Welcome to Donna’s Corner
Many exciting things happen at My Place Teen Center. Check back monthly to see what’s the latest and greatest!
With the heaviest of hearts, I share that Joe, our Facilities Director, perished in an ATV accident on September 7th. Joe was a beloved co-worker and hero to the kids. He worked here for seven years and had deep relationships with all of us.
As the kids and staff processed his death, I couldn’t help but notice a sense of resilience amid the broken-hearted disbelief. The kids, so enamored with Joe, expressed their WHY – because Joe, was GREAT. He left a legacy. The kids adored him because he was a GOOD, decent guy. A rock. He was their beacon and safe harbor. He embraced ALL of the kids and often recounted the funniest stories of the trials and tribulations of MPTC.
As we endeavor to move forward and pray for his little daughter Aryia and his family, we can only hope to…
Be like Joe:
– Treasure your family.
– Work hard and with care.
– Live a passionate life.
– Offer help and follow through.
– Smile, and be kind.
With gratitude for having a friend like Joe.
Summertime at the MPTC Oasis
Nine girls from continents away. Limited to no English language — Avalina was the translator for the group. All nine participated in our Restaurant Job Training Program (RJTP). Poised, hard-working, skilled, intelligent, polite, eager-to-please — they were the best — such stellar teen role models.
They lived at the Portland Expo. They rode the Metro to get here. They did their laundry here. They were always hungry. They ate what they cooked. They brought food home for their families. Now they live in Freeport and Lewiston.
Beautiful — through and through.
They attended four days per week, all summer — preparing robust lunches for ALL the MPTC kids. Full meals — they grilled, diced, stirred, and measured with their hearts. Their food was delicious.
As I listened to their music, their cadence, their chatter – barely understanding a word, except for the melodic, joyful nuance of it all, I was brought to tears — time and time again. These KIDS, YOUTH, and girls are our next generation of Mainers. Our commitment to them NOW, and to ALL of our kids, is tantamount to a thriving 2030 and beyond.
Their beauty transcends. Their hardship then and now teaches gratitude for our plenty. Our desire to embrace all who enter our Red Doors is our duty and destiny.
Avalina — your shy smile and your friends’ effervescent joy forever pierced my heart.
Happy 25th Anniversary to Us!
11,000 Families. 210,000 Meals. 25 Years.
Springtime at the oasis…
What’s behind our Red Door
Opened in 1998 and serving York and Cumberland counties, we are an impactful and energetic southern Maine after-school, year-round teen oasis that supports the needs of at-risk youth, their families, and the surrounding community. Two decades of data show that our programs:
• Engage youth in learning and boost school attendance
• Support social and emotional development
• Prevent youth violence
• Accelerate on-time graduation
The Top Four Things We Do:
• Feed hungry kids.
• Nurture a sense of purpose and belonging.
• Provide relevant, translatable job and life skills.
• Mentor emotional health and well-being.
• Five days/per week and year-round
• Southern Maine access – Cumberland and York County locations
• Physical space: Warm, living-room vibe aesthetic
• Homemade, daily meals
• Teen-centric + a cohort of 18-24-year-olds — “Adulting 101”
• Job and life preparedness
• Emotional wellness, curiosity, leadership, and accountability
• Drop-in and program-specific
• Local control; local decision-making
• Harbinger of hope and haven for high-risk youth
Where are they now?
Success at My Place Teen Center comes in many ways.
A 25-Year History Worth Celebrating
The Story of My Place Teen Center
Happy Holidays to our Merriest!
- Homey, warm, inviting aesthetic
- Homemade, daily meals
- Emotional wellness
- Teen-centric + a cohort of 18-24-year-olds — “Adulting 101”
- Job and life preparedness
- Focus on social-emotional learning and evidence-based strategies such as instilling grit, curiosity, leadership, and self-awareness
- Drop-in and program-specific
- Local control; local decision-making
It’s easy to love MPTC!
My Place Teen Center has served kids in greater Westbrook for almost 25 years. And now, we’re working closely with Biddeford Housing Authority/Southern Maine Affordable Housing and city leaders regarding establishing a second site at 75 Bacon Street, Biddeford, the former St. Andre’s Church. The new teen center renovation, covering 9,800 square feet on the church’s main floor, will include roof repairs, flooring, painting, windows and doors, plumbing, heating, ventilation system, security and electrical upgrades, fire alarms, a commercial kitchen, and more. In all, the renovation project is estimated at $2.8 million. With $650k in-kind, $1.5MM from the American Rescue Plan in York County, and $650k from grants and individuals, our target opening date is 2024.
The Biddeford program will be modeled after our first location in Westbrook. We will continue to provide an array of services for youth — including daily meals, a leadership academy, a restaurant job training program, homework assistance, programs called Get Urban Kids Outside! and Making Proud Choices, peer support groups, and a variety of other services supporting young people from Biddeford and the wider area. All programs and services offered at My Place Teen Center are free. The new center is projected to serve 70 to 100 young people daily and about 11,000 meals a year. Follow our progress here.