Jobs for Maine's Graduates
March, 2016 Newsletter  
Tori Van Der Meiren, 8th grader at Mahoney Middle School in South Portland

“JMG means future. When I think of JMG -  I think ‘what am I going to do after graduation?’ This is my first year in JMG, but I have learned so much about leadership. Before I started, I had no idea what I wanted to do after school or what I wanted to be. Now, I know I want to be a hair stylist. Before JMG I didn't have goals and I did not want to work. Now I do have goals and I’m going to make sure they become achievements. I have even applied for a job and I'm hoping to get it so I can save up the money to buy a car when I am sixteen.”

Tori Van Der Meiren, 8th grade, at Mahoney Middle School 

THE JMG EFFECT:   Life-Long Leadership Skills and an Innocent Brush with the Law 
It’s been more than a decade and a half since Krista Collins was a JMG student at Calais High School, but the experiences she gained and lessons she learned are alive and well. She talks about the career prep advice she got - like, learning how to build a strong resume, how to handle a job interview, and fill out an application.  And, how she never turned down a chance to practice the leadership skills she was learning in class. Krista said, “Looking back, I really enjoyed being in leadership roles. I was president of our program my senior year, but was encouraged right from the start to take on new responsibilities and really own them.  I can definitely relate the importance of being a leader, and making sure things aren’t just done, but that they’re done well – to my time in JMG.”
Those leadership skills came in handy, helping her earn one career promotion after another. Krista started her career at Calais Regional Hospital preparing meals in the kitchen. From there, she got her CNA license and began working in the ER. Before long, she headed back to school, earned her nursing degree, and her career trajectory continued. She was quickly promoted to Director of Emergency Services, and just last year, was asked to take charge of In-patient Care and the Emergency Department. Last summer, the hospital’s CEO presented Krista with their 2015 Excellence Award for her dedication to quality and outstanding patient care.
Krista Collins with Michael Lally, former CEO of Calais Regional Hospital
Krista Collins with Michael Lally, former CEO of  Calais Regional Hospital 
Ed Leeman, Krista’s JMG Specialist at Calais Area High School said, “To say I’m proud of Krista would be the understatement of the year. When she was in my class, we did at least ten community service projects a year and Krista never missed a single one. She was always willing to give of herself for the betterment of others.”

In fact, Krista was so conscientious about her JMG responsibilities, it led to her very first (and only) brush with the law. Krista said, “One night – it was late, after midnight – and a couple of us were in the JMG classroom, our heads buried in a project. All of a sudden we heard something, looked up, and saw two uniformed police officers standing in the doorway….. Apparently, one of us had accidentally tripped the school’s security alarm. Fortunately, they could see we were working on an assignment and they let us finish up and go home.”
Krista and family
Krista and family
Fast-forward 17 years; Krista is the mother of three kids and is eager to pass down her JMG legacy. Her eldest son is a freshman at Calais. She said he’s already demonstrating the kinds of qualities promoted by JMG, like leadership and generosity, and she’s encouraging him to join. “You learn all of these practical things to help you succeed, but you’re having fun. So, you don’t even realize what you’ve gained until, one day, you need it - and there it is.”   
JMG + Maine's College Systems = MORE COLLEGE GRADUATES!

"In that first semester, the students here at USM who have been part of the new JMG program, those students have done better than the average students in the university."  Glen Cummings, President, USM

Glenn Cummings, President of the University of Southern Maine, helped announce JMG’s new College Success Program at a press conference in Portland in January. For the first time, Jobs for Maine’s Graduates (JMG) has teamed up with the University of Maine System and the Maine Community College System to provide students with the support they need to stay in school and earn a degree.

JMG Specialists have been placed on campuses at the University of Southern Maine, Southern Maine Community College, University of Maine at Augusta, Kennebec Valley Community College, University of Maine at Machias, and Washington County Community College. It is their mission to work with JMG high school alumni, foster care youth, and others to help students overcome the challenges that cause so many to drop out.  JMG's very first college program started just two years ago at Thomas College in Waterville , and is already showing signs of success.
“We have to be innovative and student-focused to close the gap between our high school graduation and college degree attainment rates to keep Maine competitive in a global economy,” said James H. Page, Chancellor of the University of Maine System. “Maine’s universities are proud to partner with Jobs for Maine’s Graduates and Maine’s Community Colleges on the College Success Program to improve services to students who come from backgrounds and places where college was too rarely - if ever - a viable consideration.” 

