The Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine raises over $100,000 to help meet growing demand for feeding and nurturing children at five clubhouses.

‘There are lots of different ways to get a start in life,” said Howard Dana, explaining the importance of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine when he was a youngster. “I was a member when I was 7 years old, and I came back every summer all of my life.”

Dana, an accomplished lawyer who was once an associate justice on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, was particularly pleased to note that his wife Susan Dana was the first woman president of the organization.

“What’s really rewarding is seeing all of the kids come here, get a good meal, play and have supervision,” he said. “It’s a wonderful institution.”

As guests thronged the silent auction tables that filled the Portland Clubhouse on Cumberland Avenue, sipping cocktails and catching up with old friends, fundraising was clearly the top priority.

Lucia Kearns of Falmouth perused the offerings at the Spring for the Kids event with Michelle Amero of Residential Mortgage Services and Katie Millett of the Dunham Group in Portland. Anne Oliviero, a member of the Host Committee and former board member, chatted with Kathy Blake of Cape Elizabeth.

Board member Kris Rosado of Freeport attended with his wife, Jerre Rosado, and friends Dawn Taylor and Bob Dumais of Medfield, Massachusetts.

“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” said Kris, explaining that with the generous support of guests, the organization would raise well over $100,000. “We serve about 2,700 members a year between our five locations in South Portland, Portland and Lewiston-Auburn. It’s a great place for kids who don’t have good parental guidance or supportive role models. They can come here and be part of a family.”

Board Vice President Kathy Coster of Falmouth, who joined Frank and Susan McGinty of Cumberland, spoke about the importance of raising money for the organization. “We have growing demand,” Coster said. “We’ve served over 80,000 light meals to the kids in the last year alone.”

Amid the jovial atmosphere, the importance of such a safe haven for young kids is not lost on anyone.

“The meal we serve here may be their last one of the day,” explained board member Dick Sturgeon, who attended with his wife, Barbara Sturgeon. “We know every year our numbers are growing and we need the capacity to serve more kids.”

Patrick Abedi of Portland, who attended with his fiance, Sydney Williams, the volunteer and program coordinator at the Riverton Park Clubhouse, summed up the evening nicely.

“It’s important, the way they take care of kids,” he said with a smile. “There is an old African saying: it takes two people to make a baby, one to carry it, and a whole village to raise that child. This is the village.”

For more information about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine, please visit www.bgcmaine.org.

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

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