At this juncture in her illustrious career, Senator Snowe has placed her energies, and her legacy, on raising aspirations and confidence in future generations of Maine women by helping them develop leadership, collaboration, and problem solving skills.
The Institute launched in 2015 using Olympia’s compelling personal story and her historic career as the inspiration to create a meaningful leadership experience for 10th-12th grade girls. Supporting Olympia in this work is a broad and diverse group successful women from all walks of life, as well as hundreds of corporate, individual, and foundation donors.
With this tremendous support, the Institute has designed a three-year, evidence-based program focused on the themes My Values (sophomore year), My Voice (junior year), and My Vision (senior year). Each year offers an intensive one-day kick-off session in which all the girls hear from Olympia and other accomplished women, followed by monthly meetings with trained advisors and continued communication through a private online community.
The Institute began in 2015 by using a beta model comprised of fifty 10th grade girls from the seven high schools that serve Androscoggin County. This group will continue to serve as the beta cohort in 2016 and 2017, testing the junior and senior year programming. To date, program monitoring shows that Olympia’s Institute has focused in on a large unmet need, and is experiencing promising results.
During the 2016/2017 school year, the Institute expanded to a statewide model for the incoming 10th grade class, partnering with one school from each county and the initial seven schools from the beta group, while simultaneously introducing the 11th grade (My Voice) to the original seven beta schools. Each new school in the program will choose five 10th graders to participate, bring the the total program size to 155 students in the 2016-2017 school year (50 11th graders and 105 10th graders).
The Institute plans to continue its expansion over the next several years. By the fall of 2019, the Institute will be partnering with 36 schools and will serve 540 girls.
Participants in the program are 10th-12th grade girls who show great potential, but may not yet have experienced the opportunity to expand their views of their potential and the possibilities that exist for their futures, and for whom leadership skills may make a remarkable difference. Participants are required to actively engage in Institute programming for all three years.