New Beginnings News
Winter 2017

Welcome to the first issue of our new-and-improved e-newsletter, and thanks for being a supporter of homeless youth in Maine and New Beginnings!    
  • Katie's success story
  • Annual Dinner Sponsors Needed
  • New Volunteer-led wellness clinic
  • Thank You In-Kind Donors!
  • Julie Buffington joins Board
  • New LGBTQ youth services
  • We're Hiring!
Stay warm as we slowly edge out of winter into spring, and enjoy learning about how you're helping New Beginnings give youth at risk of homelessness opportunities for the  safety, connections, and growth that they need to thrive.

If you prefer to read your news in the same layout as the paper newsletter, you can always find the entire  Winter 2017 Newsletter PDF copy online.
SAVE THE DATE:   New Beginnings' Annual Dinner
5:30 pm - Wednesday April 26, 2017  
Can you help Sponsor this event?
Get g reat visibility for your business while making a difference for homeless youth!
The best phone call I ever made
Today, Katie * is a 20-year old single mom working her way through college. But just 5 years ago, she was a scared 15-year-old from central Maine, pregnant, on her own, and feeling like her dreams were slipping away.   *Name changed for confidentiality

Katie first moved in with her adult sister who was able to help with the baby so she could stay in school. But by fall of her senior year of high school, things began to unravel. Katie was spending more hours at work and less time at school to keep a roof over her head. “I just couldn’t keep up with school, work, and my daughter,” said Katie, “and my sister and I just couldn’t keep up with the rent.”

At age 18, Katie and her 3-year-old daughter became homeless. When the eviction notice came, Katie turned to her high school guidance counselor for help. Together, they made the phone call to New Beginnings. “It was the best phone call I ever made." said Katie, "I didn’t know if they could help me or not, but I had nothing left to lose."    

Since she was 18 and had a child, Katie was eligible to live in a New Beginnings’ Transitional Living Program (TLP) apartment for parenting youth in Augusta.
When she came to the TLP, Katie was struggling to find the balance between home, work, school, and parenting her daughter.  She knew that she wanted to     become a nurse one day, but she couldn’t see the path to get there as a teen mom.
Katie worked with her case manager on a  plan: graduate high school, start college, enroll her daughter in preschool, and find and keep a job as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). “When we put the plan on paper I could finally see that–when I wasn’t so worried about a roof over my head–I could focus on my education, job, and raising my daughter” said Katie.

Katie graduated from high school with honors. She was able to complete her CNA certificate through her high school, and was offered a full-time CNA position at a local nursing home after graduation.  
Katie received enough scholarships and financial aid to pay for most of her first year of college at the University of Maine. Her case manager helped Katie research nearby child care–once she knew her daughter was safe and well cared for, Katie was able to focus on her job. Within three months of starting, she was awarded employee of the month. 
With stable employment, Katie was able to save up money and buy a reliable car, allowing her the independence to work more and take her daughter on outings  and to medical appointments without having to rely on other people for rides.

During her 2nd year of college, changes at the University’s Nursing Program resulted in Katie receiving much less financial aid. Katie applied to New Beginnings’ Dot Larrabee Youth Development Fund for a scholarship to cover her books so she could stay in school.
After successfully completing her 18-month stay at the TLP, Katie decided to move to be closer to her extended family. Katie and her daughter are now living and paying rent for their own 2-bedroom    apartment, her daughter is in preschool, and Katie works full-time as a CNA while pursuing her dream to become a Nurse.

“Thanks to New Beginnings, I learned that I could juggle being a mom, student, and starting a  career,” says Katie, “I don’t want to think about where we would be without them.”  
NEW BOARD MEMBER: Julie Buffington
In December 2016, New Beginnings’ Board of Directors elected Julie Buffington as a new member (pictured at a recent Board dinner at the Transitional Living Program).
Julie is the Senior Vice President and Chief Retail Officer at Androscoggin Bank in Lewiston, and she is excited to be involved and serving an agency focused on helping vulnerable youth. Welcome, Julie!  
Dr. Josephine Conte's new wellness clinic
“Dr. Josie,” as she likes to be called, has transformed an office in New Beginnings Drop-In Center into a welcoming, quiet space with warm lamplight, curtains for privacy, a cozy rug, and the gentle bubbling sound of a tabletop fountain. The only clues that this is an informal clinic are the women’s health charts on the wall and the treatment table with a paper runner topping a handmade quilt. 

An osteopathic physician and integrative medicine faculty member at Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC) Family Medicine Residency, Josie has been volunteering at New Beginnings for the past year to improve  youths’ access to health care and wellness.

“I first heard about New Beginnings from our residency faculty who’d been doing volunteer projects like painting and landscaping for years,” she said, “Once I knew about your  mission and services, I thought– how could we help with healthcare too?

