CHERRYFIELD, ME – Mission Family and Community Resource Coordinator Stephanie Moores sends an update from D.W. Merritt Elementary in Addison, ME.
Audrey, a quiet student who enjoys art and K’nex construction toys, is January’s Student of the Month.
Stephanie says, “Audrey is very helpful to staff, students, and does a wonderful job of helping everyone feel included and special. She always goes above-and-beyond in everything she does. Audrey is patient and kind and a joy to have in the EdGE program.”
CHERRYFIELD, ME – Maine’s Downeast coast is exceptionally beautiful. But winter winds there can be brutal. Last week, for example, winds collapsed a roof at Narraguagus Bay Health Home in Milbridge, at the mouth of the Narraguagus River.
As of this writing, all the Milbridge facility’s residents have returned. NEWS CENTER Maine reported that when the roof first collapsed, help arrived from many communities, and 41 nursing home residents were evacuated to other nursing care facilities. There were no reported injuries.
Megan Smith, the Mission’s Food Security and Sustainability Programs Coordinator delivered to the residents an initial 41 blankets, with crochet blankets, lap blankets, and other amenities to follow.
“I am so happy to hear that the residents are back. They must be so happy to be in familiar surroundings,” said Megan.
CHERRYFIELD, ME – Downeast youth participating in EdGE Journey explore the outdoors and their communities to develop the tools needed to successfully transition to high school and through higher education and career pathways. Journey Program Manager Dakin Hewlett shared what’s coming up for the students’ cohorts, grades 7-12 as well as invites volunteers to serve as Adult Mentors.
Journey’s Winter Plans
This winter, students went bowling to strengthen personal relationships with one another. During winter break later this month, each cohort will go to the trampoline park in Bangor. This is a chance for cohorts to get outside, engage in some athletic activity, and of course, have fun together.
11th grade students will also participate in a series of three Healthy Acadia workshops focused on youth restorative justice practices in which individuals learn how to reestablish relationships with one another. Once students complete the workshops, we intend to provide space for them to teach what they have learned to younger cohorts. Also in March, 11th grade students will visit Husson University. They will tour the campus, learn about the school’s programs, and discover post-secondary opportunities.
Dakin adds, “Each Journey cohort participates in about two core meetings a month to further their group and individual goals, continue to build relationships with each other and staff, plan future trips, and develop leadership skills through hands-on activities. These core meetings will be the adult mentors’ most consistent monthly opportunity to engage the students.”
Cohort dinners at the Weald Bethel Community Center provide opportunities for the group to cook and share meals together, and strengthen and build community within Journey.
Calling Adult Mentors
The Mission currently seeks Adult Mentors to volunteer in the Journey program on the Cherryfield campus. Adult mentors help students build a positive, personal network amongst their peers and in the community. Adult role models also help Journey youth create the tools for a successful transition to high school, higher education, and careers.
Beginning in 7th grade, the EdGE Journey program provides Downeast students six years of mentoring with professional staff, community members, and older peers. While on local and distant adventures, Journey’s volunteer adults foster healthy relationships with students, helping them to grow and access opportunities sometimes unavailable to them. As role models, adults can demonstrate how to build life skills and establish a support network.
Interested in joining Journey? Adult Mentors show a willingness to learn, have good listening skills, and are open to cultural differences. They also exhibit patience, a sense of humor, and commitment.
To learn more, contact Journey Program Manager Dakin Hewlett at [email protected] or (207) 598-1048. To become an Adult Mentor, apply now via the Mission volunteer form.
NORTHEAST HARBOR, ME – Two weeks into the New Year, Island Health Director Sharon Daley, RN noticed on Facebook a call for help from Terry Staples at Swan’s Island Bread of Life Food Pantry. While no one was on duty, the pantry freezer quit. “The end result,” wrote Mr. Staples, “was the loss of several hundred pounds of meat.” It will take time to replace the freezer, said Terry. Meanwhile, “if you are…grocery shopping and…could pickup a couple extra meats for us it would be a great help…,” he said.
Sharon asked Mission President John Zavodny and Downeast Director Mel Adams if the Mission could help the Swan’s Island food pantry. The answer was: Yes.
Mission Food Security and Sustainability Programs Coordinator Megan Smith partnered with Downeast Campus Facilities Manager Scott Shaw. They identified ten frozen turkeys and 210 pounds of additional frozen meats which Scott Shaw delivered 45-miles from Cherryfield to Northeast Harbor.
Meanwhile, Terry Staples told Sharon Daley the mail boat to Swan’s Island from Bass Harbor would transport the meat one hour over the water if the Mission could get the meat to the ferry by 11:00 am Monday, January 24.
On the 24th, Sharon Daley and Mel Adams received an email from Megan Smith. She said, “The frozen meat and turkeys are on the ferry heading to Swans Island…. I am so glad that we could help Terry and the Swans Island pantry.”
It’s Thank you Thursday. Today’s shout-out of Mission love goes to Lorraine Martin and Diane Bennekamper for keeping Downeast Maine kids warm.
In December 2021, Lorraine and Diane rallied a winter coat donation for the Mission. The two women from the Portland area sent appeal letters to family, friends, and fellow Congregational Church in Cumberland UCC parishioners. In response, 50 southern Maine donors collected 233 coats for Downeast youth.
These coats are especially welcome this year. We know in Downeast Washington County too many kids lack suitable winter gear. Donations of new or gently used kids winter coats are in very short supply.
So, thank you Lorraine Martin, Diane Bennekamper, and everyone who responded to their winter coat appeal.
This is what community looks like.
If you would like to donate coats to the Mission, please contact Downeast Campus and EdGE Administrative Assistant Maria Wight for details at 207.546.4466. You can learn more about our community and family support efforts by browsing our program.