Students honor workers for service during pandemic

Students of St. John’s Catholic School recently took to the streets to spread some joy and to thank the many area businesses for their effort and energy in continuing to provide service to the community during the pandemic.
The children created paper hearts, with inspiring messages of gratitude, which they then taped on storefronts and doors in the downtown area.
Their actions, that were part of Maine Catholic Schools Week, were inspired partly by Portland’s own St. Valentine’s Bandit, who annually and anonymously, tapes hearts up all over the city. The children would have preferred to deliver the sentiments themselves but were following COVID-19 protocols.
St. John’s principal Shelly Wheeler said, “It’s great to see Maine Street and surrounding streets decorated with hearts from our students. We hope we brightened their day and let them know that St. John’s is always praying for our community.”

Historical society receives $500,000 grant
Maine Historical Society (MHS) has been awarded a $500,000 Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support management of its off-site collections.
The funds will enable MHS to install compact storage and consolidate collections storage from across four buildings at the off-site collections management center on Riverside Street that it recently developed with Portland Public Library. That facility provides climate-controlled storage space that ensures the long-term preservation of critical museum and library collections and space to care for, process, and digitize collections.
Development of the collections management center is a critical step in MHS’s strategic effort to improve its facilities, Congress Street campus, and capacity as MHS approaches its bicentennial in 2022 and prepares to serve Maine in its third century. Since taking occupancy in 2015, MHS has moved approximately 25 percent of museum and 10 percent of library collections to the facility, including material that was stored in overcrowded or environmentally poor conditions or space better suited to other activities. It has also enabled MHS to acquire and process large, historically-significant collections, including the Bangor Theological Seminary archive.
NEH grants leverage federal funds to incentivize private investment in the nation’s cultural institutions. The grant to MHS was one of 30 totaling $13.9 million awarded in this cycle.

Bank donates $20,000 to nonprofits

Camden National Bank recently celebrated volunteerism by donating more than $20,000 to 70 nonprofits where its employees volunteered in 2020.
“From organizing fundraisers, to mentoring children, participating in virtual challenges, serving as board directors, and more, our employees went above and beyond as community volunteers throughout 2020, a time of great need,” said Greg Dufour, president & CEO of Camden National Bank. “We are proud to make these special donations in support of our employees’ efforts and the organizations they are passionate about.”
Some of the nonprofits receiving donations included the Little Free Library, where relationship banker Lana Faulkner dedicates her time. The Waterville Humane Society received funding on behalf of Tyler Perkins, the bank’s assistant vice president and an information security analyst. Perkins and his wife have provided foster homes for 11 WHS dogs over the past year.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine also was a recipient on behalf of the bank’s vice president and security manager Chris Paradis, who has volunteered as a Big Brother for the past three years. Paradis said the experience has served as an eye opener for him and made him realize the importance of mentorship and giving back. “It’s pretty powerful to watch someone grow and mature and know you’re making a difference in their lives,” said Paradis.
In addition to a special donations effort in honor of 2020 employee volunteers, Camden National Bank also provided charitable support to more than 150 nonprofits throughout 2020.
To learn more about the bank’s community giving efforts, go to

Coat drive marks halfway point

The Parish of the Ascension of the Lord is halfway through a project that aims to offer a warm coats and a warm welcome to refugees in Maine.
Parishioners and community members are encouraged to donate new or gently used men’s, women’s, and children’s winter coats during the month of February at collection sites set up outside of three of the parish’s churches: St. Raphael Church at 6 Whipple Road, Kittery; St. Christopher Church at 4 Barrell Lane, York; and Our Lady of the Angels Church at 162 Agamenticus Road, South Berwick.
Contributions will be picked up daily and delivered to those in need being served by Catholic Charities Maine’s Refugee and Immigration Services, which aims to help those seeking a new life in America to become responsible and self-reliant members of the community. The program welcomes refugees upon their arrival; meets basic needs like housing, food, and clothing; arranges for language lessons; offers community, cultural, and employment orientation; assists with employment development and placement; helps with family reunification; and offers medical and mental health referrals.
The coat drive at the Parish of the Ascension of the Lord is being run by the parish’s Social Justice and Peace Commission. Donations of utensils are also being accepted during the drive and can be dropped off at the collection sites.
For more details, go to

