This week I had the privilege of speaking with Melina Baker, the Executive Director of the Pemi Youth Center in Plymouth, NH.
Melina was born and raised in Attleboro, Massachusetts and graduated from Bridgewater State University, and earned her masters in Human Services Leadership from Plymouth State University.
While in college she would escape up north to the mountains every weekend. It was love at first sight! Melina fell in love with the people, the communities, the activities and the beauty.
When Melina isn’t working you can find her eating at Thai Smile or Chase Street Market in Plymouth, supporting local businesses such as Simply Sunflowers, and enjoying the great outdoors, supporting local organizations such as CADY (Communities for Alcohol and Drug Free Youth), Voices Against Violence and the Bridge House.
Melina got involved in volunteering through her mother who worked at the local YMCA. In high school, she was a consistent volunteer in Special Olympics Massachusetts and in several types of educational settings. Growing up, all she knew is that she wanted to give back to others. Fast forward a few years and Melina is giving back and living the life she always dreamed.
Today her role is as the Executive Director of the Pemi Youth Center in Plymouth, NH. They are a nonprofit after school empowerment program which serves youth ages 10-17 at no cost to families! The mission is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for youth to gather outside of school to gain a sense of belonging and self-esteem.
Here are a few facts that you should know:
- The PYC offers a variety of program components, which include academic assistance, mentoring, art workshops, recreational activities, empowerment groups, substance misuse prevention, nutritional guidance/cooking instruction/daily hot meals, community service opportunities, a science program run in partnership with the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, STEM activities, life skills development, college application support, and much more.
- About 200 youth per year engage at PYC, not only during after school hours, but also through PYC hosted events, workshops and summer programming.
- PYC is no cost to families! Everything they offer is completely free.
- The PYC was awarded the Merit Award of Excellence from Plan NH in 2008!
- You may donate on their website at www.pemiyouthcenter.org.
- You can send Melina a message through the website if you are interested in volunteering or email her any time at email@example.com
When I asked Melina what advice she would give for those looking to become involved in the community she said “ The best piece of advice for young professionals wanting to give back is to take risks! Do not be afraid to try something new or really put yourself out there. It is when you take positive risks that you grow as an individual and can have amazing experiences!”
There are so many wonderful people and agencies making a difference in our own backyards!