A Place for the Community on the Downeast Campus

by | May 11, 2023 | News

In the past few months, Weald Bethel Community Center on the Mission’s Downeast campus has hosted tax clinics, cooking classes, a weatherization workshop, and a Buddhist monk’s talk. This diverse mix of events were hosted by local community groups that needed a large, central place to meet in Washington County. Organizations like Wild Blueberry Heritage Center, Women for Healthy Rural Living (WHRL), Downeast Community Partners, and Mano en Mano have all used the space free of charge.  

For the Wild Blueberry Heritage Center, a smaller nonprofit that only added staff members in 2022, “Having the Maine Seacoast Mission as a resource during these iterative stages of organizational growth is crucial to our success” says Kaysie Logan, an AmeriCorps Vista member who works at the Center. The organization has used Weald Bethel Community Center to hold a few meetings over the winter. In April, a group of AmeriCorps NCCC who were working at the center stayed at Weald Bethel Community Center for three weeks. The group was there to help build the Wild Blueberry Heritage Center’s educational outdoor walkway and garden. “Without the Maine Seacoast Mission, we would not be able to properly support the volunteer-staff members that are integral to our organizational growth and community embeddedness,” Kaysie adds.  

Zabet NeuCollins, the Assistant Director of WHRL, agrees that having a large space with a full kitchen has beneficial to her organization and the community as a whole. WHRL has a kitchen in their building in Milbridge but has held their monthly Harvest Table Cooking classes at Weald Bethel Community Center. “We did one of the kitchen classes in our space. It is not the same, we have a much smaller space, and we did not have a nice open kitchen to spread out in,” she says. WHRL has also used Weald Bethel Community Center for board retreats and NeuCollins has been grateful for the partnership that it has fostered. “We are really grateful for the community space,” she adds.  

In addition to offering the space to community groups, Weald Bethel Community Center is a hub for Mission programs as well. During the summer, volunteers for the Mission’s Housing Improvement program stay in the building. In winter that same space turns into the North Pole for the Mission’s Christmas Program. Weald Bethel Community Center also hosts weekly yoga classes in the fall and spring as well as open mic nights and the Downeast Table of Plenty year-round.  

To use the space or learn more about community events hosted at Weald Bethel Community Center and contact Stephanie Moores, Family and Community Engagement Manager at [email protected] or call 207-546-5868.

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