The Future of Maine Initiative
- Equal and early access to information on the opportunity of higher education,
- To build early aspirations for a brighter future,
- To engage communities to support and celebrate these aspirations,
- And, to emphasize to these students the value of effort
- In a long-term, community-driven initiative to build a brighter future for the children of Maine and for their communities.
“Our goal is not to send more kids to college; it is to develop more kids who want to go to college. With early aspirations and motivation, all students can succeed in college. I actually believe that, if we define “college” broadly enough, and if we give them the information they need to understand their options. What holds most students back from success in education is not ability, it is desire, motivation, and information. Students will succeed when and where they want to. Why invest in the early aspirations and education of Maine students? If there is a better way to build a brighter future for these kids, I can’t think of it. If there is a better economic development plan, I can’t think of one. Maine’s future will be determined not by outside investments or any tax policy; it will be determined by the aspirations and education of the youth of each community. All this is much more than a sound-good slogan. The more Maine communities really invest in the early education and aspirations of their youth, the brighter their future will be. If they wait for an outside solution, they will come up far short of their potential.” -- Bob Stuart, Director. Maine College Circle
Schedule of recent and upcoming workshops and ceremonies
1. College Aspirations Workshops for students in grades 3 - 6, along with accompanying posters, college lists, and on-going answers to student questions via email. For over fifteen years, these workshops have reached over 70,000 students in 119 Maine communities. Workshops discuss with students in grades 3 – 6 the following: what, where, why is college; an opportunity for absolutely everyone; 390 great college options for Maine students; 240 great college majors for Maine students; preparing for college and turning a dream into a plan; career aspirations beyond college; and the value of effort.
2. $100 College Aspirations Scholarships awarded to students in grades 3 - 6, based on an essay on college and career aspirations. Scholarships are locally-funded and redeemable upon enrollment in any post-secondary educational program or for college application or college aspirations. Over 2500 awarded in the past ten years.
3. A community scholarship ceremony to award scholarships and celebrate the recipients.
4. A VIP program to recognize scholarship recipients and other deserving applicants. VIP's will receive VIP treatment whenever they visit participating higher education institutions and will receive benefits at supporting local businesses.
5. Distribution of "College Crosswords" and to engage students in exploration of the opportunity of higher education, with the option to participate in the Maine College Knowledge Bowl. The “Maine Word About College” monthly newsletter, written by college students and annual guide. The “College Answers” site with over 200 college questions from elementary and middle school students in Maine, answered by college students.
6. In 2017 and beyond, we will use modern technology to overcome the challenge of geographical distance by developing college and career videos, which will lead to ongoing communication and relationships between young, rural Maine students and the Maine college students and Maine professionals in these videos. This will be done in partnership with the Mitchell Institute, Bowdoin students, the McKeen Center at Bowdoin College, and the Rural Student Project in Rockland, Maine.
7. In 2017 and beyond, we will provide paid internships to past, local Future of Maine College Aspirations Scholarship recipients and Mitchell Scholars to help engage communities in their Future of Maine projects.
8. In 2017 and beyond, we will develop “Pre-Degree” curricula with Maine colleges to help young Future of Maine College Aspirations Scholarship recipients develop their skills, knowledge, and interest in their stated career of interest, on a pathway through higher education to a career they are proud of. Each grade 4 - 12 curriculum will include three grade-appropriate components: study, research, and a local connection.
9. In 2017 and beyond, we will develop a network of professional mentors for aspiring entrepreneurs and past scholarship recipients hoping to develop their local economy.
Maine College Circle
251 Main Street
Yarmouth, Maine 04096
You can contribute quickly and easily online through PayPal by clicking the Donate button below or you can send a check made out to Maine College Circle, and mailed to Maine College Circle, 251 Main Street, Yarmouth, Maine 04096. Maine College Circle is a registered program of the publicly-supported, 501(c)(3) nonprofit Foundation for the Advancement of Education, established in 1992