The College Success Program intends to serve at least 250 students per year. One of those students, Amy Marston, is a freshman at the University of Maine at Augusta. She said, "I enrolled in Jobs for Maine's Graduates my junior year in high school. Until then, I had no confidence, and really very little motivation. I was happy being an average student, sitting on the sidelines. Through JMG, I became more confident - a leader. I started taking responsibility for my life. Today, I'm a freshman at UMA, and am so grateful JMG is now in college. Knowing there will always be someone here to talk to, to advocate for me, I know I can do this. I know I'll get my degree."
John T. Gorman Foundation President Tony Cipollone with JMG  Specialists and students 
at the College Success Program  press conference
By Justin Duchesne, Sophomore, SMCC
My name is Justin Duchesne. I’m a sophomore at Southern Maine Community College and there are days when I still can’t believe it. When I was a little kid, school was always the last place I wanted to be. I had ADHD and, for me, that meant being labeled, singled out, and sometimes punished. For me, school wasn’t a chance to learn and grow, but something to bear. That is, until I was introduced to JMG while working toward my GED. My Specialist, Carlo Bufano, knew about the ADHD, but that didn’t stop him from believing in me, from pushing me, and holding me accountable. Over time, I went from feeling inadequate, to being a confident student - and even a leader.
And JMG’s help didn’t stop there. With my GED in hand, Carlo helped me enroll at SMCC, where I started my college career with a GPA above 3.0! And, my peers elected me Student Body Senator. I am working steadily towards a degree in communications. I know it won't be easy, but I know I can do it. As luck would have it, Carlo is now working on the SMCC campus as one of JMG’s new College Success Specialists.  I know I can go to him for help anytime I need it: whether it’s for help in math or English;  if I’m overwhelmed and wondering if I can make it; or, if I just need someone to talk to that I can trust. 

When I look back at my accomplishments over the last several years, and the challenges I’ve overcome, I am proud of myself. Proud and grateful - that Carlo and JMG were there for me….. and still are.
Justin (right) with JMG College Success  Specialist, Carlo Bufano
Justin Duchesne (right) with JMG College Success  Specialist, Carlo Bufano
By Lori McBrine, College Success Specialist,
UMaine Machias/Washington County Community College
When I started working for JMG almost 20 years ago, I discovered it was an organization where not only did I find my path to a successful life, but it gave me a chance to help students find theirs. I specifically remember the eldest of three sisters who were in JMG at Washington Academy. This student entered her freshman year just months after her mother died in a tragic car crash during the Christmas holiday. She came to JMG a very lost and hurt child. She had taken on the role of mother at a time when she desperately needed mothering herself. JMG stepped in and filled that void, providing a safe place to grieve and to grow. She spent time in the JMG classroom every chance she got. She became an officer in the Career Association and developed valuable leadership skills. After graduation, she went on to college, but, unfortunately, left without finishing.

Just like all the other students who have walked in and out of my life, this young woman left a mark on my heart. I have laughed with these students and cried with them. I have been their teacher, advisor, career coach, mother, grandmother, and guidance counselor. Yet, I still asked myself over and over, “Am I doing everything I can to help them?”

When JMG’s College Success program started, I knew this was the answer. In high school, students have their JMG programs to help them, but what happens when they leave? Students go from well-structured days where a bell tells them when to come and go, and teachers hold them accountable - - to the freedom of getting up whenever they want to, being responsible for paying their own bills, and meeting homework deadlines. 
In my new position at UMM and WCCC, I love being there to fill in those important gaps; whether it’s to offer advice on class schedules, comfort a homesick freshman, or provide academic help. As one young woman said to me, “I was excited to hear there is a JMG program on campus. I have missed having someone I can go to with questions about school.” I’m happy to say the student I wrote about at the beginning of this story did,eventually, go back to school and earn her degree. But, too often, when someone drops out, they’re out for good. I’m excited to be part of a program that’s determined to change that. 

Henry Ford once said,  “The whole secret of a successful life is to find out what is one’s destiny to do, and then do it.”  I am glad I found mine, and I am doing it every day at JMG.
Lori McBrine pictured with UMaine Machias students
  Lori McBrine, left-center, with UMaine Machias students
According to the definition, a partnership is a relationship between more than one person or entity that expect to share in the profits of a business. But when it comes to our new College Success partnership – the entire state of Maine profits. JMG would like to thank our partners, including the Maine Community College System, the University of Maine System, the John T. Gorman Foundation, and the Lloyd G. Balfour Foundation, for their investment in, and commitment to, the future of Maine’s students.
Sea Dog JMG Golf Invitational Logo
5th Annual JMG Sea Dog Golf Tournament
We’re very excited to be partnering with Sea Dog again to host the 5th annual charity Sea Dog – JMG Golf Tournament on Friday, September 16th!   It’s a lot of fun, is for a great cause (our students!) and will be at a new location this year.    Join us!     Click the registration link below, or contact Gina Fasulo at