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Sleeper ’08 receives Distinguished Young Alumni Award

Established in 1987, the Distinguished Young Alumni Award is presented to a graduate of not more than 15 years for exceptional volunteer service to Bates and distinction in his or her career.

This year the award was presented to Julia Sleeper ’08 at the Annual Gathering of the Alumni Association on June 8, 2013, by Jennifer Lemkin Bouchard ’99, president of the Alumni Association.

Julia Sleeper '08, recipient of the Distinguished Young Alumni Award at Reunion for her work with Tree Street Youth Center in Lewiston, poses with President Clayton Spencer. Photograph by H. Lincoln Benedict '09.

Julia Sleeper ’08, recipient of the Distinguished Young Alumni Award at Reunion for her work with Tree Street Youth Center in Lewiston, poses with President Clayton Spencer. Photograph by H. Lincoln Benedict ’09.

As executive director and co-founder of Lewiston’s Tree Street Youth Center, Julia exemplifies the “intellectual discovery and informed civic action” championed in the Bates mission statement.

Tree Street Youth places a strong emphasis on academic achievement. Here Sleeper, left, congratulates a student upon his graduation from Lewiston High School as Sullivan, right, looks on. Photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College.

Tree Street Youth places a strong emphasis on academic achievement. Here Sleeper, left, congratulates a student upon his graduation from Lewiston High School with Sullivan, right. Photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College.

She began her service to the Lewiston-Auburn community while a student at Bates, helping to establish a successful after-school homework help program at Trinity Jubilee Center, a local soup kitchen and safe haven.

Upon graduating, she continued working there as an AmeriCorps volunteer and eventually co-founded Tree Street Youth Center with Kim Sullivan, a member of the Class of 2013, in partnership with Trinity Episcopal Church and local community members. Tree Street opened its doors in 2010 in the heart of Lewiston’s downtown neighborhood, known locally as the “tree streets.”

Your respect for the abilities and dignity of all people fosters unity across lines of difference.

Through academics, the arts and athletics, not to mention a robust college prep program, the center strives to empower downtown youth and their families to be fully participating members of their communities. Many Tree Street volunteers are current Bates students — sometimes more than 50 per semester.

Julia, you have built upon your Bates experience to create a transformational youth center, offering a safe space for youth of all ages that encourages healthy physical, social, emotional and academic development.

Your respect for the abilities and dignity of all people fosters unity across lines of difference. You have also founded an avenue for meaningful community engagement for many Bates students, enriching their Bates and Lewiston experiences.

Your belief in the power of our differences and especially that great equalizer — education — is an inspiration to the families you serve, and it is an inspiration to us. On behalf of the Bates College Alumni Association, it is my pleasure to present you with the Distinguished Young Alumni Award.



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