LEWISTON — Megan Guynes grew up in Los Angeles. After a visit to Bates College as a teen, she felt like she belonged here.

“I was in a program in my high school that was really geared toward getting students outside California if they choose to leave,” said Guynes, 27. “I came up to Bates for a visit and it really just kind of called to me, the aura and the atmosphere. It was very welcoming, very chill and relaxed. Very different from the fast-paced city life of California.”

Guynes studied theater and sociology, graduated from Bates in 2011 and similarly knew she wanted to stay to start her adult life.

“For me, I feel blessed to just be here,” she said. “I’m strong in my faith in God and it’s just pulling me to stay in this area.”

After doing telemarketing work for a year, fellow Bates alum Julia Sleeper told her about an opening at Tree Street Youth, a new position as a volunteer coordinator.

“I fell in love with the place and I’ve been there ever since,” Guynes said.

She’s now program director, running after-school and summer programming. It means lots of planning. Between 120 and 150 kids show up each day.

“If it’s music, dancing, singing, arts, athletics or chilling out, making sure everyone is supported,” she said. “I love the kids, being around the kids, being able to see ourselves. It’s a lot of reaching the kids where they’re at and figuring out how to navigate the world with random things that might be challenging them, that might be effecting them in any way.”

She still has fun exploring new things in Maine and in her spare time has worked on several Community Little Theatre productions, most recently “The Crucible.”

“Lewiston-Auburn, I feel like it’s a microcosm of the world,” said Guynes. “There’s so many different cultures and backgrounds and histories, and I love that you can interact with so many different people in such a small space. I just really love . . . finding out new things about people and learning new things about myself through my interactions with other people. You can have someone like myself from California, someone from Texas and someone from Africa, so many different stories to tell and so many different insights to gain.”

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“I came up to Bates for a visit and it really just kind of called to me, the aura and the atmosphere.”

40 Under 40’s Megan Guynes (with a lizard friend)

40 Under 40’s Megan Guynes


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