For the past six months Josie has come weekly to New Beginnings' Outreach Drop-in Center to be a medical “eyes and ears” and a source of health info for youth from any of New Beginnings’ programs.  
Josie also provides preventative care. “One of the things I have been offering are Epsom and essential oil foot soaks,” says Josie. “These young men and women are on their feet all day, every day, in poor footwear and their feet really take a beating. The soaks feel good, and let the youth know that they’re important and their body is worth taking care of. Plus, we can talk while they soak if they want.”

“Unlike in a traditional clinic, here I can spend as much time as we need. At first they may ask about a sore throat, but later on they begin to talk about a mental health issue. I’m glad to be able to help with both! It’s a privilege to hear people’s stories, especially young people who are scared or don’t have people they can trust.”

Josie’s services support New Beginnings’ harm reduction philosophy – nearly all the youth she sees wouldn’t have been checked otherwise. Going to see Josie offers a non-threatening way youth can get help before things are bad enough for urgent care or the ER.

“I find young people fascinating and full of life, and I really want to be of service. Kids have an amazing ability to heal and be resilient.
Can you help the Drop-In clinic by donating any of the following?

Locking metal tool cabinet on wheels
Medical Infant Scale
Rolling Doctor’s stool
Medical standing adult scale

I f you can help, please call 207-795-4077
to arrange a donation drop-off.
Contact Dr. Josie at contejo
“My focus is relationship-informed care.    If there aren’t kids here to see me, I help out in the kitchen and get to know people,” says Josie, “I want to become a familiar face so they’ll feel comfortable.”

Dr. Josie has had 40 visits so far with youth who’ve had musculoskeletal, skin, or respiratory complaints or questions about mental health, substance abuse, reproductive health, or follow-up care after an injury or hospitalization. About half don’t have a primary care provider; the rest that do have a doctor can’t see them due to cost or the challenges of being homeless.
By offering earlier screening, Josie hopes to reduce the incidence of future problems as they become older adults. Eventually, Josie would like to see a full clinic at New Beginnings, but for now her Drop-In hours (Thursdays 4:30-6:30) are helping. When youth need additional treatment, they can easily see Dr. Conte at CMMC’s Family Medicine Clinic nearby at 76 High Street in Lewiston.

 “I want to ‘walk the talk’ of helping people who are under-served,” says Josie. 
“I love volunteering here. We’re all working to teach people that they have a voice in this world.”

Annual Campaign Success: We love our supporters! Over 200 dedicated and new donors gave generously to exceed our $30,000 goal for the 2016 Annual Fund! Special thanks to Carolyn Burke, Rainbow FCU, Mechanics Savings Bank, Owen Larrabee & Melissa Albertson, Dr. Kurt Oswald, Candy & Dwayne Sanborn, Northeast Bank, Liberty Mutual Insurance, our anonymous major donors, and everyone who contributed—every gift makes a difference. Thank you!

New Hires: We are pleased to welcome Michael Suter, Sophie Roblin, and Topher Balderas to New Beginnings' TLP team!

Prevention Conference:  We are once again one of the co-sponsors for the 12th Annual Statewide Maine Comprehensive Sexuality Conference on April 7, 2017 at the Augusta Civic Center. Registration is available through Maine Family Planning; Details about New Beginnings' prevention trainings can be found on our website

Annual Meeting: The Board of Directors will hold their annual meeting and election at 5 pm on April 26, 2017 at Martindale in Auburn, immediately prior to the Celebration Dinner

   Want to make a difference?
    Join our staff!
Our dedicated staff play a critical role in the lives of the youth we serve and are the heart of New Beginnings.

We have full and part-time openings available NOW; all full time positions come with generous benefits and extensive training.

If you care about making sure that vulnerable young people have the safety, connections, and growth, consider applying today! 
Do you know youth ages 18-21 at risk for homelessness and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer-identified? 

We now offer comprehensive case management and housing specifically for LGBTQ youth in Androscoggin, Kennebec, and Franklin counties as part of the ME Transitional Living Collaborative (MeTLC).

For more information or to make a referral, please contact Program Coordinator Christopher Balderas   at 207-795-6048 x 226 or .  
THANK YOU to our 2016 In-Kind & Holiday Donors!
Your donations of holiday gifts, household goods, food, hygiene items, socks, gift cards, services, and more have made a huge difference for New Beginnings youth over the past year - we couldn't do all we do without you!    VIEW LIST ONLINE
Serving runaway and homeless youth and their families since 1980.
New Beginnings is funded in part by the State of Maine and US Departments of Health and Human Services,
Family and Youth Services Bureau, Housing & Urban Development, and United Way.