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16 Martin Luther King Day of Service Project Awards Announced

December 9th, 2009

STATEWIDE- The Maine Commission for Community Service announced 16 recipients of a recent award competition designed to aide organizations in developing community volunteer service projects in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.  Service projects will be held on Martin Luther King Day of Service on January 18, 2010 or the weekend prior. Each of the 16 recipients will receive $450 dollars to aide in project planning. Information on how to get involved with the project in your community can be found below and on VolunteerMaine.org.

The winners are as follows:

Washington-Narraguagus High School will focus on the necessity for young people to understand, embrace and respect diversification.  The high school library will acquire and display new books on diversification and engage students by incorporating the readings of one of the new titles with a multicultural craft activity.  Contact Brittany Ray at bray@sad37.org, 483-2747.

Washington- The Women’s Health Resource Library will offer a feed the hungry day.  Connecting with local schools to use their facilities, they will be able to provide a nutritious meal in a warm and safe environment for many people.  Volunteers will bring food to those who cannot get out that day.  Contact Sunshine Strout, sunshine.strout@whrl.org, 546-7677.

Waldo- The Game Loft will offer a program on living history that will demonstrate how the Fugitive Slave Law and the Underground Railroad affected the people of Maine.  Participants will role play a small town harboring an escaped slave in the 1850’s. Contact Patricia Estabrook, pestabrook@spurwink.org, 338-647.

York- The York School Department will partner with the MLK Service Committee, a local community volunteer committee, to host a volunteer recruitment fair and to coordinate a series of one-time service opportunities to be held on January 18.  Contact Maryann Minard,  mminard@yorkschools.org, 363-3403.

Sagadahoc/Cumberland- Family Focus program managers and children (school age program) will donate personal hygiene supply baskets to males, females, teens and children at the Tedford Shelter.  Posters and boxes will be placed in local schools for collection items.  Contact Laura Larson, laural@familyfocusme.org, 386-1662, x115.

Sagadahoc- Georgetown Central School will work with community volunteers and local youth to grow several rows of crops in their greenhouse for the local resource of food, the Bath Food Pantry, who provides food for several hundred families each week. Contact Debra Thibodeau, dthibodeau@georgetown.k12.me.us, 371-2160.

Somerset- Carrabec High School students will participate in the MLK “Beloved Communities” day, which includes a service project at the local soup kitchen and an educational workshop, both of which they will meet and work with peers from diverse backgrounds in Maine.  Contact Lisa Savage, lsavage@msad74.org, 635-2296.

Franklin- Sandy River Land Trust volunteers will serve a meal to community residents in need and distribute information on a local initiative, The Fly Rod Crosby Footpath that was named for Maine ’s first guide, Cornelia Crosby. The event will also provide Girls Talk and Teen Voice participants an opportunity to learn about a local female heroine as well as engage in community service. The University of  Maine at  Farmington ’s nationally-recognized Girls Talk/Teen Voices program pairs girls in grades 5-8 with female mentors who are either UMF students or community professionals. Contact Betsy Squibb, squibb@maine.edu , 639-3432.

Lincoln- The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens MLK Day project is for kids, families and seniors to come to the botanical garden and create small, long-lasting fresh flower arrangements that will be donated to Meals on Wheels for distribution to seniors with their meals.  Contact Maureen Heffernan, mheffernan@mainegardens.org, 633-4333.

Penobscot-Penobscot Theatre Company volunteers will read several of Zora Neale Hurston’s short stories and facilitate conversations to unpack the themes and relevance of Hurston’s works, as well as to open a public dialog relating to issues of diversity and the need for tolerance and social justice. Through this project PTC will give voice to perspectives and cultures that have been previously underrepresented within the greater Bangor community and throughout the state of Maine. Contact Marcie Bramucci, marcie@penobscottheatre.org , 947-6618.

Penobscot-Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism will work with local 3rd, 4th and 5th graders on a variety of interactive and creative activities that will make the teachings of Dr. King come alive, including small group discussions with the UMaine Change Agents.  Contact Kristen Sutherland, kristen.sutherland@umit.maine.edu, 581-1796.

Cumberland- RSU No 5 Student Aspirations Partnership volunteers from Freeport will be engaged in a number of different projects including, knitting blankets to be sent to children in Afghanistan, assembling lasagna and shepherd’s pie casseroles to be distributed by a local food pantry, and the Freeport High School Girl’s Basketball Team will run a basketball clinic for younger children. The day will begin with a community breakfast, followed by inspirational music performed by the Greater Freeport Community Chorus and a keynote address from Noel Bonham, Executive Director of the Institute for Civic Leadership. His talk will relate Dr. King's teachings to the Day of Service. Contact Meredith Charest, charestm@rsu5.org , 1-865-0928 ext 29.

Cumberland-Telling Room volunteers will lead literacy workshops for youth in three Portland Housing Authority study centers and a community center in downtown Portland on December 1, 8, and 9. These volunteers will be specially trained in how to lead literacy workshops using the life and work of MLK Jr. as inspiration for poetry and prose. The students who produce writing at these workshops will then share this writing at the NAACP’s Annual MLK Jr. Breakfast on January 18, 2010. Contact Emily Goodnow, emily@tellingroom.org , 774-6064.

Cumberland-University of Southern Maine Office of Civic Engagement and Learning Works will collaborate to respond to the needs of youth from immigrant communities by engaging them in a writing workshop which considers King’s ability to use the power of words to advocate for social justice. Each participant will produce a memoir representing tangible reflections of dialogues from the day. Organizers hope the event will increase the youths’ college aspirations. Contact David Cimato, dcimato@usm.maine.edu ,780-4209.

Cumberland- Wolfe’s Neck Farm volunteers will serve by learning to grow food in indoor containers – a gardening method that is available to almost all people, regardless of class, economic standing, or time of the year. We will serve ourselves and our families by learning how to grow food, and we will serve our larger community by donating half of the vegetables to our local food pantry. Participants will also examine food in justice by participating in a “World Lunch.” By experiencing firsthand the unequal distribution of food across the world and in our communities, we will be challenged to address hunger and poverty. Contact Liz Brownlee, lbrownlee@wolfesneckfarm.org , 865.4363.

Cumberland-Howard C. Reiche Community School fourth grade students will partner up with senior citizens at 100 State Street to establish an intergenerational reading “Senior Buddy” project, where students will read a story and do a project that represents their country and culture. Contact Sylvie Montello, montes@portlandschools.org, 874-8175.

The Martin Luther King Day of Service is an important way for Maine ’s people to experience the significance of service, volunteerism and collaboration amongst their neighbors. This funding will allow participants to create and implement service projects that will not only impact their communities, but celebrate the legacy of Dr. King and his commitment to service, non-violence, and diversity.

The Maine Commission for Community Service builds capacity and sustainability in Maine's volunteer sector by funding service programs, developing volunteer managers, raising awareness, and encouraging an ethic of service. To learn more about the Maine Commission for Community Service visit our web-site at www.maineservicecommission.gov.