Since 1905, Island Outreach has been a mainstay of Maine Seacoast Mission’s work. With deep roots and meaningful relationships, the program provides educational and community building services and activities for island residents of all ages.
Island Outreach activities augment small island schools’ work, supporting teachers and their students with activities ranging from marine ecology to the arts and story-telling.
Most island students must leave their families and the island to attend a bigger mainland high school after receiving individual instruction from the same teacher year after year in small island schools. These students leave their families and homes to board on the mainland or commute two to three hours each day. A year-round program prepares middle school students for the transition to mainland high schools.
For lifelong learners, Island Outreach provides education programs in areas such as nature and environmental issues, dance and movement classes, self-care and mental health workshops.
Beach cleanup trips, often organized in partnership with the national park or land conservation organizations, give mainland students and volunteers a chance to learn about island communities and protect marine life.
Photo by Tristan Spinski
Islands of Grace
Led by Island Outreach Director and Sunbeam Chaplain Douglas Cornman, the Islands of Grace program provides spiritual support for island residents and partnership to their spiritual leaders. Douglas leads religious services aboard the Sunbeam, through Zoom, and at island churches.
Many islanders fondly remember Maine Seacoast Mission Easter and Christmas services and gifts from their childhoods, and Sunbeam chaplains have officiated at island weddings and funerals for generations. Island churches can apply to the Mission for financial support for community building projects, and spiritual leaders can tap into the Mission’s broader clerical network.
The Island Reader
The Mission publishes The Island Reader, an annual collection of writing and visual art created by island residents published by the Mission to showcase the talent of outer island residents.
Bonfires on the beach, dock cookouts, Sunbeam pizza nights, and island breakfasts are like family gatherings for island residents, served with warm hospitality by Jillian, the Sunbeam’s steward. Jillian makes sure that if the Sunbeam is in port, the coffee is on, ready for early-rising lobstering families and the mailboat crew. And every islander knows right where to find Jillian’s bottomless cookie jars!
Our Director of Island Outreach brings performers, artists and sports events to the islands. The Sunbeam transports musicians, dancers, and writers to lead workshops and visit with island families at schools or the community center. Planet Pan, a steel drum band from Blue Hill, is a favorite for their lively dockside concerts.
Book groups, movie nights, and Sunbeam salon gallery events provide a glimpse into worlds and peoples far away, and, paired with a Sunbeam-cooked meal, are an excellent way to have a fun night out on the island.
Our work is your work, made possible by your generous gifts.
No matter how hard times get, the Mission will be there, helping sustain and strengthen families and communities. Please join us. Your donations bring warmth when it’s cold, shed light where it’s dark, and give strength when burdens grow heavy.
Contact us to donate, volunteer, or arrange for planned giving.