LEWISTON — On Saturday, April 6, and Sunday, April 7, 25 Project Reach students from Lewiston Middle School will volunteer their time for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oxford and Androscoggin Counties during the annual Bowl For Kids’ Sake event at Sparetime Recreation Center. The students are volunteering their time for the culmination of a philanthropy lesson called Jumpstart Our Youth sponsored by the Unity Foundation, that seventh- and eighth-grade Project Reach students recently completed in their classes at LMS.

In this project, Jobs for Maine’s Graduates students in high school and middle school programs throughout the state research local nonprofit agencies that service youth. After learning the purpose and power of philanthropy, students then perform research and decide how to award a $1000 JOY gift to a nonprofit recipient, or recipients, the students choose themselves.

This year, BBBS was one of the agencies that Project Reach students from LMS chose to learn more about. During the research, Project Reach students reached out to BBBS to learn more about their annual fundraiser. “We discovered that this is the primary funding source for BBBS to match volunteers with children in the community who can benefit from their services,” said LMS Project Reach specialist, Anthony Nadeau.

Through the JOY program, JMG Specialists are encouraged to develop “sweat equity projects” by having students perform community service in addition to awarding JOY funds. Nadeau said, “Hallie Twomey and Kristen Soule at BBBS loved the idea of kids helping kids at the event so we decided that Project Reach students would be great candidates for volunteer workers. To add even more to the project, we also decided to help by fundraising ourselves, and through our efforts the Project Reach students have helped raise over $400 in additional sponsorship funds from the community in the past month.”

To learn more about helping BBBS, contact program manager Kristen Soule at 795-4065. For guest speaking opportunities, community service projects or donations, contact Project Reach specialist Anthony Nadeau at 795-4180.

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