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Youth & Community Engagement (YCE) is a program of the Cutler Institute at the University of Southern Maine. 


The Youth and Community Engagement Team engages individuals and communities in identifying the challenges that face their communities and creating the solutions needed to address those challenges. Our staff bring extensive, nationally-recognized experience in building the skills, abilities, programming, and knowledge of community members, especially traditionally marginalized populations, to help them realize their own leadership potential, to work toward a shared understanding of community problems, and to develop solutions through cross-sector systems reform. 

We bring a broad range of experience in developing infrastructure and providing support for meaningful community engagement, primarily focused on those populations who have been historically marginalized. We also bring expertise in meeting facilitation, community organizing, leadership training, and support of youth-adult partnerships.  

We aim to honor the voices of youth, parents, and community members at the center of the change process. YCE programs organize and engage community members to build their voices in moving towards real systems change.  

We aim to enhance the capacity for all stakeholders to take part in and influence the decision-making process. YCE has a proven track record in enhancing the capacity of communities for making change, both through support to large scale collaboratives and to individuals who want to exert their influence.  

We value process, results, and relationships equally. We understand the need for balance between process, relationships, and results. Process means giving people the time and safe space to share their expertise and gain knowledge. Relationships are at the heart of everything we do in helping individuals have enough trust to proceed with confidence. 

We believe that individually and collectively we can do better, and that the old way of working is not working anymore 

We believe people most affected by social problems have the capacity to change them, and find solutions with the right partners

We believe that every person at the table can learn and grow from each other

We believe in reciprocity: everyone has their own expertise, and all have something to contribute and something to gain 

We believe that every person has a right to happy, healthy life where they contribute and feel included

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