in that success by providing opportunities for creative thinking, collaboration, and other 21st century skills necessary in today’s job market.”
To learn more about United Way of Southern Maine, Women United, and Thrive2027, our community’s three goals for a thriving future, visit uwsme.org.

About Women United
Women United, a giving circle of United Way of Southern Maine, is an influential force for the advancement of low-income, single mothers and their children and is comprised of women business, philanthropic, and volunteer leaders. Through investment, volunteerism, and advocacy, Women United leads critical work in support of the five tenets of two-generation programming: Early Childhood Education (ages 0-8); K-12 Education; Family Economic Supports; Family Development and Social Capital; and Health and Well-Being. Women United is aligned with Thrive2027 and leverages United Way of Southern Maine’s rich history, resources, knowledge, and relationships to achieve results.

About United Way of Southern Maine
United Way of Southern Maine’s (UWSM) mission is to improve people’s lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community. UWSM unites individuals and organizations around our community’s shared vision to improve education, financial stability, and health for every person in Southern Maine. With community partners, UWSM builds on strategies that are known to achieve the best results, and rigorously evaluates progress toward those goals. UWSM actively seeks to engage donors, advocates, and volunteers to create measurable, long-lasting community change. Learn more at uwsme.org.

About Boys and Girls Clubs
For more than 110 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine has provided youth development programs for children ages 6-18. Our five Clubhouses located in Auburn/Lewiston, Portland, and South Portland are safe places to learn, have fun, and develop skills and interests that last a lifetime. For more information visit bgcmaine.org.

About A Company of Girls
Now in our 25th year, A Company of Girls (ACOG) is an award-winning, nationally recognized, arts-based empowerment and resiliency program primarily for youth who identify as girls. Through experiences in theater, as well as visual and culinary arts, ACOG seeks to cultivate self-confidence, build resiliency, and create a community of tolerance and acceptance where uniqueness is celebrated, and creativity thrives. For more information check out our website at: www.acompanyofgirls.org.