Southern Maine Youth Transition Network (SMYTN)
Relationships. Skills. Opportunities.
The programs and systems that serve our young people are not aligned in a way that youth get continuous support from secondary through postsecondary education and on to credentials and jobs. As one of 21 national Aspen Institute Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund sites, and one of only four rural sites, the Southern Maine Youth Transition Network (SMYTN) seeks to build the conditions for collective impact so youth have the relationships, skills, and opportunities needed for success as they transition into adulthood.
SMYTN seeks to remove barriers and create opportunities to connect Maine’s 16 – 24 year olds to education and careers.
Building on the momentum and relationships of prior coalitions in Cumberland and York Counties, SMYTN includes public agencies, private service providers, youth, faith-based organizations, businesses/industry sectors, foundations, and educators.
SMYTN also incorporates an essential group of youth leaders with diverse life experiences and valuable expertise to share with peers, policy- and decision-makers, and the individuals, organizations, and systems working on behalf of young people.
Discovery and Planning for Action
In its first development year, SMYTN has gone through a process of discovery and design to form a working knowledge of the opportunities currently available to youth in Southern Maine and build strategies to support collective decision making.
SMYTN is preparing to launch a system of community navigators to provide supports to youth transitioning from foster care, juvenile justice, and high school and help them access community and pathways to continuing education and careers. The network decided to focus its initial action in Portland and Sanford and intends to explore this work in other Southern Maine communities.