Kids First held its most successful Bloom fundraiser – usually a springtime occasion – on Nov. 15, raising $60,000 to support programs for Maine families going through separation and divorce. This first fall Bloom at Grace in Portland included a live auction, the party band Tickle and hors d’oeuvres from Big Tree Catering.

“An event like this is crucial to help us continue our programming,” said Associate Director Barbara Quinn. “We don’t turn anyone away. We offer partial and full scholarships.”

Over the past six months, Kids First has relocated its headquarters to Route 1 in Scarborough, under the leadership of a new executive director, Timothy Robbins, while taking part in a comprehensive study of the effectiveness of the agency’s work in partnership with the University of Maine at Orono.

“A review of preliminary data shows what we have believed for a long time – that the programs at the Kids First Center are making a positive impact on the families and children in Maine,” Robbins said.

“A significant percentage of my clients attend co-parenting classes to set the parties down a better co-parenting path,” said family law attorney Elyse Segovias. “Kids First teaches best practices on how to communicate with your children and treat your co-parent.”

“I’m divorced,” said board chair Matthew Thornton. “And I believe that many of the challenges and traumas of divorce for both children and adults can be avoided through our great team of facilitators.”

“I send all my clients to Kids First,” said family lawyer Nancy N. Morrin. “It helps the parents who are doing it right get confirmation and those who aren’t come back with a little nugget that maybe I shouldn’t talk with the kids about my co-parent.”

The next big Kids First event is a holiday open house and opening reception for a visiting artist exhibition featuring the works of printmaker Brooke Lambert on Dec. 12, 5:30-8 p.m., at 51 Route 1, Suite S, Scarborough.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at [email protected]

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