In mid 2010, Healthy Peninsula (as one of the Healthy Maine Partnerships) was looking for a positive youth development model to address substance abuse/prevention on Deer Isle/Stonington, part of the Healthy Peninsula service area. The call to action came with seeing the Island schools on the state’s list of failing schools.

Amy Vaughn, then Healthy Peninsula’s Director, looked into Search Institute, Communities That Care, and Ready By 21. She attended the Positive Youth Development conference in Orono, where Karen Pittman (Forum for Youth Investment) spoke about their new initiative Ready By 21. Vaughn was able to secure a two-year funding grant of $25,000/year from Maine Community Foundation for community engagement around the issues of greater parent involvement and better community/school connections.

Ready by 21 logoThe initial task force (mid 2011) developed three projects: Real World 101 (based on a survey of high-school students), an expanded job shadow project, and enhanced after school activities. By November 2011, an Early Childhood Work Group came together to address the issues of Kindergarten readiness on the island. It soon after expanded to a regional group to look at the resources and challenges for Early Childhood educators medical and service providers, and parents. In 2015, this group changed its name to the Early Childhood Interest Group and remains active in convening monthly meetings and collaborating with a wide variety of participants to address the root causes of developmental and educational delays through engagement and outreach with young families, and to improve outcomes for young children.

New members are always welcome! We generally meet in the afternoon on the third Wednesday of each month; we’ll be happy to add you to our e-mail list for announcements about meetings and special events.