Mary “Polly” Chatfield was recently recognized for her years of service to the Youthlinks after-school program.

Youthlinks supporters, employees, family and friends gathered at a dinner to honor Polly at the Rockport Opera House, 6 Central St., Rockport. For the past 35 years, Youthlinks has served Midcoast youth by creating positive experiences that inspire and empower.

“In recognizing Polly, we celebrate a woman who has given her time and talent to assure positive role models and growth opportunities for hundreds of Midcoast students,” commented Sharon Goguen, Board chairman for Broadreach Family & Community Services, the parent organization of Youthlinks. “Her passion for ensuring that young people succeed has become part of the fabric of the community.”

Chatfield has been a tireless advocate for the benefit of youth and families. She taught high school English, History and Latin for 25 years at the Commonwealth School in Boston before retiring at age 61 when her husband, Charlie, became ill. The Chatfield’s spent time in Rockport and Cambridge, Mass. In Maine, Chatfield was first involved with Projects, Inc. which later became Youthlinks.

“Sarah Rheault, then chair of the board of Projects, Inc., asked me to join the board,” Polly recalled. “Projects Inc. had a number of small organizations in cities around the country working with at-risk kids. I agreed, as long as Sarah promised me that I would never have to be Chair. Sarah kept her promise.”

During her tenure on both the Youthlinks and Broadreach boards, Chatfield has advocated for after-school programs to engage and support youth. Through her efforts, Youthlinks students have learned the value of community through service and volunteerism. As a result, Youthlinks students gain self-confidence and maturity while developing leadership skills.

“Youthlinks’ history of community support, school collaboration, and results is why Maine’s Department of Health & Human Services recently awarded Broadreach a 2-year $400,000 contract to expand the Youthlinks program,” Gail Jones-Wilkerson, Broadreach’s executive director announced. “With support from Polly and many others, Youthlinks will serve more youth at risk of becoming school dropouts due to substance abuse, teen pregnancy, legal issues and other concerns.”

Since 1983, Broadreach Family & Community Services has offered community support for children, youth, and families. With more than 1,400 clients annually, Broadreach provides the following services:

Youthlinks after-school programs for grades 5 to 12; Early Childhood Education pre-kindergarten in partnership with RSU 71; Sprouts nature-based preschool for children 2 ½ to 5 years; Behavioral Health and Case Management Services; and Prevention programs in Waldo, Knox, and Lincoln counties. Broadreach preschool programs are nationally-accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

To learn more about Broadreach and Youthlinks, please contact Jayne Crosby Giles, Development Director, at 338-6767 or jcrosbygiles@brmaine.org Broadreach’s web address is: .brmaine.org or visit Broadreach on Facebook.