YARMOUTH — Sammy Potter wants to know where others find hope and how they use it to make a positive impact.

A desire to find answers to those questions led Potter to organize the first Day of Hope, at Yarmouth High School on Saturday. He believes that hope is a relevant theme in the current turbulent political and cultural climate.

Sammy Potter: “The worst thing we can do is be comfortable living in a homogeneous society.”

“(Day of Hope) is definitely a result of these kinds of tumultuous times that we live in,” said Potter, a senior at Yarmouth High.

The event will be held in the school’s auditorium and will feature seven TED-style talks from 1-3:30 p.m., followed by a 30-minute reception where attendees can ask questions. TED is a media organization that focuses on “ideas worth spreading,” by experts from many fields.

Potter began thinking of what hope means to varying mindsets and political viewpoints when he was interning for Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in Washington, D.C., from January to June.

“I had a community of fellow interns who really represented a wide diversity of ideas and varying political opinions from across the country,” Potter said. After returning from Washington, Potter traveled to Israel with a group of pluralistic Jews.

“I wanted to do something that brought this spirit of having an open marketplace for ideas home to Maine to try to share what I gained while I was in D.C. and Israel,” he said.

Potter, who identifies politically as an independent, said he’s found a sense of unity in what brings people hope – regardless of political views.

“The worst thing we can do is be comfortable living in a homogeneous society,” he said.

As for himself, Potter finds hope in potential. “We have this awesome chunk of paradise with beautiful natural resources and hardworking people, but we’ve also got some really big problems,” he said. “I get hope from the potential of solving those problems.”

Potter said the purpose of the Day of Hope is to hear from innovators who are working toward a brighter future in Maine.

Speakers will include Maine immigration attorney Leslie Silverstein, former gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler, Maine Accelerates Growth CEO Jess Knox, musician Spencer Albee, state Sen. Cathy Breen, Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling and Maine Heritage Policy Center CEO Matthew Gagnon. Each will speak about where they find hope in turbulent times.

“These are speakers that represent very diverse ideas. Some of them have very conflicting ideas for how to improve the state,” Potter said. “… One of the things I think is really dangerous in a community like Yarmouth, and in southern Maine too, is the potential to become echo chambers of our own ideas and opinions.”

Admission to the Day of Hope is $7 for adults and $5 for ages 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased at the event’s web page, dayofhopemaine.com.

All proceeds will be donated to Preble Street, which provides services for people experiencing homelessness and hunger.

Although Potter plans to attend college next year, he envisions Day of Hope continuing in his absence.

Jocelyn Van Saun can be contacted at 781-3661, ext. 183 or at:

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Read this story in The Forecaster.