2022, was a bit of a roller coaster ride; inflation, a looming recession, the housing crisis, the odds seemed stacked against us all. However, those were things everyone had to deal with and completely out of our control. If we take a moment to look around and see what was different in the world from 2021, what we saw was beautiful. We saw people getting together, traveling, increased community collaboration, and people getting excited about what tomorrow might bring. That’s what we saw here at New Beginnings as well. 

New Beginnings remained focused on maintaining our essential shelter, housing, and outreach programs. We built partnerships that would expand services that offer essential programing and opportunities to youth. Through those partnerships we are now able to offer housing to Corrections-involved youth, expand the Youth Action Board (YAB) by welcoming new members, and offer new life skills curriculum to youth in our programs. We began an expanded Homeless Youth Continuum of Care state grant to continue our 24-hour shelter, outreach, and TLP. Under this grant New Beginnings Youth Outreach Drop-In Center in Lewiston now provides longer more frequent hours of operation and offers more case management and rural street outreach across the nine counties in Maine's central/southwestern region.

With expanded access to free community college for Maine students the Education and Employment program saw an upturn in interest in college! During the 21/22 school year, the program began operating full-time thanks to increased funding from the City of Lewiston and ME Dept. of Education (DOE). Over 100 youth received 1-on-1 or small-group support, and 15 graduated or got their HiSET (GED) via new onsite services through Auburn Adult Ed. Several students went on to pursue their college degree.

New Beginnings is always evolving and we couldn’t do it without our remarkable staff or our devoted supporters. Though we have seen our share of turnover, much like everyone else, our dedicated staff make it possible to keep our doors open for young people, every day. Whether it be the usual day to day items such as a ride to get groceries, case management, or to driving lessons, housing navigation, mock job interviews, or help with school; to helping youth build skills while reconnecting with nature and community on Adventure Challenge trips & weekly educational summer outings, our staff are always there for the youth we serve. I applaud our staff’s perseverance and enthusiasm, and I commend the ongoing support of our board, funders, donors, and supporters. 

Chris Bicknell, Executive Director