Brunswick Director of Parks and Recreation Tom Farrell with Jordan Cardone-Ruwet holding the plaque announcing a new scholarship in her name. Courtesy of People Plus

People Plus has created the Jordan Cardone-Ruwet scholarship to honor the former Brunswick Area Teen Center coordinator, who is retiring after 18 years of service and dedication to the Teen Center program. The award will provide $500 annually to a graduating high school senior (who has been a member of the Teen Center) to be used for post-secondary education of their choice.

Contributions to the Jordan Cardone-Ruwet scholarship endowment capital campaign are being accepted at People Plus online at or can be mailed to P.O. Box 766, Brunswick, ME 04011-0766. The endowment fund needs to reach $10,000 to maintain the annual scholarship award in perpetuity and will be managed and overseen by the Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund.

A program of People Plus, the Brunswick Area Teen Center provides free afterschool, drop-in programming for youth in grades 6-12 to socialize, eat nutritious food and unwind in a supervised, safe, youth-oriented, fun environment. The kids are offered a full dinner each day at the program. The program is available to students of Brunswick and Maine School Administrative District 75 schools.

“Jordan has had a considerable positive impact on the lives of countless teens and her oversight ensured that teens have a safe place to gather,” said Tom Farrell, director of the Brunswick Parks and Recreation Department and Teen Center Advisory Committee chairperson. “Jordan’s determination, energy and commitment have all contributed to making the Teen Center successful and well-respected. She played a major role as one of the original catalysts for the program and has been a key contributor to making it the success it is today.”

Cardone-Ruwet was motivated by her life experience of being supported by a few adults outside her family during her own “horrible teenage years,” according to a news release. So, she joined forces with other parents and Curtis Memorial Library to engage interested teens, taking them to various town meetings to promote their interest in a teen program.  

When asked about the most difficult obstacle they faced, the teens always replied, “boredom.” Then they added that if bored, they were more likely to get in trouble. The teens made it clear they needed a place to socialize and eat, according to Cardone-Ruwet.


Finding a suitable space proved challenging until People Plus Executive Director Sig Knudsen, who liked the idea of mixing generations, invited the kids to use their empty bingo hall. With strong support from Tom Farrell and Jeanne D’Arc Mayo on the board, People Plus voted unanimously to approve the move.   

Cardone-Ruwet’s children got involved in the program and brought in their friends, who along with other teens, parents and college students came to paint and decorate the new space. Bowdoin College donated furniture, and using only volunteers as staff, the Teen Center program opened in June of 2005.  

During this time, Cardone-Ruwet chased down donations — even putting out coffee cans around town. Eventually, the Teen Center was made an official “program” of People Plus and Cardone-Ruwet was hired as the coordinator. With the move to Union Street in 2010, the Teen Center attendance grew.  

Along with activities, members enjoy free food, trips into town, arts and crafts, games, mentoring, and even financial assistance with driver’s education classes. The program has weathered the pandemic and is seeing an increased return of the students this school year.  

 Overall, Cardone-Ruwet said community support for the Teen Center has grown. Since 2010, there have been nearly 20,000 youth visits.

“It’s become a fun, safe place for kids to hang out with friends after school,” she said. “We never dreamed 20 years ago that the Teen Center would be the success it has become.”

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