Positive Social Development

Healthy Acadia and our partners are engaged in multiple initiatives to promote positive social development, including:

Gender Diversity Project
School Health
Service Learning
Downest Teen Leadership Camp

Gender Diversity Project

The Downeast Gender Diversity Project works to reduce the ignorance about and prejudice against transgender and gender nonconforming people, and thereby reduce discrimination, bullying, social isolation, depression, and inadequate social and health services.

We provide resources about the experience of transgender and gender nonconforming people in school, health, social service, and community settings in Hancock and Washington counties. We collaborate with local LGBTQ groups, provide community education, and offer support opportunities for transgender individuals and allies.


For more information, contact:
Clara Baker, Gender Diversity Project Director, 479-4599, clara@healthyacadia.org


School Health

Establishing healthy behaviors during childhood helps ensure that young people will have the greatest chance for health and wellbeing throughout their lives. Schools can play a key role in promoting the health and safety of young people, helping students establish healthy lifelong behaviors and attitudes.

The health of young people is strongly linked to their academic success, and the academic success of students is strongly linked with their health. Therefore, keeping kids healthy is fundamental to their success in learning, and effective school health policies and programs can help to close the educational achievement gap.

Healthy Acadia supports school health through a number of initiatives. We work with schools to promote school health policies, to support substance use prevention, to increase nutrition and physical activity, and more.

Thanks to a recent Community Transformation Grant, Healthy Acadia is actively working to support Coordinated School Health initiatives in schools across Hancock and Washington Counties. Coordinated School Health is an evidence-based strategy for improving student health and learning, which includes the following components:

  • Health Education
  • Physical Education
  • Health Services
  • Nutrition Services
  • Counseling, Psychological, and Social Services
  • Healthy and Safe School Environment
  • Health Promotion for Staff
  • School Wellness Guide
  • Family/Community Involvement

For more information, contact:
Maria Donahue, maria@healthyacadia.org


No matter what challenges you have faced in your life, you have the ability to bounce back. If you are living and breathing today, you are resilient! We all are born with internal personal strengths that we rely on when difficulties arise. These strengths pull us out of our challenges. When we have a clear understanding of these strengths, we can utilize them more efficiently and bounce back faster and with more smarts. Programs, policies and interactions that are rooted in the philosophy of resiliency help people live a more healthy, fulfilling life through their own design.

Healthy Acadia is committed to incorporating the philosophy of resiliency in our initiatives and interactions. We also promote trainings in resiliency for community members and providers. Tenants of resiliency include:

  • “What’s right with you is more important than what is wrong with you.”
  • It is your innate strength that always ends up pulling you out of a difficult situation – when you know your strengths, you bounce back from adversity faster.
  • Having positive relationships, developing opportunities for meaningful participation, maintaining high expectations, and knowing boundaries all support individual, organizational and community resiliency.

Acadia Family Center
Nan Henderson

For more information, contact:
Denise Black, denise@healthyacadia.org

Service Learning

Service-learning is a structured learning experience in schools that connects classroom struction with community experience by engaging youth in their schools and communities. Service-learning creates an opportunity for students to identify, research and solve community challenges, and to subsequently evaluate their learning and effectiveness. Service learning includes three key elements:

  • Academic Integrity – the project fits an integral part of the curriculum.
  • Student Ownership – students are involved in project selection, planning, and implementation.
  • Apprentice Citizenship – students practice developing real solutions to real issues with real community partners in collaboration with their classroom teacher.

Healthy Acadia is committed to supporting Service Learning in schools throughout the Downeast Acadia region. We take every opportunity to engage with students, classes and schools in service learning projects. We encourage schools to pursue integration of service learning opportunities wherever possible. Currently, the Mount Desert Island Regional School System has a coordinated service learning program, with an Americorps Vista Volunteer Service Learning Coordinator. We partner with the coordinator and the school system to support and engage with their service learning initiatives.

For more information, contact:
Maria Donahue, maria@healthyacadia.org

DownEast Teen Leadership Camp

2016 Downeast Teen Leadership Camp is scheduled for July 25-29!

2016 DETLC Brochure (PDF)

2016 DETLC Application Form (PDF)

2016 DETLC Scholarship Form (PDF)

2016 DETLC Presenter Form (PDF)

The DownEast Teen Leadership Camp (DETLC) is an annual, five-day residential camp for students entering grades 7,8 and 9 held at the University of Maine at Machias during the last week of July/early August. The main focus of this camp is to deter students from using drugs and alcohol in the future by using a different approach: positive reinforcement.

DETLC is founded on the belief that adolescents can make positive decisions regarding their lives if they have:

  • Accurate information
  • Positive self-esteem
  • Understanding of their motivations and goals
  • Coping skills (decision-making, goal-setting, assertiveness, etc.)
  • Positive role models
  • A positive support network

Goals: DETLC is designed to provide students, entering grades 7, 8 or 9 with the opportunity to develop skills and attitudes that will prevent adolescent involvement with alcohol, tobacco and other drugs by:

  • Providing ways to enhance self-esteem in self and in others
  • Student Ownership – students are involved in project selection, planning, and implementation.
  • Developing awareness of positive alternatives to alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use as a coping mechanism.
  • Promoting development of problem solving, decision-making, goal setting, and other coping skills.
  • Increasing awareness and understanding of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug issues.
  • Increasing awareness and understanding of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug issues.
  • Motivating students to use their knowledge and skills to be positive role models, and to become involved with school/community activities to prevent alcohol, tobacco, and other illegal drug use by adolescents.

During the School Year: After camp is over, students are able to stay involved with DETLC by means of the DETLC Advisory Board, who help plan the camp program for the following year.
For information about DETLC, contact Terri Woodruff at 255-3741 or email twoodruff@healthyacadia.org.

We provide the positive supports necessary for every child to aspire, learn and grow safely into healthy, resilient and contributing community members. Mental illness, domestic violence and other social ills are declining while educational attainment is on the rise.
A young community member & her dad plant a seed with Healthy Acadia staff a YMCA-sponsored Healthy Kids event. Healthy activities like this promote resiliency and positive social development.