High school announces citizenship award recipients
Wells High School seniors Nora Stevens and Jonah Potter have been selected to receive the 2021 Western Maine Conference’s Citizenship Award in recognition of their leadership, community service and contributions to their school’s educational, athletic and social environments. Stevens, a three-season athlete, has been an outstanding member of the WHS field hockey, indoor track, and lacrosse teams for the past four years and served as captain of the lacrosse team during her junior year. She is the recipient of numerous academic awards including Book Awards in English and mathematics and is a recipient of Breakfast of Champions  and Student of the Trimester recognitions. In addition to holding a rigorous academic schedule, including honors level and advanced placement classes, Stevens also has completed course work through York County Community College, the University of Southern Maine, and the University of New England.
Potter is a peer role model in volunteering and leadership, as a volunteer tutor to elementary and junior high students and in serving as vice president of the Interact Club/Community Service Program. He consistently maintains a high level of academic achievement, even pursuing subjects independently should a particular course not be offered in the school’s curriculum. He is a talented student-athlete making four-year commitments to the football, wrestling, and lacrosse programs. Potter has been a part of eight state championships during his tenure at WHS and was a student representative for the NEASC accreditation process at WHS meeting  with regional representatives of the program.

Maine Catholic Schools celebrates 100 days of in-person learning
Last week, students, faculty, and staff at many Maine Catholic schools celebrated 100 days of in-person learning during the 2020-21 academic year with some fun activities.
Students at St. James School in Biddeford dressed up as “100 year olds” to mark the occasion while St. John’s School in Brunswick offered a slew of 100-themed activities, including 100 push-ups for eighth graders and 100 masks for first graders.
At St. Dom’s in Lewiston, kindergarteners started their day with 100 seconds of running in place, while All Saints Catholic School in Bangor held special “100 math activities” and a “dress like you’re 100” day.

MaineCF awards $50,000 in grants to support LGBTQ+ projects
The Maine Community Foundation’s Equity Fund has awarded grants, totaling $50,687, to seven nonprofit organizations for projects and capacity-building work that address lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) issues and needs in Maine. Grant recipients, who received $7,500 each, include:

  • Consumers for Affordable Health Care Foundation, (Augusta) to educate LGBTQ Mainers about health insurance options in light of economic displacement from COVID-19 and assist them in finding coverage.
  • Downeast Rainbow Alliance, (Machias and Eastport) to create reliable community space for Downeast Q+ youth while supporting creation of gender-affirming spaces and LGBT2Q+ cultural competency across schools and organizations.
  • Frannie Peabody Center, (Portland) to evaluate Frannie Peabody Center’s internal practices through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens and operationalize the agency’s practices to protect and uplift BIPOC and LGBTQIA populations.
  • Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center, (Bangor) to provide direct MaineCare enrollment assistance and patient navigation services to people who are transgender and uninsured.
  • Maine Transgender Network Inc., (Portland) to ensure transgender people in all communities in Maine have access to spaces where they belong, and health care where they are affirmed.
  • Outright Lewiston/Auburn, to continue ongoing support of LGBTQ+ youth, families, and schools in western Maine.
  • Penobscot Boys and Girls Club, (Indian Island) for Welcome Home with Acceptance and Love in Aroostook County.

Equality Maine Foundation in Portland received $5,687 to develop the Safe and Supportive Schools Report Card, a resource for students, parents, and school officials to use in their work to improve school climate. The next deadline for grant applications is Sept. 15.
For more information, contact senior program officer Gloria Aponte C. at [email protected] or call 761-2440.

MaineCF offers more than 650 scholarships to students
The Maine Community Foundation offers more than 650 scholarships that support students pursuing studies in music, journalism, teaching, horticulture, technology, the arts, and many other fields. Those scholarships are available for students who attend secondary, post-secondary, and graduate schools, as well as non-traditional programs.
A complete listing of scholarships available for the upcoming school year is now online at the Maine Community Foundation website.
In 2020, the foundation awarded nearly $2.3 million in scholarships to more than 1,100 Maine students attending schools in the state, across the country, and around the world.
Adult learners can benefit from scholarship funds that help them navigate the road back to school. About 200,000 Mainers who started college never completed their degrees. MaineCF is focusing on this group as part of its goal to advance education in Maine.
MaineCF’s scholarship funds are established for a variety of reasons, from honoring a family member to carrying on the tradition of “giving back” that helped an individual through college. To establish a scholarship fund at the community foundation, contact Liz Fickett, scholarship funds manager, at [email protected]

filed under: