Newman’s Own Foundation

Posted on Tuesday October 27, 2009

Newman’s Own Foundation awards School $25,000

Wayfinder Schools is delighted to announce a recent grant award from the Newman’s Own Foundation. Newman’s Own Foundation is a private, independent foundation established by Paul L. Newman. The foundation continues the commitment of Paul to donate all net profits and royalties earned from the sale of Newman’s Own products to charity. As of June 2009, over $270 million has been donated to thousands of charities around the world.

cschool-exteriorWayfinder Schools, based in Camden, is Maine’s oldest alternative high school, and serves hundreds of students each year through its Residential, Outreach and Passages Programs. Students in the Residential Program live at the school for the academic year, working with individual Teacher/Counselors in a self-directed course of study that honors the strengths and needs of each student as they work toward earning high school diplomas.

Residential students also study with volunteer tutors, and gain important life and work skills through communal living and internship placements. Students generally attend internship placements in the morning and early afternoon, and work on academics in the late afternoon and early evening.

tutor_studentsStudents also complete daily chores and work together to plan and prepare shared meals. Residential students also participate in Experiential Learning Expeditions to both rural and urban areas.

Last year, nine students traveled to Washington D.C for the presidential inauguration, visited museums and historic sites, and wrote a published article on their experience. For many students, this was their first trip outside the state of Maine, their first experience in an urban environment, their first use of public transportation, and their first direct experience with politics and democracy in action.

This year, the Residential Program is embarking on a new initiative to bring green education to the classroom. As part of this initiative, students will calculate their own carbon footprint, perform energy audits, develop a permaculture plan, investigate wind, solar and tidal energy, and participate in internship placements with the Newforest Institute. Students will also visit Unity College and the Chewonki Foundation, learn about sustainable agriculture, and travel to the Bay of Fundy to investigate wind and tidal power sources.

Through this new Green Project Initiative, students will learn important skills for the new green economy, and study environmental issues through a social justice lens. This approach is a direct off-shoot of the school’s philosophy of relational education, in which students form strong relationships with their Teacher/Counselors, fellow students, and their local communities.

The Passages Program, for pregnant and parenting teens, allows students to study in their own homes with individual teachers who work with students on 24 core skills, including, math, science, social studies, language arts, parenting, child development, nutrition, healthy relationships, home safety, and more.

The Outreach Program serves students who have made significant headway toward their high school diplomas through either the Residential or Passages programs, but who need an extra assist to reach their graduation goals. The Outreach program also serves former students who need assistance with SAT preparation or other academic or professional guidance or assistance. This program also allows former graduates a touchstone to the school, which in some instances has served as the first safe, structured home environment many Wayfinder Schools students have experienced. Wayfinder Schools graduated 11 Residential students last year, and will graduate an additional 13 Passages and Outreach students this month.

The Newman’s Own Foundation has provided important long-term support for Wayfinder Schools, and this year, the school is thrilled to have been selected for a $25,000 grant. In partnership with the Newman’s Own Foundation and other contributors, the school will continue to reach underserved populations, and to help young students realize their academic, career and life goals. For more information about the programs and services of Wayfinder Schools, visit