FEBRUARY 28, 2020: Voices were raised against bullying and for kindness at the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council‘s (LYAC) “Listen Up, Lewiston!” panel discussion/forum. Deeply personal stories were shared from LYAC members and adult community members, Hope Rubito, Brea Mathieu, Ryleigh Emmert, Dottie Perham-Whittier, Jeanne Raymond, and Chantel Pettengill.
Tears flowed and Lewiston School Superintendent Todd Finn spoke from the heart and told LYAC Chair Hope Rubito that this work has become her “legacy.” He also spoke of new efforts to prevent bullying at Lewiston High School. Lewiston’s Youth Poet Laureate Ryleigh Emmert presented “Candles,” and Green Dot LA’s Karen Lane spoke of ways to stand for others.
LYAC members reviewed bullying scenarios, and Miss Maine Carolyn Brady gave a powerful Call for Kindness urging people to be an active presence of kindness in others’ lives, with audience members pledging to do so. The evening concluded with the song You Will Be Found, an emotional group hug amidst youth council members, anti-bullying post-its being written, children signing anti-bullying I’m a Kind Kid pledge cards, and a standing ovation. Shout out to Mayor Mark Cayer, Councilor Zachary Pettengill, Councilor Luke Jensen, Councilor Alicia Rea, and School Committee Chair Monique Roy for attending to support Lewiston’s youth.