What We Do
JustME for JustUS (JMJU) is a youth-led and rural-led, fiscally-sponsored 501(c)3 nonprofit ensuring young people in rural Maine have their voices heard throughout our state about the issues impacting the places they live and their local communities. We intentionally collaborate with rural youth (ages 15-30) across all political backgrounds to advocate for the communities where we live and work.
JMJU’s approach is place-based not only to build trust and long term relationships within our target counties, but to ensure our strategies for change are truly coming from within the communities that have traditionally been excluded from the mainstream climate movement.
Maine’s rural youth are connected to place through school, fishing, hunting, working seasonal industries, and our culture of interdependence with the land and our community. Rural youth are hard workers and experts in knowing what their communities need.
JMJU recognizes that advocating for a better future requires expertise, labor, and time. Rural Mainers have a robust work ethic from a very young age and often work multiple jobs to help make ends meet. As such, JMJU’s core value is paying all young people for their time, which we believe is a small step in making community advocacy more accessible to youth in rural Maine.
We are coming together to create the world we want to live in.
How We Work
JMJU is youth-led and rural-led by Mainers who live, work, and study in their communities.
JMJU works with youth on an individual basis to ensure that this work is accessible.
Everyone who engages with JMJU, from youth organizers to workshop participants, will get paid for their time, transportation, and other incurred expenses.
Rural Maine is made up of diverse communities. The range of projects and partnerships each organizer works on reflects the diversity of circumstances and needs of each individual community.
The passions, concerns, and experiences of youth in rural Maine must be listened to, prioritized, and acknowledged. Rather than hiring for an outlined job with a fixed definition of what advocacy should look like, JMJU supports youth in creating their own projects based on their area of expertise and community need.
Our organizers lead a multitude of projects, all based on their community’s needs. Some examples include: hosting community conversations to assess what youth perceive as the greatest community needs, leading educational workshops and trainings, interacting with local town councils and selectboards to implement programs that benefit all residents, hosting information sessions to get youth involved in town grant opportunities, and interviewing young people about their relationships to the land. These are just some examples, not a guide! We value your creative approach.
JMJU is dedicated to seeking out paid leadership and professional development opportunities for our organizers. We are building future leaders.
Where We Work
JustME for JustUS works in rural Maine, specifically in Washington, Hancock, Penobscot, Franklin, and Kennebec counties.
JustME for JustUS wants to be explicit about the nature of our work. We are run by and for young rural Mainers. All of our staff have roots in rural Maine. We know first-hand how so many rural communities--and rural youth--are left out because of geographic distance and/or differences in culture and politics. We want to change that.
At the same time, we abide by our values of inclusivity and equity as we pursue our mission of resourcing young people to make changes in ways that are best for their communities.
This is tough work for us, and we do our best to listen, be authentic to the communities where we work, and always have open minds. We know that we cannot heal our democracy and work for all Mainers without bridging divides. JMJU has a very authentic and rooted intention to forge connections in rural spaces where many many feel alienated on both sides of the political spectrum.
JMJU is fiscally sponsored by the Maine Environmental Education Association (MEEA), 501(c)3.