Sen. Angus King stopped by to visit Midcoast Youth Center on June 2, learning more about the program and the new Sagadahoc County Maine Working Communities Challenge. Photo courtesy Midcoast Youth Center

The Sagadahoc County Maine Working Communities Challenge Initiative will host a community forum from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, at Morse High School’s Montgomery Theater.

Community members are invited to learn more from a panel of core team partners about the project’s goal to decrease the rates of youth hopelessness by 15% in 10 years and improve young adults’ health and economic outcomes. The team hopes to inspire others in the community to become involved in helping to create a comprehensive web of programs, health care, education, mentoring, training, and jobs to achieve this goal.

The forum will be led by Sagadahoc County WCC Director Raye Leonard and Midcoast Youth Center Executive Director Jamie Dorr, along with community and business partners who are key to the cross-sectional strategy of implementing the goals of the grant.

Partners include Claire Berkowitz, president and CEO of Midcoast Maine Community Action; Barbara Reinersten, executive director of United Way of Mid Coast Maine; Bill Haggett, retired CEO of Bath Iron Works; Emily Ruger, director of community and economic development for the city of Bath; Dr. Deb Hagler, medical director for Mid Coast Center for Health & Wellness; Melissa Fochesato, director of community health promotion for Mid Coast-Parkview Health; Katie Joseph, Regional School Unit 1 assistant superintendent; Devon Gallice,  Morse High School assistant principal; Julie Kenny, director of Bath Tech, and Allen Lampert, director of Merrymeeting Adult Education, along with youth and young adults.

This core team of Sagadahoc County partners was selected by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston to receive a $375,000 Maine Working Communities Challenge grant, in March.

The Working Communities Challenge is a three-year grant initiative supported by Boston Fed, State of Maine, national and local philanthropy, and private sector employers that aims to strengthen Maine’s rural towns.


Six Maine Working Communities Challenge teams received grants to begin implementing proposals that address local economic problems, including poverty and lack of work opportunity.

All 16 Maine counties were represented in the 22 applications the challenge received from teams hoping to enter its design phase. A jury made up of a subset of the Maine Working Communities Challenge’s local steering committee selected eight teams to enter the design phase, and the six teams are the final implementation grant awardees.

The Maine Working Communities Challenge is under the umbrella of the Working Places initiative at the Boston Fed. Working Places focuses on improving life for residents in New England towns, regions, and its smaller post-industrial cities. Its model unites people from various community sectors around a common vision for change.

For more information, email [email protected]

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