Family Futures Downeast (FFD) is a one-year program that creates access to education and employment opportunities for parents with young children (visit FFD’s website). FFD uses a two-generational approach that combines post-secondary education and workforce development with high-quality early education for FFD children.
The program offers services and supports required for participants to succeed, including transportation and technology resources, a personally relevant and stimulating curriculum with access to appropriate educational remediation, and strong emotional, social, and career supports. These strategies significantly increase the number of low-income parents who can enroll in college in Washington County and who leverage education as a pathway to self-sufficiency. FFD removes the economic, cultural, and logistical barriers that make going to college difficult for many parents so they can thrive as students.
Supported by the program, parents gain the confidence and the ability to pursue educational and career goals, just as their children benefit from outstanding, high-quality early education at campus-based centers. Participants enroll at the University of Maine at Machias or Washington County Community College. FFD parents come with a legacy of generations of poverty, trauma, exposure to violence, substance abuse and addiction, and often a profound loss of hope generated by those experiences.
Supports help to ensure that students’ basic needs are met and include intensive, structured coaching that builds skills and gives parents the opportunity to imagine and pursue the future they want for themselves and their children. The program changes outcomes for parents, their children, and the institutions and organizations that partner to make it a success.
A CCC-incubated program, FFD was designed collaboratively by Washington County academic and social service professionals with substantial input from potential participants. The collaboration began by assessing and acknowledging the profound challenges participants need to overcome in order to succeed in college. FFD reflects CCC’s values and commitments to being responsive, community-driven, and strengths-based, and to removing barriers and creating opportunities for vulnerable community members.
FFD relies on a combination of public and private resources in order to sustain this exciting opportunity for Washington County families and is housed at Sunrise County Economic Council, FFD’s fiscal agent. Designated as one of ten Rural IMPACT sites through the White House Rural Council, FFD is a nationally-recognized strategy for interrupting cycles of generational poverty and helping families succeed.
Applications to enroll in this program are available at FFD’s website.