LEWISTON — When a youth survey earlier this year hammered home that the phrase “Dirty Lew” was still very much being used, the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council pressed on with efforts to showcase the city’s good news.

The result of those efforts — led by this year’s new group of 13 members — is a campaign called “Shine on Lewiston,” featuring business profiles, a new online form for sharing positive news and an upcoming event featuring a panel of police officers. 

Historically, the youth council has helped the city tackle issues such as its image and branding, which remain concerns for the community following a particularly tense summer.

Last spring, members of the youth council surveyed students in fourth, eighth and 12th grades about their perception of Lewiston. While it came back with some positives — like more students planning to return to Lewiston after college — it also showed lingering concerns about crime and job opportunities. 

Dottie Perham-Whittier, Lewiston’s community relations coordinator and LYAC adviser, said Thursday the new positivity campaign “was not the result of anything this summer.” Rather, it was the youth council’s larger goal of building awareness of the positive things happening. 

“They wanted to continue focusing on enhancing Lewiston’s image,” she said.

She added the LYAC survey “reminded them that people are often unaware of the real Lewiston that they love.” 

The recent “Shine on” business videos focused on newer or expanding businesses, including Sophia Fima, Bull Moose Music, Aero Air Park, Quiet City Books and Rinck Advertising. Each was posted to the city’s social media accounts and used by the businesses. 

LYAC also rolled out an online positivity campaign, in which residents can submit positive news items or comments on a dedicated page on the city’s website. So far, the city has only received five responses, which have been posted on Lewiston’s Facebook page. 

In one response, a resident talks about two students at Farwell Elementary School who have set up fundraising efforts. In another, someone writes, “I still truly believe Lewiston is a very safe community that really looks out for its citizens.” 

According to Perham-Whittier, the “Shine on Lewiston” name came from new LYAC member Zachary Morin.

At the group’s most-recent meeting, members said they want more outlets for positive news, even if about “little things,” such as student achievements and good restaurant reviews. 

New member Damon DeWitt said it could even be a “random act of kindness” — a story or photo of someone shoveling a neighbor’s driveway.

On Wednesday, Nov. 28, a third piece of the campaign will be rolled out: An event aimed at highlighting Lewiston police officers.

Perham-Whittier said a panel of police personnel will share experiences, “inviting people to get to know more about what they do and encounter.”

The Lewiston City Council established the Youth Advisory Council in 2001, and the council has since received local, state and national recognition.

According to the city, the council’s mission is to empower youth and to allow them to undertake service projects that enhance the community.

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Members of this year’s Lewiston Youth Advisory Council, from left, are Carolyn Adams, Emma Williams, Jordy Dushime, Madison Laflamme, Emma Wolverton, Hope Rubito, Zachary Morin, Damon DeWitt, Christine Chasse and Hunter Steele. Sitting are Katie Morin and Lillith Price-Wharff. (Submitted photo) 

Shirts printed with a crossed-out “Dirty Lew” were part of the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council’s “Do You Do Lew?” campaign two years ago. The council is continuing its efforts to boost the city’s image with its “Shine on Lewiston” campaign. (Sun Journal file photo)

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