AUBURN — A grant will help an Auburn organization place 25 youth in a one-on-one mentorship program.

The Auburn Police Activities League on Chestnut Street was recently awarded a $62,500 grant that will help it establish a three-year mentor program, beginning January 2022.

The money, provided through the National Recreation and Parks Association, was also awarded to neighboring Lewiston, and is aimed at helping youth impacted by the opioid epidemic.

“While this program will focus on our youth, it will also require family engagement activities and wide community support,” said Recreation Director Sabrina Best in a news release.

Best said the program will put together several activities for each mentor pairing, including basketball, hiking, job shadowing, homework help, arts and crafts, and more.

Rita Beaudry, a founding member of the PAL board of directors and the city’s grant manager, said one of the “greatest opportunities” with the grant is the ability to provide youth with resources and support.

“Basic items such as shoes, winter clothes, school supplies and hygiene products will be available to each of the kids participating in the program,” she said.

It will also offer services like grief counseling, transportation, guest speakers and substance abuse professionals.

Shawn Boyd, Auburn PAL Center coordinator, said that with Lewiston Recreation also receiving the grant, there will be opportunities for the two programs to collaborate.

“There are kids who end up bouncing back and forth over the bridge throughout the school year for various reasons,” he said. “Having a similar program in both communities will provide a sense of consistency and ‘home’ for many of these kids.”

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