Posted on Thursday February 2, 2017
We’re thrilled to announce our May 25 event with Pulitzer Prize winning authors Richard Russo and Anthony Doerr!
Watch this page for ticket details.
Sponsorship opportunities at the link below!
Posted on Sunday December 11, 2016
There’s still time to make your year-end tax deductible donation in support of students like Arao, Carolynne, Jarred and Lindsey.
Click here to read more about these 2016 graduates: 2016-appeal-4-stories
Posted on Tuesday November 15, 2016
Former Wayfinder Schools Board Member Paul Andrews will assume the role of Acting Head of Schools on Tuesday, November 15. Andrews will fill the role following the resignation of Dr. Dorothy Foote, who has served as Head of Schools since 2008. Dr. Foote has decided to continue expanding the scope of her work regionally and nationally to assist marginalized youth in achieving their high school diplomas. Foote said, “I greatly appreciate the support of my colleagues over the years from the Community School, to Opportunity Farm and the Wayfinder Schools, and I look forward to sharing their successes in the future.”
Andrews is a retired Human Resources Executive who lives in Portland. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Maine at Orono and for six years worked for U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe. He worked out of state for over 30 years for Safeco Insurance and the The Horace Mann Companies in a variety of roles, including Chief Customer Officer and Information Technology. He has volunteered with and served on the Board of Directors of United Way of Central Illinois, and currently serves as Board President of the Munjoy Heights Condo Association.
He says, “Having served on the board for the past year, I have been witness to the incredible work of Wayfinder Schools, and I look forward to leading the school through this transition period. We are fortunate to have a very strong staff and board, and an exceptional group of dedicated students who are working their way toward high school graduation. This work is changing lives for the better, and I am proud to be part of it.”
Board Chair Don Russell said, “The board is very grateful to Dot for her service to the students of Maine and to our schools and staff, and we are thrilled to welcome Paul as our Acting Head of Schools. Wayfinder has grown to serve more than 80 Maine teens annually who are at-risk of high school non-completion. Our programs provide a path to a high school diploma while encouraging life skills for students transitioning to adulthood. We are proud of the work of our staff, and of the significant accomplishments of our students.”
Posted on Tuesday October 18, 2016
Congratulations to Kelly Irwin, winner of our 2016 Scooter Raffle!
2016 grad Arao Bisabou models the Genuine Buddy Scooter for our raffle.
Thank you to Cumberland County Scooters!
Posted on Tuesday October 18, 2016
We are thrilled to be the beneficiaries of a generous grant from United Mid Coast Charities, in support of our Passages Program for teen parents! Here, Passages Director Martha Kempe accepts the grant award from UMCC Board Member Joan Phaup.
Posted on Wednesday October 5, 2016
Join us for our Fall events!
Harvest Homecoming & Lantern Parade, October 27 from 4-7 at Opportunity Farm
Food, music, arts & crafts, kids’ games, lantern parade and Halloween treats! Costumes encouraged!
Global Thanksgiving, November 17, 3-7 at Opportunity Farm
Barn dance from 3-5
Dinner & student presentations at 5
Both events are free and family friendly!
Posted on Wednesday August 31, 2016
2016 Passages grad Autumn Larrondo is featured in the “Where are They Now?” section of the Herring Gut News. Follow the links and scroll to page 2 to read the interview with Autumn!
Posted on Wednesday August 10, 2016
Editor’s note: Since this interview, Kayla has given birth to her baby girl, Karley Jetta
WS: How did you hear about Wayfinder Schools?
KW: I heard about Wayfinder school through Willo Wright, Director of Seeds of Independence.
WS: How long have you been enrolled in the program?
KW: I was enrolled for about two years. Then I was released from the program because I was not able to meet my program requirements. At that point in my life I was dealing with personal issues and trying to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life and if I even wanted to finish school. I wasn’t in the right place in my life to accomplish the things that I didn’t appreciate. A few months later after figuring out what I wanted to do and a lot of hard work and self reflection, I decided to contact my teacher and ask for another chance. Now I’ve been back in the program for about three months and I am very proud to say I am doing awesome! I have accomplished more in three months than I did in two years. I am so proud of myself!
WS: How old were you when you became a parent?
KW: When I became pregnant with Bryson, I was 17 years old and had Bryson 2 days after my 18th birthday. I am pregnant with my daughter at the age of 20.
WS: What would you like people to know about the challenges of young parenthood, or parenthood in general?
KW: A couple challenges for me of being a parent is finishing up school. I dropped out of high school when I was about 2-3 months pregnant. I dropped out because people were really cruel about pregnancy in high school and my aunt had just passed away. Another challenging part about parenthood is experiencing each stage of your child and figuring out how to respond correctly to certain issues and
teach at their age level.
