2007 Community Action Fellows and Their Placements
While working at Tedford Housing, Carolyn Boyle '08 (Government & Legal Studies/Economics) learned about homelessness and affordable housing in MidCoast Maine. In addition to gaining experience in day-to-day non-profit management and researching and writing grants, she was responsible for planning the celebration that accompanied Tedford's opening of the Evergreen Wood Apartments for homeless families in Bath. As part of her research project for Tedford Housing, Carolyn coded the shelter's intake forms to develop a database of characteristics of guests using Tedford shelters as a basis for further study of homelessness in Maine.
"When I return to Bowdoin this fall as a student, I will continue my summer research on homelessness and affordable housing through a class project with Tedford Housing. Through data collection, we hope to get a better picture of the reasons behind homelessness in MidCoast Maine, and then come up with strategies to eliminate homelessness."
Sara Griffin '09 (Art History & Visual Arts/ Latin American Studies) spent the summer with the Five River Arts Alliance, a non-profit organization whose mission is to connect regional arts, culture and heritage through advocacy, education, promotion, and celebration. She was able to contribute to every aspect of the organization's mission - website development, writing for the Artscape publication, and researching for and promoting events. In addition to learning new skills in technology, Sara also was exposed to institutional knowledge that allowed her privileged access into the lively culture of MidCoast Maine.
"This was an invaluable experience, and it has made me a much more aware and active citizen of Maine. My experience at Five Rivers changed the way I think of myself as a student and, in some ways, as a person."
Suzanne Heller '09 (Psycology/Teaching) interned with Independence Association, an organization which provides services for adults and children with developmental disabilities and promotes community inclusion. Suzanne was able to create many new opportunities for Independence Association clients and brought a fresh, new perspective to creating unique programming activities. In addition, Suzanne took on several other tasks including writing a comprehensive report of completed satisfaction surveys; creating a template for an employee newsletter; and planning a camping trip for several interested individuals.
"It is a constant challenge to provide meaningful services that best support an individual's unique needs while still allowing room for new experiences. I will surely use all that I learned at Independence Association as I pursue my studies and a possible career in the field of special education."
Jeana Petillo '09 (Psychology) worked with Volunteer of America Northern New England, an organization that provides a variety of services for youth, adults, families and seniors. Starting the summer with a week as a counselor at camp POSTCARD (Police Officers Striving to Create and Reinforce Dreams), Jeana continued to address her interest in serving the needs of youth through the Homeless Youth Outreach program in Lewiston, Maine. The culmination of her summer included organizing the first-ever job fair hosted at the Maine Correctional Women's Center in Windham in which 14 Maine employers participated. The event was such a success that the Maine Department of Corrections hopes to replicate the model across the state.
"The most powerful program I participated in this summer was Homeless Youth Outreach. After spending time with some of the kids and looking for others in need of assistance, I have a new perspective on issues that nearby youth are facing."
The principal mission of the Mitchell Institute is to increase the likelihood that young people from every community in Maine will aspire to pursue and achieve a college education. Aisha Woodward '08 (Government & Legal Studies/English) began her work with the Mitchell Institute last fall interviewing students and school officials for the Barriers II study. Her fellowship this summer included updating the report with more recent data; organizing school specific data for participating school; and attending the pre-release briefing for the State Department of Education, local press agencies and college presidents. Aisha has continued her work in the academic year by developing programs through which Bowdoin students may imiplement Barriers II recommendations in local high schools.
"An important part of this fellowship experience was recognizing that societal problems, specifically poverty, take away a person's right to make choices that we believe are 'necessary' - like pursuing a postsecondary education, finding affordable housing, or having access to healthcare. I gained awareness of the links between all of the organizations the fellows worked for, and I have a broader understanding of the complex challenges our society faces."
Matt Yantakosol '10 (Government & Legal Studies) spent his summer working with the Town of Brunswick Planning and Development Office. His projects included creating a PowerPoint display of recent building renovations in the historic section of Brunswick; producing two brochures describing walks that he designed for Healthy Maine Walks; and updating the town's 2002 Open Space Map. This last project involved researching easements, subdivision plans, town assessing maps and deeds. Matt also attended a multitude of meetings regarding a range of town topics including transportation, the reuse of the Brunswick Naval Air Station and zoning issues.'10
"Learning about the MidCoast Collaborations for Access to Transportation provided me with a greater understanding of the issues of public transportation at the local level. This fellowship helped me to become more familiar with the overall Brunswick community - realizing resources I never knew existed. Our site visits to conservation properties in particular gave me a greater appreciation for natural resources and the necessity of protecting them."