About 600 Regional School Unit 1 students attend the annual Set for Success event each year to gather free school supplies, among other resources. Photo courtesy of Jamie Dorr

Although the academic year just ended, a team at the Midcoast Youth Center, a Bath nonprofit serving local students, is spending the summer helping local students get ready for the upcoming school year.

The nonprofit has a fundraising goal of $20,000 to cover the cost of the supplies. So far, only about $6,300 has been raised.

“Last year we weren’t able to do much fundraising because of the pandemic, so we depleted that stock that we’re able to build year to year,” Midcoast Youth Center Founder Jamie Dorr said. “We’re starting from scratch this year as if it’s the first year we’re doing it.”

The youth center is working to fundraise for its fourth annual Set for Success event provides new backpacks, school supplies and gently used clothing to all students within Regional School Unit 1, which covers Bath, Arrowsic, Phippsburg and Woolwich. Local hair stylists will also donate their time to provide free haircuts in Morse High School’s new cosmetology classroom to any student who would like one.

The event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the new Morse High School off Congress Avenue in Bath.

“We encourage all families to come, regardless of their financial situation, because it’s a celebration of learning and a great way to meet teachers and principals before school begins,” said Dorr. “When we’re all there together, it helps reduce stigma. No one can tell who might need extra support because everyone is on a level playing field.”


Teachers and school administrators will be at the event to meet students and families before the school year begins in September, said Dorr. Representatives from local organizations and public programs will also be present so families can learn more about local resources available to them.

This year’s Set for Success event will be held on on Saturday, August 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the new Morse High School off Congress Avenue in Bath. Photo courtesy of Jamie Dorr

Each year about 600 RSU 1 students attend the event. RSU 1 has just under 2,000 students in total.

Rebecca Tibbetts of Woolwich plans to bring her three children, all RSU 1 students, to the event for the fourth consecutive year. She said she continues to bring her children to the event because it “provides everything a student needs to start the year,” and lifts a burden off parents’ shoulders.

“It’s stressful emotionally and financially, especially when you have multiple kids,” Tibbitts said of buying school supplies. “(Set for Success) takes a massive burden off to know that all the things they need are provided for them at no cost. The hundreds of dollars you just saved maybe buys your children some new sneakers.”

Nationwide, families with children in elementary through high school reported spending an average of about $790 on back-to-school supplies in 2020, a survey from the National Retail Federation found.

RSU 1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel said the annual event is “remarkable” for district families.


“Not only does the event distribute school supplies and other services to ensure that all students are ready for a successful year of learning, but it also provides an opportunity for families to become familiar with community organizations that offer a variety of supports,” said Manuel. “RSU 1 is grateful to the Midcoast Youth Center for creating this wonderful event and all the volunteers who devote time to support students and families as we begin a new school year.”

The youth center operates out of the Bath Skatepark and provides free afterschool programs with adult mentors, homework clubs and art classes. The youth center also has free snacks, provided by the Bath Area Backpack Program, donated clothing for children in need, and volunteers bring in free meals three times a week.

For those looking to donate to the event, Dorr said Crayola brand crayons and markers, three-ring binders, and composition notebooks are most commonly in high demand. The school supplies can be dropped off to the Midcoast Youth Center.

Dorr said funding can also be donated through the youth center’s website, midcoastyouth.org/set-for-success.

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