WS: Tell me a little about your son:
KW: My son’s name is Bryson. Bryson is, well, my everything, he’s my sunshine! He is so amazing. He is a son anyone could ever want or dream of. Bryson is two years old and as smart as a five-year-old. He knows the ABC song, also recognizes all the letters and can write 4-5 letters. Bryson has this beautiful personality that will lighten your day, everyday. He is a sweet little boy and is very caring. Bryson likes to make people laugh. He does silly things then says “That was so funny, ha-ha, are you happy? I’m so happy!” He is a loving child and I am very proud of the little man that I am raising.
WS: What is one of your proudest parenthood moments?
KW: I don’t have just one proud parenthood moment, because everyday is a gift to be with my son, and he makes me so proud everyday, and those are the best moments I can cherish everyday.
WS: Tell me a little about your teacher:
KW: Stephanie is my Passages teacher and she is a very strong, caring woman. I can appreciate her more than ever. She is always there for me for school and outside of school. She is not a judgmental person and one that I can always trust. Stephanie is very helpful in a lot of ways and for that I can thank you.
WS: What is one of your favorite activities to do with Bryson?
KW: One of my favorite activities to do with Bryson is to teach him about nature in a fun, active way. Bryson and I love to be outside and play games, so why not have fun and teach him at the same time? We make up games that are age appropriate and throw in a little learning at the same time. For example, we like to talk about the water and what lives in the water. Bryson and I will throw rocks in the water and count each rock as we throw them. Whoever can throw the farthest rock wins the game! It’s a lot of fun for Bryson and he’s learning about nature and also counting.
WS: What is your favorite part of the Passages Program, and why?
KW: My favorite part of the Passages Program is that I have a wonderful teacher. She is a teacher I can trust and hope to stay in touch with beyond my years in Passages. Also, another favorite part for me is to be connected with all the teachers, program providers and students. I like to be connected with everyone because you can learn a lot about people and it can be a blessing meeting someone.
WS: What is your favorite core skill and why?
KW: My favorite core skill is “Create Something.” I have completed that core skill. What I liked so much about that core skill was creating something that I had never done before. I created a step stool for my son. I liked doing that because I was doing something for my son and also I liked that I included Bryson in helping me build the stool for him. It was really fun learning how to build the step stool and using tools that I haven’t used before. I also really liked spending time with Bryson building the step stool because we had a lot of fun learning and spending time with each other doing something we had never done before.
WS: What’s been your favorite assignment so far and why?
KW: My favorite assignment was reading and writing. I like to read about parenting skills. I like to write about what I have learned and how it affects me. My favorite reading and writing assignment was when I chose to read what someone had written in the newsletter for Wayfinder School. It was a piece called “The Farm,” and I reflected on it.
WS: What’s been your favorite Passages workshop so far and why?
KW: My favorite Passages workshop was going to the nursing home. I liked doing that because I learned a lot about the people who were living in the nursing home, and they love children and that to me means I was helping and sharing my happiness.
WS: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned so far?
KW: The most important thing that I’ve learned so far is who I am and what I want to be in my lifetime. This program has helped me to figure that out.
WS: What are your hopes and dreams for after graduation?
KW: My hopes and dreams after graduating are to start a good job and see if I like it, and if so turn my job into a career. My hopes and dreams are also basically to continue to watch my children grow and to be there to guide them in the right direction, to teach them, and listen.
WS: Can you tell me about the baby you are expecting now?
KW: I am 26 weeks pregnant and I’m having a baby girl. My little girl doesn’t like loud noises, like barking dogs. She kicks a few times and I think that means she is scared. She likes loud music though, when I play music in the car she starts to move all around. At night when Bryson’s dad, Nick, and I read books to Bryson and our daughter, she starts to move all around and kick hard. I think she’s going to like books just like her big brother. She likes to interact with the family. When she hears familiar voices she starts kicking and moving a lot and waving inside saying, “Hello, I LOVE YOU.”
WS: What are your hopes and dreams for your children?
KW: My hopes and dreams for my children are for them to accomplish what they want in their lives and to be happy with any decision they make. This question is hard because I hope and dream so much for my kids! Whatever my children decide in their lives, I will forever be happy with as long as my kids are happy and feel so good about themselves!
WS: What would you like the world to know about Wayfinder Schools?
KW: That this program is truly amazing and helpful in so many ways.
WS: What would you like the world to know about you?
KW: That I love being a mom. I love being a girlfriend. I love being a daughter and a sister. I love being granddaughter, niece, cousin and a friend. But I also love being Kayla. I’m a very loving, caring and kind human being.
