Boosting Middle and High School Success

There is an important time in a child’s education – middle school – where youth transition to adolescence. They enter middle school, not far removed from the cozy confines of elementary schools. When they leave middle school, they should be in a position to have long-term aspirations of who they want to be, whether that is a heavy equipment operator, an artist, or a scientist. Giving students the academic and social-emotional tools and support they need to successfully complete middle school and transition to high school will help them to stay on track to graduate.

Early Warning Response System (EWRS)

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University shows that a sixth grader with any one of the following three indicators (the ABCs) has approximately a 15 percent chance of graduating from high school: low Attendance, poor Behavior, and Course failure in math or English. United Way is part of a cohort of nine UWs nationwide working to implement early warning response systems in their communities and ultimately scale to other communities across the county.

High quality out-of-school time experiences

Girl Scouts_Mom Background

Studies show that out-of-school time directly affects youth behavior and academic success. When students engage in meaningful activities outside the classroom,they are more likely to maintain focus and a sense of purpose that foster active learning. United Way of Greater Portland is working with partner agencies and other community partners to expand after-school summer programs for students and provide professional development and evaluation tools for providers.

A Company of Girls

A Company of Girls is a collaborative arts program that works with approximately 40 adolescent girls from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds. Girls are provided opportunities through various mediums to increase their life and social skills, enhance their communication skills and build stronger self-image and self-worth.

Boys & Girls Clubs Programs

  • Individual & Group Services: The personal and educational component provides opportunities in career development, enhances educational achievement, develops skills in independent living and goal setting, and offers assistance in resolving personal crises. The citizenship and leadership development component develops leadership skills and provides opportunities for decision-making.
  • Social Development Program: Helps youth enhance their self-expression and creativity through visual arts, crafts, performing arts, games and library arts. Helps youth get along with others, make new friends and learn to use leisure time constructively.
  • Physical Education Program: Helps youth achieve and maintain fitness, acquire physical skills, and learn teamwork, cooperation and fairness. The outdoor and environmental education core helps youth to develop an awareness and appreciation of a variety of settings. It also promotes wise use of natural resources and develops living and survival skills.
  • Riverton Park Clubhouse: The full range of B&G Clubs programming provided for youth in Portland’s Riverton community.

Cumberland County YMCA Programs

  • Otter Pond Day Camp, located in Standish, this program serves children aged 6-14, 30% of whom are subsidized. Acts as summer day care, providing recreational opportunities for youth.
  • Sports and Recreation Program provides learning activities to school-age children through sports.
  • School Age Child Care provides learning activities to school-age children before and after school and throughout the summer. Activities include arts and crafts, swimming and sports. Provides services both on-site and in neighborhood communities.

Girl Scouts of Maine

Girl Scouts troops services develop individual potential and values through educational and recreational activities for girls in the 4th through 8th grades.

My Place Teen Center

My Place Teen Center (MPTC) is year round, free, out of school time program for 500+ greater Portland youth, ages 10-18. Specializing in youth most at risk including homeless, food insecure, cognitively-delayed, low-income, immigrant, and refugee teens, MPTC offers a multi-purpose, academically enriching, life-skills enhancing, hunger relief, youth development program.

Mentoring Programs

Through a variety of programs, the staff and volunteers of United Way-supported agencies serve as mentors to young participants, often helping them develop the academic and social skills necessary to succeed in school, the workplace, and life.

Become a Mentor

Whether you’re interested in reading, tutoring, or mentoring, we have opportunities to get you in the door. Let us know if you’d like to help a young person succeed in school.

Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Southern Maine – Mentoring Program

Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Southern Maine Mentoring Program works with children ages 6 – 17, primarily through supported one-to-one relationships with caring adults who assist them as they grow to become mature, responsible adults. Volunteers are trained as mentors and matches are monitored by staff. The major goals of the program are to provide at-risk youth with positive role models, mentors, and friends who can help them realize their potential.


Mentoring a child or teen is a great volunteer opportunity that makes a big difference in another person’s life. Chris Mullen is doing just that. Read Chris’ story >>>