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

2019 Brad Levesque Youth Leadership Awardees
2020
Natalie Watson-Todd

NATALIE WATSON-TODD

Over the past five years, Natalie has truly grown into a leader.  Natalie has been a committed member of the YLAT over the years, attending Bangor meetings regularly, and has also joined YLAT at many trainings, developing skills to share her story in advocating for herself and others.  In YLAT meetings, Natalie has taken on more responsibility as she has become more comfortable in her role as a young leader. Natalie is always a text away when there is a resource parent training.  If she is available, she will gladly participate in educating our new families. She has traveled most of Eastern Maine, sharing her experiences and words of wisdom to prospective resource parents over the years. Natalie has also used her voice at the Teen Conference Planning Committee, Maine Youth Transition Collaborative, and the New England Youth Coalition.  Natalie has participated in LEAP, including testing out the MyBestBets program as it is fine-tuned to meet the needs of youth in the State of Maine. She has also participated in the Policy Summit and Young People’s Caucus at the State House in Augusta. In both forums, she has spoken to the State of Maine Legislatures regarding important topics relevant to youth in Maine. Natalie works with A Family for Me providing childcare while foster parents are meeting.  Natalie helps whenever she can, including providing extra support/childcare for AFFM training.  She also works with children at her local church, setting up the room, and providing good care for the children while their caregivers are attending service. Natalie is humble about her many strengths, she is upbeat, a leader, and independent. When speaking with her family members, they shared that Natalie is excellent in an emergency – she takes charge and will calm other people. 

Natalie is smart, resourceful, has a great smile that can warm a room and a contagious laugh that helps others to feel included.

2020
Michael Brickle

MICHAEL BRICKLE

As an older youth coming into care, Michael hit the ground running and quickly embraced the notion that being in care, even with its obvious challenges, had some perks.  After attending a workshop held at EMCC, Michael became an enthusiastic member of the Rockland YLAT group and naturally slipped into a leadership role in several other venues as well.  He participated in the Youth Policy Summit at the State House, as well as a Youth Caucus on the challenges of living in a rural area.  Michael eagerly shared his voice boldly with legislators, Department heads, and providers to advocate for himself, his family, and other young people in care.  Michael has frequently been a panel member for new resource parents, and always shares insights with candor and sincerity.  Michael made good use of the LEAP program to earn money for a laptop for college, which may or may not also be sweet for gaming. He utilized the Opportunity Passport program to purchase his first car proudly.  He made his studies a priority, even if it meant playing catch up, and was recently inducted into the National Honor Society.  Michael was dually enrolled in high school and Eastern Maine Community College this past year and is beginning his formal college education this fall at EMCC.  He is utilizing the V9 program and Foster Care Tuition Waiver to pursue his education.  Michael also has aspirations to transfer to Maine Maritime Academy once he completes his EMCC program.  In addition to his serious pursuit of learning, Michael also showcased his not so serious side as an EMCEE for the Teen Conference last year, and you may have heard a bit of his singing talent during the wrap-up. 

 

There is no doubt that Michael will continue to achieve his goals, formulating new hopes and dreams along the way.

Past Brad Levesque Award Recipients:


2019: Tiffani Melia & Morgan Beals · 2018: Anna Chabot & Sophia Dunton · 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

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