Members of the Aucocisco School community met and talked to the media at Oxbow Blending and Bottling in Portland on Sept. 22 after a five-mile run led by Erica Richards, parent of an Aucocisco student, to support awareness of learning disabilities.

The team will go on to run in the Maine Marathon on Oct. 3, raising funds to support Aucocisco School and Learning Center.

Of particular concern to Richards is the potential link between learning disabilities and incarceration and/or drug addiction when learning difficulties are not treated. She is grateful for the meaningful instruction and guidance that her two children have received at Aucocisco School.

“I think everyone has heard of dyslexia, but is less aware of dysgraphia or dyscalculia, and the impact these and other neurodivergent differences, for example, ADHD and autism, can have on an individual,” said Richards in a Sept. 10 news release. “This became important to me when I learned my children have learning differences and what could happen if these were not addressed meaningfully.”

According to the Learning Disabilities Association of America, “While the U.S. Census reports that one in 5 Americans (20 percent) have a disability, the Bureau of Justice found that 32 percent of federal prisoners and 40 percent of jail inmates report at least one disability.” (LDA Today, Vol.3 No.4).

Of note, ADHD often accompanies learning disabilities and is a neurodivergent diagnosis. Approximately 25 to 40 percent of adults with a substance use disorder have ADHD, suggesting that if kids were provided necessary school interventions, we could keep more people off of drugs.

“I am running to encourage people to see why this is important and how it impacts everyone even if they are not personally affected by learning differences,” Richards said in the email. “Ultimately, everyone deserves to learn despite the challenges they face. It is important to remember, these are challenges they didn’t choose. This is why places like Aucocisco are so important. Aucocisco has helped our son by meaningfully addressing his dyslexia, and honoring him as an individual, who just so happens to also have ADHD.”

South Portland Land Trust hosting trail cleanup

South Portland Land Trust will host a trail cleanup at South Branch Trail on Saturday, Sept. 25, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to celebrate National Public Lands Day. The trailhead for South Branch Trail is located on Philbrook Road near the eastern entrance to JCPenney at the Maine Mall.

South Portland Land Trust will host a trail cleanup at South Branch Trail on Saturday, Sept. 25, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Catherine Bart photo

The trail cleanup is made possible through the support from One Tree Planted, a Vermont-based organization that helps to fund reforestation efforts around the globe.

Trail work will include building new bog bridges, cutting back brush, removing invasive plants, and picking up litter that has accumulated over the summer. Volunteers are welcome to stay for the whole morning or come out for an hour to help. Those interested in helping should email Michelle Smith at [email protected] All volunteers will receive a free T-shirt and refreshments.

South Portland Land Trust celebrates National Public Lands Day each year. This annual event is the nation’s largest single-day volunteer event for public lands. For the land trust, it is an event that raises awareness of the many trails available in South Portland and offers individuals, families, and friends an opportunity to help steward important open spaces in the city. For more information, visit the Events page at

Library plans Stuffed Animal Sleepover

South Portland Public Library will host a Stuffed Animal Sleepover on Friday, Oct. 1. Guests are invited to drop off their stuffed animals. Dolls and other toys are invited as well. Preregistration is required for the program. Participants can register by calling the Children’s Room at 207-767-7660, ext. 3.

Stuffed animals can be dropped off on Friday, Oct. 1 between 2 and 4 pm. The stuffed animals, dolls, etc., will explore the library overnight. Participants are asked to provide one animal/doll/toy per child.

Pick-up time is 10;30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2. Participants are invited to an outdoor story time to wrap up the sleepover and find out what the stuffed animals were up to all night. All are welcome to attend this Saturday story time and invited to bring a stuffed animal friend if they’d like. Participation in the Stuff Animal Sleepover is not a requirement to attend story time.

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