Having trouble reading this email? View it in your browser instead.
We're still here: Important COVID-19 Updates
A message from  New Beginnings, Inc.  Executive Director Chris Bicknell:

I want to let you know that, even though you haven't heard from us in a while, New Beginnings has been busy providing essential services to youth while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have been posting COVID-19 related updates on our website at https://newbeginmaine.org/covid-19/. Please check back regularly as things have been changing rapidly.

While our Winter newsletter has been delayed (look for it soon!), we wanted to let you know about three ways we've been tackling the challenges of COVID-19:

1. We are working to prevent the spread of the virus among our staff, the youth we serve, our Board, and the wider community by implementing extensive physical/social distancing policies and procedures as well as increased cleaning and disinfecting practices in all our buildings.

2. We are committed to keeping our programs open to provide for the basic needs of the youth we serve. Some services have been reduced or modified in the way they are delivered but youth will continue to be sheltered and fed .

3. We are working with our federal and state partners to advocate for a coordinated response to this crisis as it evolves that is informed by the specific needs of youth serving agencies.

Beyond those three core practices, New Beginnings front line staff continue to do amazing work with youth daily as they always have, under increasingly difficult conditions. They have risen to the occasion and are meeting the challenge this pandemic has presented the best ways they can. I cannot express how proud I am of the work they are doing.

Due to the Stay Healthy at Home order implemented this week, New Beginnings has made more changes to our staffing and services (see a summary of current updates below). All staff who can work remotely are doing so whenever possible. All staff are continuing to be paid regardless of health or earned benefit time status for this month, and we have temporarily increased the pay of our staff while they are providing direct care during this public health crisis.

All of us are dealing with unprecedented challenges in our personal lives and communities, and yet New Beginnings' staff continue to work to reduce the impact of this crisis on the youth we serve. Thank you for continuing to support our work while we support runaway and homeless youth in Maine.

Chris Bicknell, Executive Director
Summary of COVID-19 related changes made at New Beginnings:

  • All New Beginnings' locations are closed to visitors except for staff, clients, or other essential personnel. Our admin offices are very minimally staffed, and email is the best way to reach employees working remotely.
  • All groups, trainings, and events are postponed until further notice.

  • We are no longer accepting donations of USED goods; please stay home and save these items until this crisis is over! We will gladly accept donations of NEW items from our wish list without in-person contact: https://newbeginmaine.org/wish-list/ 

  • Our emergency youth shelter and TLP remain open, but we are not accepting any new clients age 18 and up this month - only minors. All new intakes are being screened for symptoms.

  • Our 24-hour help line (207-795-4070) connects callers to the shelter program staff who can share information, referrals, and family support; family mediation services are being provided by phone/video only. 

  • Our case managers (and mental health and educational support staff) continue to support youth clients over phone or video and using social distancing practices, but transportation of clients is extremely limited.

  • This week we made the difficult decision to temporarily close our Youth Outreach Drop-in Center in Lewiston to in-person services, but staff continue to work hard to meet youth needs for food and supplies under physical distancing practices.

  • Our weekly Youth Outreach mobile food pantry (for youth and young adults under age 22) will continue to drop off weekend food boxes on Fridays and bags of ready-to-eat food and hygiene items twice weekly.

New Beginnings is funded in part by the State of Maine and US Departments of Health & Human Services, Family & Youth Services Bureau, Housing & Urban Development, and United Way.