The Youth involved with Gardiner Area Thrives always have their hands on a number of projects that are aimed to support fellow members of their community to be aware of and choose healthier paths.
Youth volunteers provide input and advice for all members to work together on ways to reduce youth use of alcohol and marijuana including ways to address trauma and engage youth in more supportive and extracurricular activities.
The goal is to lower barriers for all youth and families so all youth are able to thrive.
Student PRIDE Art Project
Gardiner Area Thrives (GAT) sponsored two after-school art sessions in partnership with Gardiner Area High School's Tigers Create! Students and staff created art for the Pride Art Walk for LGBTQ+ Youth and Allies to be displayed in the windows of participating Gardiner area businesses during the month of June.
Students reflected on the event with a variety of insights:
"Thank you for the experience and to Gardiner Area Thrives for sponsoring this."
"Art builds community and strength."
"Art isn't about skill. It is about inspiration and determination to create something beautiful."
"There are no rules to love and art."
"And one day they will remember us."
"Even in the darkest nights, love will prevail."
Fight Substance Misuse
Boys and Girls Club of the Kennebec Valley youth partner with Gardiner Area Thrives (GAT) and District Youth Coordinator (DYC) at HCCA to fight substance misuse.
When it came to planning substance misuse messaging for the fall, Gardiner Area Thrives Coalition knew it needed youth voice and engagement. Holly Jordan, Teen Center Director at Boys and Girls Club of Kennebec Valley, gathered youth to partner with Gardiner Area Thrives, to draft messaging that will make a real difference for area youth.
Youth met for three weeks, sitting down with DYC Kevin Carter to talk about how to communicate and which substances should messages be targeted toward.
Current messages were not up-to-date
Cannabis and alcohol were the two substances that were used the most in the school/community
Youth talked about ways to say no, thank you, and what suggested alternatives to using substances should be
Once we identified the top three messages the youth wanted to use, Gardiner Area Thrives went to work. The messages will be posted in the Gardiner middle and high schools this fall.
The Yellow Tulip Project: Growing Hope
The Yellow Tulip Project is a national non-profit organization smashing the stigma surrounding mental illness, building community, and bringing hope.
On Saturday, October 23, staff, students and members of the community came together and brought The Yellow Tulip Project to Gardiner Area High School. They added themselves to the map by planting 300 yellow tulip bulbs in the garden.
This project is about raising awareness to mental health and creating the realization that we are not alone, and to take care of ourselves while connecting with others.
This event was sponsored by Gardiner Thrives and promoted by GAHS school organizations including the Civil Rights Team, the English Department, Interact, the Gay Straight Diversity Alliance, and Tigers Create.
For more information on the The Yellow Tulip Project click the link below.