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Initiative Seeks to Put Maine Middle Schoolers on Path to Post-Secondary Education

A Portland-based foundation will spend $2 million over five years in an effort to get more middle schoolers in rural communities onto a path toward post-secondary education.

The Lerner Foundation will use the money to partner with organizations that have already made a commitment to youth development.

“Middle school is the time when youth are focused on building identity,” says Erin Cinelli, Lerner’s executive director. “Determining, ‘Who am I in this world?’ And we’d like to work with organizations to help nurture aspirations, during that time, for youth in rural areas.”

The Lerner Foundation has hired Don Carpenter to oversee the new initiative.

Carpenter recently finished a 17-year-run as founder and executive director of Trekkers, an outdoor-based mentoring program that works with kids on the midcoast.