Julia Sleeper

Founder and executive director at Tree Street Youth

Julia Sleeper founded Tree Street Youth as a summer youth program in 2011 with a fellow Bates College graduate, Kim Sullivan. While helping out at local public schools and other community organizations, Sleeper was inspired by young students who told her they wanted a place to call their own and where they could learn new things. Five years later, the organization is open year-round, has served 800 young people, and is planning for a major expansion to double the size of its space. “The youth of downtown Lewiston are unlike any others I have ever met,” Sleeper says. “I am privileged to spend the days being inspired by their dreams, talents, and ambitions.” Tree Street Youth serves between 120 and 150 students in kindergarten through twelfth grade daily, offering afterschool education, arts, and athletic programs, a summer youth program, and leadership training for high-schoolers. Its college readiness program works to increase the graduation, college acceptance, and college retention rates of at-risk first-generation immigrant students in Lewiston and Auburn. “Downtown Lewiston is one of the only municipal areas demonstrating population growth in the entire state of Maine, which makes the youth we serve a huge force in the future of the state,” Sleepers says. “I do what I do to ensure our youth have as many opportunities as possible to succeed as the future leaders of Maine.”

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