Midcoast Literacy recently held its annual meeting and celebration in Bath, recognizing 53 years of providing free literacy services in Lincoln, Sagadahoc and northern Cumberland counties. The picnic on May 21 brought together board members, staff, tutors, learners, supporters and their families to mark the organization’s accomplishments in the past year.

Jen Litchfield of Topsham, center, accepts the Outstanding Tutor award from Executive Director Daniel Burson, alongside English language learner Jeannette. Bree Candland photo

“2022 was a year of recovery and growth for our organization,” said Midcoast Literacy Executive Director Daniel Burson. “We are grateful for the incredible investments volunteers and donors have made this year, helping us to fully bring back long-time programs and adapt to meet the needs of even more learners. In 2022, we served a record of 142 children and adults with one-on-one tutoring and expect to be challenged to serve even more learners in the year ahead.”

In her remarks, board Chairperson Julie Hendrickson thanked the staff and board of directors for their renewed focus on fundraising events in the past year, and introduced three new board members: Julie Criscitiello (Brunswick), James Hughes (Bath) and Spinoza Lebouandzoka (Brunswick).

The annual celebration included awards recognizing exceptional tutors and learners for their accomplishments over the past year. The Outstanding Learner Award was given to English language learner Lazare Sonda of Brunswick, who participates through Midcoast Literacy’s Workplace Literacy partnership with Wild Oats Bakery & Café. Outstanding Read Together Learner Awards (for students in Midcoast Literacy’s program for children ages 6-14) were given to Samira Manta, Suzanne Nzeba and Monique Palaba, all of Brunswick. And the fourth annual Newton Blakesley and Cyndy Lewis Outstanding Tutor Award (named in honor of the dedicated work of former Midcoast Literacy board members) was given to Jen Litchfield of Topsham.

Rodrigue Mwenge, left, and Benedita Kakhuba from the Brunswick Welcome Center accept the Community Partner Award from Executive Director Daniel Burson. Bree Candland photo

At the event, Midcoast Literacy also recognized The Brunswick Welcome Center as their Community Partner of the Year. The Welcome Center, a joint venture of the town of Brunswick and the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine, partners with Midcoast Literacy to provide space for tutoring sessions and to host a monthly Conversation Café for English language learners.

For more information about Midcoast Literacy’s free tutoring programs for adults and children, or to learn how you can become a volunteer tutor or volunteer board member, contact admin@midcoastlit.org or call (207) 443-6384.

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