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Maine VolunteerFare

Maine AmeriCorps*VISTAs needs daily voters for Pepsi Refresh Grant

Published June 8, 2010

AmeriCorps*VISTAs are asking Mainers to go online and vote for two Maine grant proposals. One is to continue funding a wind energy education for the state's youth and the second is to build a youth center!
From June 1 through June 30, people can visit the Pepsi Refresh Project website to vote for both the 4-H Power of the Wind proposal and the Youth Center Proposal.  Visit the website link, and register or login in through Facebook.  Then vote every day.
The Pepsi Refresh Project awards multiple grants each month based on online voting for ideas.  Individuals receive 10 votes each day.  Each vote must be used on a different idea.  Voters can return to the website and vote every day.  At the end of the month, the ideas with the most votes win the grant.
If Power of the Wind ends up as one of the top 10 vote-getters at the end of the month, the program will receive $50,000 to hire new VISTAs and purchase supplies for the program. 4-H Power of the Wind is a curriculum that uses wind power to teach youth concepts in science, engineering, and technology.  On the 2009 Maine Education Assessment achievement tests, more than one-third of eighth grade students and almost half of fifth graders did not meet the expectations set forth by the state for science.  With hands-on, innovative lessons and a model that makes learning basic concepts enjoyable, 4-H Power of the Wind is a tool that will help improve youths' understanding and interest in science, engineering, and technology.
AmeriCorps members Molly Ladd, Erin Reed and Julia Sleeper are living and working in downtown Lewiston, and need help to build a youth center!  They aremembers of a group called YADA (Youth  + Adults + Dialogue = Action) that has been working since 2007 to develop opportunities and developmental support for at-risk youth in downtown Lewiston. YADA recently submitted a grant application to the Pepsi Refresh Project for $50,000 to cover start up costs for a downtown youth center, and will be competing against 1,000 other projects for the most online votes during the month of June.  The main goal of the YADA Center is to create a safe community space for youth that encourages personal growth, positive intergenerational relationships, and leadership qualities.  The Center's targeted population is high school age, but YADA defines youth as 14-24, and values the diversity within Lewiston-Auburn's youth including the marginalized (homeless, poor, GLTBQ, immigrant, refugee, mental and physical disabilities, race, religion, sex, etc.). The Center will provide a safe, comfortable space for youth that creates a culture of respect and acceptance. The blueprints for the Center, designed by teens in the community, include a mentoring and homework center, computer room, expression center, fitness and food center, community garden, and daycare.