A record crowd of 180 attended Port Resources’ annual Stars by the Sea benefit auction at The Landing at Pine Point in Scarborough on Dec. 6, raising $32,000 to broaden the lives of Mainers with developmental and behavioral health challenges.

“This is an incredibly meaningful night,” said executive director Karen MacDonald. “People are here to support our mission and, ultimately, the people we support, to improve their lives and give them new opportunities.”

“Port Resources fills a huge need for people with autism and other intellectual disabilities,” said board member Charles Katz-Leavy. “Housing, day services, independent apartments and helping with job skills.”

“This event allows us to support our clients to do things we might not otherwise be able to help them do,” said director of operations Frances Ryan, explaining that government funding covers basic needs but not community outings, which could be anything from grabbing a cup of coffee to going to a baseball game.

Pat Garrett of Hollis talked about how her son who has cognitive and behavioral issues is served by Port Resources, living in a group home with two roommates and 24-hour staffing while enjoying a full life, including employment.

“He considers Woodfords his home,” she said. “They have been wonderful with him, and he’s usually so busy we can’t get to see him.”

Danny Lowe, a graduate of Port Resources’ Achieving Independence in Maine (AIM) program, has been a crossing guard for seven years at East End Community School in Portland.

“As long as I’m the crossing guard at North and Walnut, I can guarantee that all the children at my intersection will always be safe,” he said, showing off the key to the city presented to him by the Portland Police Department for exemplary work.

The benefit auction also highlighted three 2018 Shining Star Award recipients: Bill Oliver, the agency’s longest-serving direct support professional; Cross Insurance, the nonprofit’s insurance broker; and Cindy Trinward, a case worker with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Aging and Disability Services.

“I’m just so humbled,” Trinward said. “I really believe in giving to others and celebrating the day with them to make them see their strengths and to shine.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at:

[email protected]

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