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.

It 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 ballplayer in Fidel Castro’s Cuba to becoming a professional player in the United States.

Karissa’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 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.

Each year, the troop makes Valentine’s 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.


Honor society donates to $1,200 to graduating seniors

The South Portland High School National Honor Society presented the South Portland High School Dollars for Scholars program with a check for $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, call Alice Kelley at 939-2220 or email [email protected]


Church provides bikes for York County foster children

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 Wal-Mart to the families for Christmas.

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.

Many of the children will be owning their 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 $800,000 in building-maintenance grants

Sweetser, a nonprofit 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 of 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 sends cards to more than 550 military personnel

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 foundation donates $17,500 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 to help at-risk kids in Maine be safe, healthy, active, happy, educated and nourished, the foundation awards impact grants four times each year to organizations working to better the lives of children. The grants vary based on need and are awarded in amounts up to $5,000.

Recipients of $5,000 are: Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services of Auburn; New Beginnings of Lewiston, an emergency youth shelter; and MyPlace Teen Center of Westbrook, which provides 500-plus youths with free meals, mentoring, character education, academic support, civic engagement and life skills. The Telling Room of Portland will receive $2,500 to support an after school literacy program at its writing center.

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


Dental centers offer free care to needy young people

The Maine Coast Community Dental Center in Ellsworth and the Community Dental Center in Southwest Harbor will take part in the American Dental Association’s 13th national “Give Kids a Smile” program Feb. 6, providing free oral health services to children and adolescents from underserved 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 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.