A Mission 2022 Best-Of List from Mission President John Zavodny

by | Jan 4, 2023 | News

As one year ends and the next begins, there is a proliferation of best-of lists. On TV and social media, they range from the mundane (best plumbing hacks of 2022) to the titillating (no example needed). 

Looking back, I am in awe of the amazing things we accomplish when we work together in community. Here are just some Mission highlights from 2022 that may inspire an even better ’23. 

Working Together. We couldn’t have the impact we do without our partners. From the Housing Rehabilitation work we do in collaboration with Downeast Community Partners, to coordination of services through Community Caring Collaborative; from our island education work with the Island Institute to regular programs with Mano en Mano, we are grateful for all our partners. 

Downeast Exploration. In collaboration with the young women profiled in her bestselling book Downeast: Five Maine Girls and the Unseen Story of Rural America, author Gigi Georges and husband Jeff Oxman established our new Downeast Exploration Fund. The fund helps young people from Downeast Maine access opportunities that might otherwise be out of reach. 

Honoring EdGE Partners at the Gala. As we celebrated twenty years of the EdGE program, the 2022 Sunbeam Gala Award Gala recognized Downeast education leaders Les Coleman, and our ten partner schools in Washington County, including superintendent Ron Ramsay. The Gala stage was full of leaders committed to the education and growth of a generation of young people. 

Color photo of the Downeast Education Partners, nine in all, stand on stage with their awards in hand. President John Zavodny and retired Executive Director Gary DeLong stand on either side of the group.

It’s All Academic. This fall, the first cohort of six Scholars went to college on life-changing Davis Maine Scholarships. In addition to these transformative opportunities made possible by the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund, the Mission also provided scholarships to more than 75 students in Hancock and Washington Counties. 

Journey’s Journeys. Over the summer, 7th through 12th grade students in the Journey program engaged in fifteen age-appropriate overnight expeditions. From close to home camping in Acadia to cultural excursions in Boston and college visits, overnight trips give students a chance to stretch their boundaries both literally and figuratively. 

An Award-Winning Team. This year, two different organizations recognized our partnership. MDI Hospital selected the Mission as their Healthcare Partner of the Year. Maine Academy of Modern Music (MAMM) picked us as their Community Partner of the Year as well. Stop in to see the gold record from MAMM when visiting the Downeast Campus in Cherryfield. 

Sharon’s Farewell Tour. Last month, Sharon Daley embarked on her farewell island tour after 22 years of providing health care as the Sunbeam Nurse. The search has already begun for the next Sunbeam Nurse, but Sharon will be missed. 

Mission Christmas. The Mission has been helping folks celebrate Christmas since 1905. Between October and December of 2022, Mission volunteers (29 of them!) prepared and delivered 11,277 white-paper-red-string wrapped presents for 1,533 children and seniors on the islands and Downeast. What a beautiful way to end the year. 

Helping a neighbor find money for heat as the temperatures turn, giving that EdGE kid a snack and a hug, or making the vaccination rounds (again) may not always show up in a highlight reel. But we know that behind every award, partnership, photograph, or celebration is over a century of the Mission just being there. Where we are needed. When it matters. However we can. 

Below is a short video featuring these and more Mission highlights of 2022 that was originally posted on our Instagram page.

Thank you for your partnership and support in ’22. Here’s to an amazing 2023! 

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