“Ready by 21” Prepares Deer Isle-Stonington Students for the Real World

DEER ISLE — Students in a late-morning class last week were busy heating pans, beating eggs and grating cheese.

The class was Real World 101, a volunteer session that meets twice a week and offers students hands-on lessons in such real-world events as preparing food, managing money, working, transportation and relationships.

Last Thursday, the topic was food, and students learned that a nutritious “breakfast burrito” is never more than a few basic steps away.

“One thing we try to do is get them to taste some new, healthy foods, rather than a Mountain Dew and beef jerky that they pick up at The Galley for breakfast,” said Amy Vaughn, director of Healthy Peninsula.

Healthy Peninsula is the lead organization that relies on a wide-ranging network of social services and community involvement to make area youth “Ready by 21.”

Real World 101 is only one component of a multi-tiered approach to preparing all students in Deer Isle, Stonington and Sedgwick to step into adulthood with the skills they need to succeed at college, work and life.

Known as “Ready by 21,” organizations in the Deer Isle area are adopting the national model to the needs of their area.

Under the direction of Healthy Peninsula, organizations from throughout the area came together last April to establish a coalition of services and name a steering committee.

That committee is charged with developing specific goals, actions and measurements that will help future generations prepare for success in adulthood.

The steering committee is represented by members of the Deer Isle-Stonington Community School District board; the principals of Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School, Deer Isle-Stonington High School and Sedgwick Elementary School; Island Family Medicine and the Island Dental office; Healthy Peninsula, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust; Healthy Island Project; the Island Recreation board; Stonington Economic Development Committee; teachers; community members and others.

Vaughn said two community forums this year attracted 60 to 80 participants to each session. She said participants have helped create subcommittees to address planning issues, early childhood development and services already in place to help youth and families prepare for adulthood.

For more education news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.

James Straub

Reporter at Ellsworth American
Former Ellsworth American reporter James Straub covered the towns on Deer Isle and the Blue Hill Peninsula. He lives in Brooklin.