On a sunny day in late May, a group of grammar school-aged children arrived after school at the Unity College Centre for the Performing Arts, just as they have every Thursday for the better part of a year.

They headed down to a familiar, safe and engaging place, The Game Loft, located in the basement level. The children enjoy a snack and then settle in to a series of activities that support their developing characters and social development. They participate in this free after school program on a voluntary basis.

Ray Estabrook, Co-Program Director, said in a press release that The Game Loft provides participants with the fundamental keys to positive youth development.

“Most kids need help to get over the difficult years,” noted Estabrook, who also works at The Game Loft’s longtime primary location in Belfast.

The expansion of The Game Loft to Unity one day a week during the school year is a positive step for the entire region, according to Estabrook, because the region is faced with particular social challenges relating to poverty, distance to reach centers for youth activity, and availability of youth programs.

The Game Loft is a community-based organization of Spurwink Services, a statewide organization that addresses the growing need for comprehensive programming and community-based services for families in Maine and beyond.

“We are pleased to have formed this partnership to benefit children in the Unity area,” said Rob Constantine, vice president for college advancement at Unity College, in the same press release. Unity College is providing the space in the basement of the UCCPA at no cost to The Game Loft.

Constantine was familiar with the good work of The Game Loft in Belfast through his capacity as the president of the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce, so when officials at The Game Loft facility in Belfast suggested expanding into Waldo County, he saw a perfect opportunity to do something positive that was in keeping with the values and mission of Unity College.

“It is most satisfying to those who are associated with Unity College to see this program to benefit area youth flourish,” said Constantine, in the press release. “The commitment of Unity College to the communities of which it is a part is exemplary as is the commitment of The Game Loft to those who it serves.”

Unity College students have consistently served as volunteers at The Game Loft in Unity, according to the press release, helping to ensure its success.

In May, Unity College learned that it was one of only two Maine colleges to receive national recognition for community service. For the second time in two years, Unity College was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for engaging its students, faculty and staff in meaningful service that achieves measurable results in the community.

For more information on the program, contact: thegameloft@spurwink.org.

Unity College is a small, private college that provides dedicated, engaged students with a liberal arts education which emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Unity College graduates are prepared to be environmental stewards, effective leaders, and responsible citizens through active learning experiences within a supportive community.