October 2017 Newsletter


"JMG has been a great experience both in middle school and high school. I've had opportunities to step up as a leader that I otherwise would not have had, and it has given me the confidence that I lacked when I was younger. I'm excited about my transition to high school and JMG is here with me, every step of the way."
Nick Burgess, Waterville Senior High School, Class of 2021


JMG is thrilled to have once again been chosen as one of the Best Places to Work in Maine! This is an honor we share with our partners - the business community and civic leaders - who donate their time, expertise and money to JMG, year after year, to ensure thousands of Maine students have the skills and opportunities they need to contribute to the state's workforce. The award recognizes companies that consistently foster outstanding work environments. JMG was ranked second in the mid-sized employers category. 

What do JMG employees have to say about working here?
  • "JMG creates a family-style culture where everyone feels like, and believes, they belong. People who want to make a difference in the lives of children and be a part of something truly different in the educational arena will love working for JMG." 
  • "JMG is a special company that cares about individual employees and does everything within its power to provide us with the tools and skills needed to be successful."
  • "JMG's role in education is unique in providing students with skill sets to better prepare them for the workforce and college. While the work may be challenging, it is certainly rewarding. As a JMG employee, I feel that I'm making a real impact on the young people I work with."    
                      JMG staff celebrating Best Places to Work recognition
It was just last fall when JMG was working with 6,500 students in 91 programs across the state. Twelve short months later, we find ourselves opening 12 new programs, and providing personal development, academic, and career prep services to more than 7,000 students. It's true, growth isn't a new concept for JMG... but it's the growing diversity of the young people we're serving that's worth noting.

Thanks to generous investments from private sector businesses and foundations, Governor Paul LePage and his administration, and the Maine State Legislature, JMG is now working with hundreds of additional students from three expanding populations: youth in foster care, students with disabilities, and those who are economically disadvantaged.

"JMG is very excited about the opportunity to provide these youth with the skills and supports they'll need to succeed in high school, post-secondary education, and the workforce," said Craig Larrabee, JMG's President & CEO. "We have a history of strong student outcomes, including a 90% high school graduation rate, and will strive to meet those same benchmarks with this larger population of youth."

 JMG students at Thomas College in         Waterville
Thanks to this public/priv ate investment, JMG has also opened three new dropout recovery programs in Auburn, Waterville and South Portland. These programs focus on getting students who have dropped out, or are on the verge of dropping out, reconnected to school and on a pathway to a career. And, more help is on the way for students at Thomas College in Waterville. A generous grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation will support JMG's College Success Program at Thomas, which works to ensure students have the supports they need to stay in school and graduate.

"Harold and Bibby Alfond understood the importance of higher education, and how it can lead to economic prosperity for individuals and entire communities," said Greg Powell, Chairman of the Harold Alfond Foundation. "By supporting JMG's College Success Program, we are choosing to support a trusted organization that provides a unique continuum of support for youth from grade 6 all the way through post-secondary education. JMG has helped thousands of young people across the state overcome challenges and achieve success in school and in the job market."

JMG is also grateful to our public and private partners for enabling us to open three new college programs at Eastern Maine Community College, the University of Maine at Fort Kent, and a second program at Southern Maine Community College. And the good news continues. The William and Joan Alfond Foundation has awarded JMG a generous three-year grant to fund a new middle school program at Ridge View Community School in Dexter. The program, which started this fall, focuses on keeping students engaged in school, while helping them improve their grades, self-esteem and skills needed to successfully transition into high school. 

"The community of Dexter, Maine has always held a special place in our hearts," said Bill Alfond, President of the Bill and Joan Alfond Foundation. "Joan and I cannot think of a wiser way to invest in Dexter than by supporting its schools and JMG. For the last two and a half decades, JMG's public/private partnership has been dedicated to improving the lives of Maine's young people and strengthening the state's workforce, and we are certain it will make a positive impact at the Ridge View Community School." 
by Kathy Reardon, Specialist, Ridge View Community School, Dexter
It is my second year with JMG and I have found myself starting a brand new middle school program at Ridge View Community School in Dexter. I admit, I was a little nervous at first. Would I be able to recruit enough students? Would they embrace the program? Would the school community be as excited as I am to have JMG at Ridge View? It turns out, my worries were for nothing. In fact, the students and the school community have far surpassed my expectations.

Just days into the start of the school year, Ridge View JMG hit the ground running. I challenged the students to plan how we would prepare our classroom and an information booth for the school's open house. I let them know that this was an important event because it would be our first impression to staff, families, and other students. The students accepted the challenge with enthusiasm! I saw tremendous examples of leadership and teamwork. They brainstormed ideas, used their artistic abilities, created documents, sought information from administration, and even baked snacks for our guests!

Specialist Kathy Reardon, second row center, and her students

The night of the open house was much more hectic than I had anticipated. However, I quickly learned that the students had things under control. A master list of jobs was created. We had greeters, tour guides, presenters, and clean-up crews. The students rotated positions and gave each other breaks, and the event ran like clockwork. Every single student was involved, whether it was planning the event, or helping to run it. The pride I saw on the students' faces was priceless. To know that they were part of a program that celebrates their strengths and supports them to have future success was empowering for all of them.

When the night was over and everything was put away, I took a breath and realized what had just happened. After only eight days together, this group of almost 30 seventh and eighth grade JMG students had become a team and pulled off an event that impressed a community. For days after, I heard compliments about the students and how much they seemed to enjoy being a part of JMG. This one event set the tone for how our JMG program will move forward for the year. And what a year it's going to be!

JMG is excited to share the news that TD Bank was chosen by Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG) to receive the 2017 JAG Partner in Education Award. The national award recognizes the Bank for "showing an unwavering commitment to improving the quality of lives of Maine's youth through the generosity of financial contributions and employee volunteerism." TD Bank has been investing in JMG and the youth we serve for more than a decade. While the funds make it clear the Bank believes in the effectiveness of the programs, the volunteers make it clear to our students that there are many people in Maine's business community who believe in them.

TD Bank Maine Market President, Larry Wold, accepts the
JAG Partner in Education Award at JMG's Board meeting

                                             THANK YOU!