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Berwick Parks and Recreation Launches Mentoring Program

05/20/2022 10:36 AM | Emerson Doiron (Administrator)

Berwick, ME- The Berwick Department of Parks and Recreation announced today that it is launching Building Bridges, a youth mentoring program that is designed to reduce and prevent opioid misuse among youth in Berwick through evidence-based mentoring practices. The program is supported by the National Recreation and Park Association with funding through the Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative within the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Program, U.S. Department of Justice.

“Data shows that youth in Berwick and MSAD60 are experiencing higher than average rates of substance misuse, suicidal ideation and depression,” explains Angela O’Connor, Director of Berwick Parks and Recreation. “Mentors can help kids feel valued and understood, expose them to new experiences and empower them to make good decisions. We want to give more kids in our community access to supportive adults who can help them pursue their interests and use their talents to contribute to our community.” Young people with mentors are 46% less likely than peers to start using drugs and 55% more likely than peers to enroll in college. Research shows that positive relationships with supportive adults help youth develop the assets, such as honesty and motivation, that lead to better life outcomes. The more assets individuals have the less likely they are to engage in risky behaviors. (Search Institute, 2005).

Berwick Parks and Recreation has partnered with Pinetree Institute of Eliot, ME and Portsmouth, NH to recruit, train and support both the mentors and program participants in the Building Bridges program. “We are excited to be involved in this program because it is such a great example of a community taking action to build a strong web of relationships around kids,” stated Patrice Baker, Director of Prevention Programs at Pinetree Institute. “We know that this is what promotes resilience and helps kids to thrive. The opportunity to spend time one-on-one with a young person—playing, talking and having adventures together also benefits the adult mentors in so many ways.”

Building Bridges Mentoring Program envisions a community in which every young person has a positive role model and supportive adult who believes in them, empowers them to shape their own lives, and guides them to contribute purposefully to the world around them. Students attending the Knowlton School in Berwick are eligible to become mentees and parents/caregivers can contact the school or the Parks and Recreation Department ( to sign up. Adults over the age of 18 who want to learn more or apply to become a mentor can email or call (207) 698-1101 ext. 117.


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Emerson Doiron, Executive Director
office hours by appointment: 472 High Street, Somersworth NH 03878


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