Lewiston, Maine, celebrates new youth and adult connections
July 1, 2008
Youth + Adults + Dialogue = Action
Originally published on 6/26/2008.
At last evening's YADA celebration at the Lewiston Public Library, positive energy was felt throughout the room. The award-winning YADA stands for Youth + Adults + Dialogue = Action, and many positive connections and initiatives have occurred since community generational dialogue took place last fall.
Tara Lagana, Education Coordinator for L/A Arts, praised the YADA-inspired Bates College - Lewiston High School fine & performing arts partnership (Bates Arts/Lewiston Arts - BALA) that recently resulted in a highly acclaimed performance event. That initiative was an attained goal of the ongoing YADA Arts & Culture Action GroupAuburn's New City Manager Glenn Aho remarked on presentations by participating youth, "What I see here is no fear, calm, confidence, dialogue, and engagement; this is wonderful!"
Tyler Lussier, LHS junior, shared how his YADA involvement has rendered him a seat on the local College for ME Board of Advisors.
Folks also cheered last evening upon hearing that community advocate Lewiston City Councilor Tina Bailey was in attendance with her daughter, Amanda.
Lewiston Library Director Rick Speer served as emcee for the evening, and music was provided by local youth musician Aiden Boardman. YADA Steering Committee member Ellen Alcorn, of Bates College, kicked off the evening by pointing out several exciting YADA statistics including the fact that 98% of those who participated in YADA dialogues reported an increase in the understanding of other's attitudes and beliefs. Alcorn stated that if nothing else were to happen with YADA, "that is a tremendous accomplishment in itself!"
But, so much has happened! As part of the YADA Youth Community Center Action Group, youth and adults are undertaking a road trip on July 1st, made possible by a Carignan Grant, to visit youth community centers in Belfast and Camden. Enthusiasm abounded for what's possible locally in the downtown areas of Lewiston and Auburn. Also on display was a sketched plan of a proposed Lewiston/Auburn youth community center, which might include an arts room, computer room, homework/library room, mentoring room, and fitness center.
LYAC Junior and Lewiston Youth Advisory Council Treasurer Athena Andoniades displayed an "Engage" original painting that she undertook to highlight the efforts of the ongoing YADA Youth Civic Engagement Action Group. The group plans to survey Lewiston/Auburn teens this fall to on how they could become more involved in the community.
As a member of the YADA Communication Action Group, youth Erik Johnson--referred to by his peers as a "webmaster" --spoke to the crowd about his development of a YADA Lewiston/Auburn website, which will ultimately be a central spot for youth and adults to contribute to and find out about what's happening within the community for young people, as well as a status update resource for the ongoing action groups.
As the evening progressed, adults and youth alike shared their appreciation of how generational partnerships have grown since the fall 2007 YADA dialogue. Connections referred to as "priceless" seemed to be the reflection of all.
Attendees also had the opportunity to visit action group "stations" during the evening to either log comments and suggestions about next steps for the action groups and/or to join one of the groups.
For further information about YADA LA or to become involved, interested individuals may contact YADA Steering Committee Chair Larry Marcoux at or Lewiston Community Relations Coordinator Dottie Perham-Whittier at
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