Born in Atlanta, GA, and raised partially in Lincoln, RI; Mike Akanji is one of Tree Street Youth’s Program Directors. Mike is an alumnus of Thomas College, where he obtained his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (2015) as well as his Master of Business Administration (2017). Mike is passionate about music, movies, and sports. He was a college basketball star and helped bring victory to Thomas during all 4 years of his undergraduate career, he even played internationally for a team in Canada. Mike has worked with youth for almost his entire life, and strives to continually make a positive impact at Tree Street.
Ty is one of our astounding alum. Born and raised right here in Lewiston, Maine, Ty has had an important influence in shaping many programs at Tree Street from their beginning, including the Sequoia Program and the Next Step High program. Ty is passionate about traveling and hopes to move to New York City in the near future. He serves as a mentor to many of our youth; Ty is often the first smiling face they see after school and his uplifting spirit is a warm welcome after school.
Angela is originally from Lynn, Massachusetts, a small town notably characterised for its unique urban style, culture, and music. After attending high school, Angela moved to Maine to pursue higher education at Bates College. During her time at Bates, Angela became an active member not only on campus, but also in the greater Lewiston community. Angela has worked with various community organizations, identifying public problems and creating constructive approaches to address them. Her activism eventually led her to Tree Street Youth, where Angela initially worked as an intern. It was through her work that Angela developed a passion for empowering individuals. Now, as the Redwood Program Manager, Angela seeks to engage the full participation of young girls and women in the decision-making processes that affect their lives.
Born in Kenya, Shafea moved to the U.S. at the age of 3 in 2004. Shafea moved to Lewiston, Maine in the summer of 2010 and graduated from Lewiston High School. Shafea is a self-taught dancer. She been dancing since the age of 11. Her future goal is to own her very own dance studio and in-home daycare center. She has recently discovered she has a passion for children. She joined the Tree family during her freshman year in high school and has been with us ever since. She has performed at our annual “I Am Tree” event for three years now. Shafea is cheerful at the possibilities of what this year has in store for her.
Originally from Peshawar, Pakistan, Natasha moved to the U.S. just 4 years ago! She attended College of the Atlantic (COA) in Bar harbor, Maine, where she studied Cultural Anthropology and Philosophy. Natasha is passionate about travel and diverse experiences; she dreams of road tripping to all the national parks, walking to the end of the Great Wall of China, and seeing the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Matt grew up in Lewiston, attending Lewiston High School and Central Maine Community College. Prior to joining Tree Street, Matt spent a decade serving several non-profits throughout central Maine before enlisting in the Air Force. Since high school, Matt’s focus has been on broadening his perspectives and soaking in new cultures. Having returned to Lewiston after 7 years of being away, he looks forward to giving back to the community that raised him and using experiences he’s gained while traveling near and far to open new frontiers for our youth members.
Part Mainer, part New Yorker, Keenan Shields comes to Lewiston from Rochester NY. A 2018 alumnus of Bates College, where he studied Anthropology, Black Literature, and Spanish. Keenan is a lover of all things artistic, and is passionate about reading, cooking, writing, dancing, hosting events, and even being in the great outdoors. He was drawn to Tree Street because of our passion and focus on developing youth in the community. Keenan admires the way that Tree helps to build personal and team leadership skills, fosters the artistic endeavors of youth, and hones in on academic success to push them to excel!
Oren Stevens, Iowa born and raised, but has called Maine home for the last twenty-five years. For the past decade, Oren has been dedicated to social and emotional learning and advocacy for at-risk youth in educational settings. With an MFA and extensive training in Motivational Interviewing, expressive arts and deep listening are his tools of choice. An acting member of Portland Playback theater, Oren can be found improv singing, dancing, or telling a story just about anywhere.
Born and raised in Maine, Jordan grew up in Portland for most of his childhood. He moved to Cumberland, North Yarmouth, and is currently living in Lewiston. Jordan attends Central Maine Community College majoring in Human Services with a second major in Early Childhood Education. he officially joined the Tree Street family a week ago however, he’s volunteered one semester for college last year. He has a passion for music, video games and believes in equality for everyone! jordan hopes to build a strong relationship with all of the youth at the center and make them feel heard and supported.
Born and raised right here in Maine, Anna is recent high school graduate with big plans. She was born and raised in Monmouth, and is a recent high school graduate. Some of her aspirations include travel and pursuing her goal of becoming a music therapist. Anna is looking forward to this year. Anna is excited for growth and opportunity and is hopeful of the learning and experience she will gain from her time here with Tree.
Meg comes to Tree Street from Cornwall, Vermont. She attended Tufts University, where she majored in Anthropology and Community Health. After college Meg made her way to places like the great state of Colorado and the beautifully diverse country of Brazil; Meg soon made her way to Maine, where she landed here in Lewiston. Meg has worked at Tree Street in the BRANCHES program since 2017 and is now one of the center’s Program Directors.
Julia is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Tree Street Youth Center. Born and raised in Bangor area, she initially moved to Lewiston as an undergraduate at Bates College. During her time as a student, she began connecting to the Downtown Lewiston community youth through service learning opportunities afforded to her as a Psychology and Education major. Over the past 10 years, Julia has continued to build on the relationships formed as an undergrad, seeking to provide valuable programming to at-risk youth in Lewiston-Auburn. After completing her Masters in Leadership and Organizational Studies at USM-LAC, she began the present-day Tree Street Youth Center.