Tiant illuminates life of immigrants

Wells Junior High School students got a nice surprise recently when retired Red Sox pitcher Luis Tiant visited the school to speak with students.

Itwas all began with a Social Studies project assigned by teacher Matt Coleman, who asked his students to examine the subject of immigration, selecting different angles to approach the often-polarizing subject.

Grade 8 student Karissa Kenyon chose to research the impact that immigration has had on baseball over the years, specifically examining the career of Tiant and his journey from being a Cuban ballplayer in Fidel Castro’s Cuba to becoming a professional player in the United States.

Kenyon’s father had a chance encounter with Tiant at a local convenience store in Wells, resulting in Tiant agreeing to sit for a telephone interview with Karissa for her project. That led to Tiant accepting an invitation to visit Coleman’s class and speak about immigration.

During that visit, Tiant also interacted with students from teacher Anne Gallo’s classroom. Gallo, a big Red Sox fan and teaching teammate of Coleman, helped bring students up to speed about Tiant’s baseball career and legacy by using clippings and photos to make a display.

Tiant, the subject of the film, “Last Son of Havana” spent two hours at the school speaking with students, showing his World Series ring, signing autographs and posing for photos.


Scouts fill stockings for homeless

For the past three years, Girl Scout Troop 1714, of Portland, has dedicated its community service outreach to providing a helping hand for homeless teenagers in the city – a topic that all of the Troop members are concerned about.

Each year, the troop makes St. Valentines Day gifts, conducts clothing drives and donates “pocket snacks” for homeless teenagers during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Under the direction of troop leaders Mary Ann Delsandro and Susan Wiggin, the team recently hosted staff from Preble Street Resource center, as well as a Gold Award Girl Scout, to educate them about the complicated needs of homeless teens.

The girls responded by filling 24 Christmas stockings with personal hygiene products and other essentials and placed them on the cots of teens at a Portland shelter, to help them to stay clean, warm, dry and fed while they are finding their way through the challenges they face.


Honor society donates to seniors

The South Portland High School National Honor Society presented the South Portland High School Dollars for Scholars program with a check in the amount of $1,200 to benefit graduating seniors this spring.

Most of the money was raised during Honor Society sponsored events at the South Portland Coffee House in November.

To donate funds, contact Alice Kelley at 939-2220 or email [email protected]


Church provides bikes for kids

For the fourth year running, St. Augustine Anglican Church donated bicycles to York County foster children in need.

This annual program, of the church’s Outreach Committee, is funded primarily through its ongoing bottle drive.

The bikes were delivered Dec. 15 from the Scarborough Walmart to the families for Christmas gift opening.

This year, the church worked directly with York County Department of Health and Human Services to find recipients for the gifts.

Bicycles were for both boys and girls and were purchased with specific children in mind, so the sizes and colors were tailored for each child.

Many of the children will be owning their very own bicycle for the first time. One young girl wanted a bike so badly that she made one for herself from spare parts. The girl’s bike was stolen and now she will have a new, purple bike for Christmas.

Sweetser gets grant to update campus

Sweetser, a non-profit mental health organization, has recently been awarded two grants, totaling $800,000 from the Next Generation Foundation of Blue Hill.

The awards will be used to improve safety and security systems for Sweetser employees and at The School at Sweetser in Saco, as well as for necessary updating to residential units.

The grants also will be used to increase the energy efficiency of many outdated heating and insulation systems at the Saco campus.


Manpower thanks service members

This holiday season more than 550 Christmas cards were sent to military service members, thanks to a partnership between Manpower Maine, The American Red Cross and community members.

The campaign marked Manpower Maine’s second annual drive to support the American Red Cross “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program.

Holiday greetings were collected by Manpower Maine and delivered by the Red Cross to Maine veterans, military families and active-duty service members around the world.

According to April Clark, Manpower Maine president, “The team at Manpower believes it is important to send well wishes to those that protect and serve our country. We are grateful for the sacrifices that our dedicated service members make for our country, this is one simple way for people in Maine to show their gratitude.”


Bank donates to children’s groups

Androscoggin Bank’s MainStreet Foundation recently presented grants, totaling $17,500 to four organizations that help kids thrive.

Founded to support programming for at-risk kids in Maine to be safe, healthy, active, happy, educated and nourished, the foundation awards impact grants four times each year to organizations actively working to better the lives of children. The grants vary based on need and are awarded in amounts up to $5,000.

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services, of Auburn, an organization that works to prevent and eliminate sexual violence; New Beginnings, of Lewiston, an emergency youth shelter; and MyPlace Teen Center, of Westbrook, which provides 500-plus youth with free meals, mentoring, character education, academic support, civic engagement and life skills, each will receive $5,000 to continue programming for at-risk youth. The Telling Room, of Portland, also will receive $2,500 to support an after school literacy program at its writing center.

For more details, call Melissa Rock at 376-3545.


Needy youth offered dental care

The Maine Coast Community Dental Center, of Ellsworth, and the Community Dental Center, of Southwest Harbor, will take part in The American Dental Association’s 13th national “Give Kids A Smile” program on Feb. 6 to provide free oral health services to children and adolescents from under-served families.

Free services will be provided for children, from first tooth to 18 years of age, including oral hygiene instruction, cleaning and fluoride varnish from registered dental hygienists, with the possibility of further examination and treatment available from Dr. Layne Whiteley, DDS.

Services are by appointment only and space is limited on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more details or to make an appointment, call 667-0293 or go to www.givekidsasmile.ada.org.

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