Youth Leadership Advisory Team (YLAT)

YLAT is a joint project between Maine’s Youth in Foster Care, The Maine Department of Health and Human Services, and the Muskie School at University of Southern Maine. YLAT is committed to improving the short-term and long-term outcomes for youth who are or have been in foster care.

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YLAT, Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine, PO Box 9300, Portland, ME 04104-9300, phone: 207-780-5861

Brad Levesque Youth Leadership Award

On May 25, 1996, Brad Levesque passed away after battling cancer for several years. Brad spent many of his teen years in foster care, all while fighting cancer. In his determination to not let cancer be his focus, Brad committed many of his years in care to help improve the lives of other teens in foster care.

Each year The Brad Levesque Youth Leadership Award will be given to a worthy youth or two in care who meet the criteria that Brad helped to develop…“Someone like me”, as Brad so aptly put it!

The recipient must be a youth in care between the ages of 15 and 21 who:

  1. Demonstrate active volunteer capacity (i.e. community service, teen conference planning, etc.)

  2. Are interested in pursuing education beyond high school

  3. Maybe medically/physically challenged

  4. May have resided in group/residential programs

  5. May have participated in outdoor adventure programs

Brad Levesque Youth Leadership Awardees
Brad Levesque Award:

Anna Chabot and Sophia Dunton

Anna Chabot

Anna recently graduated from Lewiston High School and works part-time at Amato’s. During Anna’s high school career, she took college classes at Central Maine Community College where she will be a student this fall with a focus on early childhood development! Anna was an active member of her high school track team and is an active participant in YLAT. She recently started doing foster parent panels and most recently was on a Social Media Panel at AFFM’s 21st Annual Spring Conference where she presented alongside Marcus Stallworth, MSW, and her peers. She also spoke on a panel at New Beginnings’ annual dinner regarding a time in her life when she accessed their homeless shelter. Anna was a quiet leader when she first became involved with YLAT and continues to build her confidence and let her inner leadership shine. Anne is passionate about using her story to help educate the community when it comes to YLAT and to panels. Anna was recently nominated to attend the Jim Casey Youth Leadership Institute in Baltimore where she will represent Maine nationally, and fly on a plane for the first time! Anna is mature, kind, and dependable. You can often see her making connections with youth at YLAT and helping them feel welcome. Anna recently was able to obtain a permanency guardianship which has been a truly positive experience in her life.

Sophia Dunton

Sophia is an active member of the Bangor YLAT group where she has been attending regularly for over three years. Sophia always shows up to YLAT meetings ready to work on her leadership skills and has become a great voice for fellow youth in care. She is a great role model for other attendees and makes sure to greet each new participant with a friendly smile. Her smile is contagious! Sophia has grown into a quiet, yet strong leader particularly with her listening, reflection, and communication skills. Although Sophia is not a huge fan of public speaking she has pushed herself to become very good at it. Sophia has been a strong advocate on behalf of youth in foster care in her local community. Sophia attended and spoke at the Annual Policy Summit that was held in April in Augusta with the Office of Child and Family Services Acting Director and three state legislatures. In addition to this event, Sophia has shared her life experiences with future foster parents, in an effort to guide them into being successful homes for other (and future) youth in care. Sophia recently graduated from Brewer High School. Currently, Sophia is working at KFC/Taco Bell in Brewer. She plans to attend YLAT and college this fall.

Past Brad Levesque Award Recipients:

2017: Jason Mulvey & Gianna Gaudet
2016: Jacob Hills & Alexander Buzzell
2015: Tia Knowlton-Basford & Isabelle Goodrich
2014: Chrystal Inman & Kyle Snyder
2013: Tyneshia Wright & Stephanie Gerard
2012: Mariah Trimble-Smith & Casey Smith
2011: Joshua Calcia
2010: Sylvia Little & Shannon Jacobson
2009: Victoria “Torry” Bernard
2008: Vanessa Bridge & Paula Burrows
2007: Chanthy Like
2006: Kala Clark & Ashley Keiran
2005: Johanna Rhodes & Brystle Noble
2004: William Lane & Roxanne Carpentier
2003: Edward Schnopp
2002: Crystal Castro
2001: Maria Gordon & John Rutterford
2000: Jennie Hinckley
1999: Christina Irvine
1998: Jay Dymond
1997: Corey McLaughlin
1996: Leticia Jacques
1995: Wayne Johnson
1994: Brad Levesque