Organization Highlight: Maine Youth Action Network

MYAN Student

Bringing youth voice and action to Maine communities and education

An Interview with Alexis Saba, Program Manager of School Culture

Where in Maine can individuals find MYAN resources and who are they for?

Our network-based model strives to serve ALL areas of the state of Maine. Local partner organizations are the core of our youth engagement network. We work with a variety of organizations and youth including schools, recreational centers, college programs, and youth organizing groups...and are always open to new and different types of partnerships.

MYAN resources can be used by educators, students and families across the state of Maine.

What topics do your resources cover?

Our resources cover a wide range of topics that support youth leadership and development including youth engagement, youth voice, restorative practices, youth employment, network building, and school equity support, to name a few!

MYAN training

What kind of resources do you offer to Maine families/educators/students?

MYAN provides educational resources, trainings, and youth programming services. For youth leaders, we provide facilitation and organizing support, leadership development, group development, and social equity programming and support. We also work with adults throughout the state to build a supportive network of youth engagement professionals that are engaged in continuous learning and critical reflection to increase access to positive youth development programs.

 

How can someone engage MYAN in their community?

In addition to our virtual training series, our district partners work with local schools and organizations throughout the state.

One example of work with young people includes youth-driven research projects called YPAR (Youth Participatory Action Research). Young people are trained to conduct research that improves their lives, communities and sometimes the institutions serving them. These projects identify unmet community needs and use qualitative methods to gather the stories and perspectives of those directly impacted.

MYAN OUTSIDE

What resources or events will your organization be offering in the future that you want more people to know about?

This winter and spring we will continue to offer our robust training series in areas of Social Justice, Community-Based Action, and Positive Youth Development. These trainings are free for all to attend!

Our Youth Leadership Conference will be taking place this March!

In conjunction with Black youth leaders throughout the state, we will also be hosting our first annual Black Student Caucus in April. This event will be for Black youth to gather, build community, and lead/learn about Black leadership in the Maine context. We are also continuing to support racial affinity groups through our MicroGrant program! These grants go to young people working on projects or programs that support BIPOC communities and groups.

How has COVID-19 changed the way you reach your audience(s)? Has it been positive or negative for your organization?

As a result of COVID-19, all of our trainings, programmatic support, and outreach have been moved to virtual spaces. We are constantly pivoting through guidance and input from young people and other stakeholders throughout our network. This has created stronger connections and provided space for genuine conversation and feedback, which was challenging to access during the pre-COVID bustle.

One of the most difficult decisions we made was to move our annual Youth Leadership Cconference online. We always look forward to being in person and in-community with one another during this amazing time! This year it will take place in April 2021. While there have been many challenges, our main goal is to continue to support young people. We are always working to find new and creative ways to stay connected to one another.

MYAN Conference

What do you wish more people knew about your organization and the work you do?

MYAN is a statewide network that exists to support communities and partners with existing organizations. Our team is dedicated to helping young people throughout Maine, often the best way to support youth is through supporting teachers and local nonprofits that are already in communities engaging with the work. We are always looking for new ways to collaborate and support existing projects.

What do you love about your organization?

As a newer member of the MYAN team (since June 2020), I began this work during COVID-19 times. Therefore, I have been 100% virtual with our team. I love the people I get to work with daily at MYAN—this includes our youth and adult partners throughout the state and our internal team. While we have only been engaging virtually, I already feel a part of a strong and vibrant family. I can’t wait for the day when I actually get to see everyone in person!

Current Maine Youth Action Network Resources

Click on resources to see the date and time.  Duplicates indicate multiple dates and times available!

Community Circle Series

  • A Climate to Thrive
  • Downeast Rainbow Alliance
  • Downeast Restorative Justice
  • Healthy Acadia
  • Maine Youth Action Network