Kennebunkport Police Officer Nick Vasquez, Detective David Breault and Officer Jason Hafner are growing beards and wearing teal ribbons in the Blues for Bucks initiative, a fundraiser for the Child Advocacy Center of York County. Kennebunkport Police and neighboring Kennebunk Police Department are among 10 York County law enforcement agencies engaged in the program, which runs through October. Courtesy Photo/Kennebunkport Police

KENNEBUNKPORT – Three Kennebunkport police officers are wearing teal ribbons and dedicating their growing facial hair to a program called Blues for Bucks, designed as a fundraiser for the Children’s Advocacy Center of York County.

The advocacy center, located at York County Court House in Alfred, is a safe, neutral space where a child is brought following concern or allegation of sexual abuse.

Trained professionals provide specialized interviews, referrals to services, and support for children and families, according to Director Molly Louison. A program of Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine, staff work with law enforcement, the Department of Health and Human Services, the district attorney’s office, mental health providers, medical personnel, and advocates to “bring the system to the child,” with the goal of reducing trauma to children, increasing access to services, and holding more offenders accountable.

More than 1,000 children have been served by the program since it opened in 2017.

In Kennebunkport, officers Nick Vasquez and Jason Hafner and Detective David Breault are wearing ribbons and growing their beards in the Blues for Bucks fundraiser.

“Everyone here is more than happy to donate, or get the community involved,” said Breault, who noted Kennebunkport police have been involved in the fundraiser each year it has taken place.

Kennebunkport is among 10 law enforcement agencies across York County taking part in the program, which includes growing beards, sporting blue nail polish, or wearing real ribbons to support the advocacy center. Others include Kennebunk, Sanford, Wells, Ogunquit, Berwick, Buxton, South Berwick and York police departments.

Last year, participating officers raised over $5,600 for the center. This year, 10 police departments will compete to try to raise more than $10,000 in support of the center during the month of October.

Breault said in Kennebunkport, police department policy has been modified to allow officers to wear facial hair whenever they like, so they wear the teal ribbons as well.

“For that reason, the blue ribbons and, of course, sharing on social media are the best ways to get the word out,” said Breault. “People will ask about the ribbon out on the street and (that) gives the opportunity for the officer to talk about the Children’s Advocacy Center and the wonderful work they do in light of extremely difficult circumstances.”

Louison said those who want to help may donate in the name of their participating police department at https://pages.donately.com/sarssm/campaign/blues-for-bucks. Checks or money orders may be made to SARSSM, with Child Advocacy Center of York County or Blues for Bucks in the subject line, and mailed to Child Advocacy Center of York County, 45 Kennebunk Road, Alfred, ME 04002.

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