About Our Program
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Our Mission

What We Stand For

Family Futures Downeast, a two-generation program designed to improve economic outcomes for low-income families, accesses post-secondary education for parents delivered in a cohort model at the same time their children access high-quality early-childhood education to improve school readiness.  Through intensive family coaching, college preparation and tutoring, workforce supports and barrier removal, FFD seeks to reduce poverty in Washington County.

Our Facilities

We Are Providing an Environment for Our Students to Grow & Excel

We have a Family Center on each campus.  Each center is set up to make students, and their children successful.  Each space is set up to provide a safe location on campus to study, meet with the coach, meet with fellow students, work on assignments, meet with the tutor, print homework, use the internet, and gather together for fun.  The spaces are set up for small children with toys, children’s furniture, and kitchenettes.


Education for the Whole Family

Parents enter FFD by participating in the College Transitions program, which provides comprehensive services including gaining study skills, exploration of career and college plans, financial aid, and support to improve math, reading and technology skills. Working with their coach and the instructors from Axiom Education & Training Center, parents complete the admissions process for either UMM or WCCC.

Each fall, parents enroll in a 15-16 credit college program as a cohort – all the parents enrolled in the program take the same courses together.  As part-time students, parents take two classes Fall Semester, two Spring Semester, and one class during the first half of the summer session. In addition, parents receive ongoing tutoring from the AETC staff.  Classes are designed to be personally relevant and stimulating to parents.

Early childhood education is provided to all FFD children under 8 years old at Downeast Community Partner’s early childhood centers co-located on the UMM and WCCC campuses.  Each evening, while parents attend their classes, children are receiving high-quality, early childhood education and care from a team of certified early education teachers and trained professionals. Teachers work on social and emotional development skills that will help children be school-ready.  With a goal of children reading at or above grade level by Grade 3, DCP teachers work on language development and literacy to help families reach that goal. For many FFD children, this is their first time in any formal child care or early education setting. The Centers can help children build relationships with other children and teachers, and become ready for pre-school, Head Start or K-12 education.

Coaches work individually with parents to identify resources for FFD Youth ages 9-13, supporting on-campus education and recreation, kinship care or supervised activities with trusted individuals or community youth programs.


Support from a Coach

We provide each family with intensive support from a coach. The coach assists the family in working to remove any barriers to participate in the program. The coach assists the student throughout the year to learn the complicated college system. The coach helps each student with goal setting, and progression throughout the year, for the family. We also provide Transitional Coaching for parents during the second year of the program. This support may include continuing college supports, job coaching or financial literacy and planning.


Connecting you with the tools you need

We loan each student a laptop and WiFi hot spot to use during the first year of the program. 


Getting to Class

We work to remove transportation issues. Some students receive gas cards to cover the expense of getting to school. Other students have volunteer drivers if they are unable to drive themselves.  


Individual Tutoring

We partnered with Washington County Adult and Community Education, who provides College Transitions classes each summer, and free individual tutoring to our students.


After the program

Transitional Coaching

After completing the 15-credit program at either UMM or WCCC, families can receive up to an additional year of coaching supports from our Transitions Coach.  Whether parents plan to continue on to an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree or seek additional professional credentials through a certificate program, the Transitions Coach can help.  Working together with the parent to connect them to campus-based resources, the coach will ensure that they are accessing community services that could support them until they complete their degree.

For parents that enter or re-enter the workforce, the Transitions Coach can help build career development skills.  They work on resumes and interviewing, identify and resolve barriers to obtaining and retaining employment, and help identify key community resources and natural supports to improve success in the workplace.  Some parents may also have entrepreneurial plans for small business. The coach can connect the family to community business training, consultation and workshops to help grow a business.

A Whole Family Approach to Jobs

Workforce and Economic Development

Right from the start of FFD, students are learning about their own abilities, interests and possible career pathways through individual assessments with staff from Axiom Education and Training Center.  Campus faculty and staff can  help students connect their education goals and their career goals. And coaches encourage FFD parents to dream big; coaches work closely with parents to improve the family income and economic opportunities.  They help families with financial barriers that impact both education and career opportunities.  An important part of FFD is envisioning ways in which students can access meaningful work that pays them a living wage and can change the trajectory for the whole family.




“Family Futures Downeast was a great support system. The coaches and the other girls helped me get back into the swing of things and kept me going when things got a little tough. I knew I wanted to go back to school and Family Futures Downeast helped me achieve that goal.”

Kristin Alley

Cohort 1


Students continue in college


of parents feel more hopeful about their children's futures


Reported new professional connections

Families have participated in FFD

Get In Touch


Machias Location: 7 Ames Way, Machias, ME 04654

Calais Location: 330 North Street, Calais, ME 04619

Telephone: (207) 255-0983

Email: familyfutures@sunrisecounty.org

Hours: M-F: 8am - 5pm