“It’s all about community,” said Matthew Rubel, welcoming guests with his wife, Melissa, to their Cumberland Foreside home on July 19 to celebrate Signs of Hope, a benefit for the Lunder Family Alliance at Spring Harbor Hospital.

“In a community, you support those who make that community great. This is about supporting an innovative program that deals with mental illness. Not just the problem, but also the solution. We believe that Spring Harbor Hospital provides a service that enables people to be productive, engaged in their community, and nothing is more important than that.”

The Rubels greeted guests as they arrived at the garden party and stepped down into a stunning backdrop of manicured lawns that stretched out to the ocean. Guests mingled by the infinity pool and chatted over cocktails on the terrace as a light fog settled in.

Longtime Spring Harbor Hospital supporters Ken and Rona Purdy of New Castle, New Hampshire, were joined by Jack and Kay Emory of Freeport.

Leonard Lauder and his wife, Judith Glickman Lauder, enjoyed the company of Sheri and Joe Boulos of Falmouth. Merle and Leonard Nelson of Cumberland Foreside attended, as well as Jean Pugh of Falmouth. Peter and Paula Lunder also came to support the cause.

“The Lunder Family Alliance was developed to help young adults who are admitted to Spring Harbor Hospital and their families to navigate the system,” said Valerie Compagna, marketing and communications manager at Maine Behavioral Healthcare, of which Spring Harbor is a division. “It’s an amazing program.”

The integrated program features a comprehensive approach that includes employment specialists, who assist patients with job and education opportunities, and family navigators, who support families and caregivers during and after hospitalization. The goal is to enable patients to return to their communities healthier, productive and independent.

“I certainly support anything that supports mental health care in this neck of the woods,” said Anne Jones, a host committee member from Yarmouth, who chatted with Jack Piper of Portland.

“Signs of Hope began as a ‘friend-raiser,’ ” said Sheri Boulos, founder of the benefit, now in its eighth year. “We just wanted people to learn about Spring Harbor Hospital. Year after year, it’s turned into a bigger thing. Awareness is everything.”

“The Lunder Family Alliance provides an outstanding program,” said Stephen Merz, chief executive officer of Maine Behavioral Healthcare, as guests gathered on the back patio to hear remarks from several people, including Susan Stover, a mother whose family has benefited from services the alliance provides.

“It connects families to what is going on in the care system,” said Merz. “Through the alliance, we’re able to provide social services like the Purdy Family Navigator program, which is critical to our families who are trying to navigate the mental health system.”

The Signs of Hope benefit raised $190,000 for the Lunder Family Alliance, which helps close the gap for a generous $1 million matching grant in support of this program.

“These are the stories that are so difficult to tell but need to be told,” said Kathleen Kilbride, chair of the development committee. “Signs of Hope is about telling these stories. It’s about hope. We’ve all been touched by mental illness. Tonight is about hope and healing and sharing.”

Margaret Logan is a freelance writer who lives in Scarborough. She can be reached at:

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