It’s clear Donna Dwyer is a woman on a mission. As the executive director of My Place Teen Center took the stage of the Westbrook Performing Arts Center last Saturday night to welcome more than 200 guests to the Songwriters in the Round benefit, she didn’t mince words.

“We serve 500 kids a year. We engage in character and academic development, and we have an internal motto: From food stamps to global leaders,” she said, explaining the free after-school program on Main Street in Westbrook for youths from age 10 to 18. “Because when there is an opportunity to make a difference in a kid’s life, we will do it in a heartbeat. We all need a second chance.”

With an all-star lineup of songwriters Don Campbell, Dan Merrill and David Good, and auctioneer Ray Richardson moonlighting from his day job as a radio host on WLOB, the evening was a resounding success.

“I wanted to help out in a bigger way,” explained veteran songwriter Good, whose wife, Nancy Fahey-Good, is among the founders of the teen center, on his idea to create this benefit. “And I’ve wanted to do a songwriter-in-the-round with these two for a long time.”

“I was fortunate to have a really fun, comfortable upbringing, but I know a lot of kids don’t,” said Campbell, who was happy to lend a hand. “If you’re going to step on the stage to play music, why not do it for a great cause?”

Friends and fans alike came out to show their support.

“I came out to help support the teen center and to hear Don Campbell,” said Katherine Jones of Westbrook, who attended with her sisters Marcy and Michelle Blais, fans of David Good.

“We’re here to support Dan Merrill,” said Mike Doyon of Portland, who was joined by Linda Mullen and Barney Martin of Scarborough.

Greeting guests as they streamed in from the stormy night outside were Makayla Rice and Jamie Burns of Bonny Eagle High School in Standish, Lori Carter, a board member at the center; Tina Burns, director of operations; and Lexi Dearborn, a youth worker at the center who once relied on it as a safe haven as an at-risk teen herself.

“Without Donna, I don’t know where I’d be today, honestly,” Dearborn said.

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

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