PORTLAND, Maine — New Beginnings is equipped with an emergency shelter, a drop-in center, and a transitional living program -- which was at the center of Wednesday night’s celebration.

At the helm of the board -- Danyelle Carson. Carson was elected Board President tonight. She was first introduced to the organization through a family member utilizing its services. She also has her own experience with teen homelessness. Now, Carson is a successful attorney and mother of three.

"I spent nights sleeping on the streets. I stayed in alleyways behind restaurants because in the middle of winter in Maine if you don’t find a way to stay warm you end up dying," Carson said. 

New Beginnings serves children across the state, including LGBTQ youth. The program has facilities in Androscoggin, Franklin, and Kennebec counties. 

That transitional program lasts 18 months, and the teens are housed in an apartment with a roommate and go to school. They also learn skills needed to live on their own, like cooking, taxes, and balancing a checkbook. 

Samuel Chamberlain went through that program 10 years ago. He said he’s the person he is today because of it.

"I’m actually getting my Masters in social work right now with a focus on nonprofit management and I don’t know that I would even be considering that path if it wasn’t for folks through New Beginnings."

To learn more about New Beginnings, click here.