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Brick & Beam invests $125k in afterschool programs to increase access and equity

Brick & Beam Society has invested $125,400 in four afterschool programs to increase access and help build systemic equity. Brick & Beam is a giving circle of UWSM that focuses on early childhood learning and STEAM programming for historically underserved communities from birth through 8th grade.  

The investments include: 

  • $47,400 to Our Place Portland for Youth Mentorship Groups + Family Advocacy Services. The program will engage middle school students as Mentors-in-Training for younger youth with a small stipend and provide afterschool programming that includes STEAM activities, field trips, meals and snacks. Our Place Portland will also provide advocacy services for caregivers and host events to engage the broader community.  
  • $28,000 to Intercultural Community Center for Project STRIVE (Support Toward Refugee and Immigrant Voices and Education), which provides accessible, free, and well-rounded academic support for high-need students in grades 5-8 in Westbrook. 
  • $25,000 to Portland Community Squash (PCS)’s Rally Portland. Rally Portland is an afterschool program for students in 6-12th grade that provides squash lessons, food, enrichment, academics, and wellness. 
  • $25,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine’s South Portland programs to enrich afterschool programming.  

“Our continued partnership with United Way’s Brick & Beam Society helps us overcome the biggest barriers to afterschool access, including affordability and transportation,” said Barrett Takesin, executive director at PCS. “Thanks to their sustained support, Rally Portland can continue to be one of the most accessible afterschool programs in the state.” 

Out-of-school programs are uniquely positioned to provide impactful learning experiences for youth that blend fun, learning, and social-emotional growth. This is especially important for students who may be struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, food insecurity, and homelessness. In a recent survey of parents and caregivers conducted by United Way of Southern Maine in partnership with the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, 44% of respondents expressed a need for increased access to afterschool programming for their children. 

Partnerships with out-of-school time organizations are part of a larger effort by Brick & Beam Society to elevate its focus on literacy and STEAM to build systemic equity that result in positive academic, development, and social outcomes. 

Brick & Beam Society investments are funded through member contributions and decided on by member volunteers. Investments support early childhood education with a specific interest in STEAM and literacy programming for kids from historically underserved communities in Southern Maine and are aligned with UWSM’s goal to provide every child in Southern Maine with quality early learning experiences. 

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