Since 2014, twice a year — fall at the Portland Clubhouse and spring at the UNE Biddeford Forum — UNE student volunteers and community partners host a festival for the members of the Southern Maine Boys and Girls Clubs.
UNE student volunteers and community partners offer a variety of hands-on educational activities that promote a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle among the kids, many of whom face significant challenges in their daily lives (homelessness, hunger, etc.). There are also fundraisers to gather food donations, backpacks, summer camp supplies, sunscreen, etc. During the fall festival, students help to cook dinner for the more than 100 club members, and in the spring, Sodexho donates bag lunches for the kids to take home on the wrapped UNE bus.
UNE students have designed and delivered a variety of activities such as:
- Soccer, basketball, and agility clinics
- Oral health booth with free toothbrushes, paste, and floss
- Teambuilding exercises and games
- A bike safety clinic with bike helmet fitting presentations
- Mask making and other crafts that promote wellness
- Nutritional activities and healthy snacks
- A scavenger hunt, labyrinth walk, and more
Mentoring opportunities are available for students as well. This is a weekly commitment and requires an application and background check. For information on how to become a mentor, visit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Maine volunteer website.