November 6, 2023

Machias and Calais – DECH and CCH will bring in a national speaker for the High School Students in Washington County. The events will take place November 28 – 30.  The event for DECH area students will be held at the Performing Arts Center at UMM on November 28 and the event for the CCH area students will be held at Calais High School on November 29 and Woodland High School on November 30. All area high schools have been invited and we hope they seize this invaluable opportunity to reach our teens.

How this came about – In developing long range Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) plans for 2023-2025, Calais and Down East Community Hospitals set a goal of reaching out to the youth of our communities about some of the tough topics that are prevalent in our area – mental health, substance abuse, suicide, etc.  While we really wish our children were not aware of these issues, we know they see it, some live it, many experience it every day.  Our plan is to support organizations that are already working with youth on these issues, as well as looking at new avenues to reach our youngest community members.  One of the projects we decided to take on was to bring a youth speaker to the area to provide a message of hope, be candid on these tough topics, and leave teens with some tools for dealing with such things in life. It is our plan to bring a speaker in the spring and invite area grade school students in grades 6 through 8 then bring another speaker in the fall of 2024 for High School students.

The speaker – Jessie Clark-Funk, MSW is a therapeutic coach and the Kindness Crew director for the nonprofit organization, Think Kindness.  She holds a leadership certification from the University of Notre Dame, is a certified life coach, and holds a B.S. Degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Social Work.  Jessie is a former leadership facilitator for Franklin Covey and has also been a professional youth speaker for 18 years, speaking to over one million teens in high schools and at leadership conferences nationwide.

Jessie has released five award-winning solo albums as a professional singer and toured to 37 states with the Broadway tour of Footloose.  She is a published author, has a black belt in karate, and is the mom of two teenagers.  Her voice has been heard on “America’s Got Talent, “The Biggest Loser,” and ESPN.  She is currently working on her doctorate degree and building a summer leadership camp and ranch in the mountains of Utah.

Jessie takes a research-based approach to teach the importance of making good choices. She gives students four proven tools that can take their lives from average to extraordinary. She addresses healthy vs. toxic relationships, bullying prevention, lessons from history’s greatest leaders and she does all this while sharing personal, hilarious stories, and dynamic pop music. We are excited to bring her message to these students.

If her talk results in reaching even one, it matters but we hope and believe it will be more.

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