Kennebunk Savings recently awarded $5,000 to The Chase Home in support of its Seacoast Community Diversion Program (SCDP), which holds youth accountable for disruptive behavior while providing education and support services.
“It’s primarily a court-mandated program that serves as an alternative to traditional punitive measures that research shows pretty much do very little to reduce delinquent behaviors,” said Executive Director Meme Wheeler. “It’s a program that accepts youth from the community, too.”
It is also a program that has caught the attention of Kennebunk Savings, which has again invested $5,000 into it as part of its Spotlight Fund. Launched in 2016, the fund “shines a light on critical issues” that affect local communities.
“We take our commitment to our community seriously,” said Bradford Paige, President and CEO, Kennebunk Savings.”When we say ‘purpose driven,’ this is the purpose we’re talking about.”
In recent years, this purpose has been directed toward recovery from substance use disorder, which directly intersects with SCDP.
“Working with The Chase Home is a unique opportunity to ‘fund upstream’ on this cause, making a real and positive impact on at-risk youth,” added Paige. “We love the direct work that Chase Home does and the way they work with schools and like-minded organizations to connect these kids with services they need.”
According to Cory Towne-Kerr, who manages SCDP, last year’s pandemic exacerbated the struggles of youth and families served by the program.
“It was a difficult year that saw us move to a nearly all-digital platform for service delivery,” she explained. “We adjusted our approach and found creative ways to engage kids and parents, but their challenges changed as the pandemic worsened.”
Funding from the State, NH Juvenile Court Diversion Network and corporate supporters, however, provides the program a meaningful boost.
“We have expanded some services to help families build some of their organizational skills to meet new challenges brought on by the pandemic,” said Towne-Kerr. “We are also offering full scholarships for entry into the program and free services.”
Some of these free services include online classes, LADC evaluations, drop-in youth wellness sessions and pro-bono therapy. Founded in 2016, SCDP is one of 17 programs accredited by the New Hampshire Juvenile Court Diversion Network. The program receives referrals from SAU’s 16, 14 and 52 and from police departments in Stratham, Exeter, Portsmouth, Newington, Epping and Hampton.
To learn more about SCDP, visit seacoastcommunitydiversions.org.
Founded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth serves at-risk youth annually through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth are served in the community while others live at The Chase Home.