Fourteen Facts about you
What did you want to be when you grew up? A daycare provider
Favorite hobby or thing to do in your spare time: Four-wheeling, mudding, driving around the car listening to music, fishing, shooting guns, boat rides, burn outs in the truck and going to the ocean
Something new you’d like to try: Hunting different types of animals
Someplace you’d like to travel to: Niagara Falls
Favorite spot in Maine: West Quoddy Head Lighthouse
Favorite movie: The Blind Side
Favorite sound: Nature, water, guns, engines, tools, crackling of a fire, rowing a boat
Favorite Smell: Fire burning, camp grounds and the smell of the ocean and sand
Favorite meal: Lobster stew and corn chowder
Most recent book you’ve read: The Pregnancy Project
Favorite children’s book: Blueberries for Sal
Bryson’s favorite book: Giraffes Can’t Dance
Bryson’s favorite song: Daddy Finger
Something you’re proud of: My son
Posted on Wednesday July 6, 2016
Each year we research global food and water rights. Our water unit culminates in a water relay through downtown Camden, in which we carry water buckets to the harbor, fill them and carry them back to campus, representing the long walk to water many face every day. Here are some of the water facts we learned this year:
Posted on Thursday June 9, 2016
Note: This interview was conducted earlier this spring. This week, Aaro completed his final graduation project, sewing blankets for New Beginnings homeless shelter. On Friday, June 3, Aaro will graduate from our Opportunity Farm campus. Aaro is one of 34 Wayfinder students who will graduate this year. A complete graduation schedule is included at the end of this interview.
WS: What brought you to Wayfinder Schools?
AB: At public high school I was not taking taking the classes I was supposed to take. I was taking classes I had already taken in Angola and it was taking so long to transfer the credits. I was desperate. So that’s when I found this opportunity. My friend Fiston went here and he and Mary Seaman told me about this opportunity and I thought is sounded like a good opportunity.
WS: What have you enjoyed most about your Wayfinder Schools experience so far?
AB: Learning new things every day. Learning new things, classes, Experiential Learning Expeditions. It’s a great experience, especially for me coming from a different country. This is helping me get to know more about American culture.
WS: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned so far this year?
AB: Living with people of my age. It’s been a great experience.
WS: What’s your favorite class and why?
AB: Sex Education Class with Dana, because we get to talk about everything we want. She makes us feel comfortable talking about stuff we might not feel comfortable talking to our parents about. Being teenagers, it’s the age when you can make a lot of mistakes. Being in that class is helping us, it’s a blessing.
WS: What’s your favorite meal you’ve cooked so far at school and why?
AB: Chicken salad. It’s something that’s not from my country, it was American food. It was a great experience because I was learning how to make American food and trying something new at the same time–amazing.
WS: What’s been your favorite volunteer project and why?
AB: Tree Street. Because we get to help these kids–it’s a great opportunity to help kids in need. Teaching them how to draw and how to make Valentine’s cards or presents, stuff like that.
WS: What’s been your favorite Experiential Learning Expedition and why?
AB: Get Air in Portland. I learned it was my first time being in a place like this, I enjoyed it a lot. I had a blast. At first when we got there I thought it was for little kids, but I got into it. I lost myself, playing. Playing Dodgeball like Superman, flying through the air. It was amazing.
WS: Tell me about your Career Explorations site:
AB: I work at The Village Store. I like that place. My first job was at Burger King. At Burger King the kitchen was too hot and when I went to The Village Store and saw the kitchen I thought it would be like Burger King. But thank God Oren gave me advice. He said, “Give it a try, you never know.” I gave it a try. It was the best decision of my life. I get to meet people, talk to people, help my communications skills. It’s just a great place. I like it.
WS: What do you hope to get out of your Wayfinder Schools experience?
AB: I want to be able to tell people that I actually did it. I want to be able to tell people that I fought so hard for my high school diploma that I had to leave my house and go live at the top of the hill just to get my high school diploma. I had to live with people who don’t speak my language just to get my high school diploma. It’s great proof I can go out in life and pursue my career, pursue my dreams. It’s not easy. I want to tell people it boosts my courage. This is one example of being brave. I want to be an example of how to be brave.
WS: What are your hopes and plans for after graduation?
AB: I want to go to college and pursue a career in Engineering Technology. I want to get my Bachelor’s first, and then get my Master’s. Right now I don’t have any financial aid, so I’ll start at SMCC, get a job and go to school part-time and work part-time. After that I’ll transfer to UMaine Orono, get my Bachelor’s and start working and get experience and go back to school for my Master’s.
WS: What would you like people to know about Wayfinder Schools?
AB: It’s a great place, it’s an amazing opportunity, it’s not an easy place, and every single person that passes through this place experiences some sort of transformation in their lives.
WS: What would you like the world to know about you?
AB: I want the world to know that I’m African guy who came out of nowhere, but with a goal to go somewhere.
Fourteen facts about you:
Where you were born: Angola, Rwanda
Your favorite food: Rice and beans
Your favorite sound or smell: The smell of lemon
Favorite spot in Maine: Portland
Your favorite hobby or thing to do in your spare time: Playing keyboards
Your favorite possession: My shoes, I have my favorite shoes, Air Jordans, that I love so much
Favorite book you’ve read recently: Of Beetles and Angels, it’s about a Sudanese family, about a kid who came from Sudan, immigrated here to the US and his life was not easy and he made it to Harvard
One place you’d like to travel to: Israel
Favorite memory: Playing in a soccer tournament for the first time
Something new you’d like to try: Working full-time
Your favorite music: Rap and Classical, but mostly Rap
Favorite movie? Cyborg with Van Damme
Favorite holiday? Christmas
The one thing you’re most passionate about: Family