Donna Dwyer, President & CEO of My Place Teen Center, was our guest and speaker on Tuesday January 10. Donna thanked our club for our ongoing support of MPTC, especially Deb Shangraw and Mike Sanphy who are on their Advisory Council.  She also remembered Paul Emery for his commitment to and advocacy of the center.
My Place Teen Center has been in existence for 18 years serving kids from 10-18 years of age. They are open Monday-Friday 2-7PM. Many of the kids who come to MPTC are choosing a different path from some of their peers, and possibly from their parents or siblings as well.  They come to study, to eat, and to socialize with people who care about them.
MPTC serves many children who are food insecure, meaning there is little or no food in their home on a regular basis.  This is due to many reasons that may include finances or parental health/mental health issues. 90% of the children they serve are from Westbrook. The remaining come from communities in the greater Portland area, some of whom arrive via Metro Bus.  They serve over 500 kids a year with a budget of about $600K.  Annual fundraising is always a concern.
Programming provided to the children is evolving based on the needs of the kids and evaluation of results. Some of the children have Big Brothers/Big Sisters, although MPTC is a mentoring organization as well. There are many volunteers who help make MPTC the wonderful and vibrant place that it is.  For example, Baker, Newman, Noyes has volunteers who make 100 cupcakes each week at the center.
The good work of MPTC is now spreading.  Biddeford has been persistently working towards establishing a center of their own.  They now have a building (a former church just like MPTC!), but about $5M of renovations is required. Following the example of MPTC, we expect that they will succeed with this important project.