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Martin Luther King Jr. Day Service Project Grants Awarded

December 20th, 2010

Recently the Maine Commission for Community Service challenged communities across Maine to develop volunteer service projects that unite community sectors in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Our challenge was met with an overwhelming response of 26 grant applications. We are happy to announce, the Maine Commission for Community Service, awarded 16 organizations $500 grants to implement Martin Luther King Day of Service Projects.

We encourage local citizens to contact a project in their community and take part in the Martin Luther King Day of Service. This special day of service is an important way for Maine’s people to experience the significance of service, volunteerism and collaboration amongst their neighbors. These service projects will not only impact their communities, but celebrate the legacy of Dr. King and his commitment to service, non-violence, and diversity. The following organizations were selected:

Androscoggin County

Safe Voices will be producing and distributing materials to promote access to domestic violence services in Androscoggin,Oxford, and Franklin Counties. This project also serves to promote the agency’s name change while fulfilling its mission to support and empower those affected by domestic violence and engage the community in creating social change. Volunteers will host information tables at area businesses and deliver materials to hospitals and local law enforcement. FMI Contact: Lana Whittemore, Fundraising & Volunteer Coordinator at lwhittemore@safevoices.org or 207-795-6744 x14.

Cumberland County

Goodwill of Northern New England and Community Resource Corps, AmeriCorps members, will be planning and organizing a winterization project for Aroostook County.  Members will be putting together window kits and tips on energy efficiency that they will be passing out.  Volunteers will be needed both to prepare the kits and to distribute them.  FMI Contact: Therese Fleming, AmeriCorps Volunteer at tfleming@preblestreet.org or 207-775-0026 X115 or Heather Corriea at heather.correia@goodwillnne.org.

Maine AmeriCorps Alums will partner with PROP and Hour Exchange Portland to weatherize the homes of low-income residents in the greater Portland area, disseminate educational materials for renters and landlords, and create a training video for future use. With additional help from the Community Resource Corps and other local organizations, they will mobilize teams of volunteers on Monday, January 17th to help people stay warm efficiently. Join the effort by signing up on their website: 
www.americorpsalumsme.orgFMI Contact: Caitlyn Horose, Chapter Leader, at caitlyn@americorpsalums.org or 720-298-2490.

The Portland Housing Authority and Study Centers at Riverton Park, Sagamore Village, and Kennedy Park will implement four writing workshops each in the two weeks leading up to MLK Day using writing prompts about "struggle" paired with photos taken by the youth. The project will culminate on MLK Day with an Open House in each community where students can share their stories and reflect on Dr. King's legacy. PHA will also publish and broadcast these stories in the greater Portland area to begin dismantling the invisible barriers surrounding marginalized communities. Volunteers are needed to help at all three Study Centers for the writing workshops in order to better assist students through the writing process. The inspiration for project sprang from Portland public housing youths' desire to voice concerns for and about their communities. FMI Contact: Kathy Yang, Program and Volunteer Coordinator at kyang@porthouse.org or 207-773-4753.

RSU 5 Aspirations Partnership is sponsoring a variety of projects that will take steps to decrease obesity, increase literacy, and care for children in crisis. These projects include: preparing healthy casseroles for the Freeport Food Pantry using recipes with lower fat and sodium contents and including a small recipe book of healthy meals, making scarves for the Special Olympics, and knitting blanket squares to send to Afghanistan through Giving Children Warmth.  In addition, A Freeport High School class will assemble blankets for Project Linus, Peer Leaders at Freeport Middle School will hold a week long Be Active and Be Safe campaign, students at Durham Elementary School will create friendship bracelets and poems to send to children and will record themselves reading books to share with other students. All students and community members are welcome to participate. For a list of projects, visit www.rsu5.org/aspirations . FMI Contact: Meredith Charest, Aspirations Partnership Coordinator at charestm@rsu5.org or 207-865-0928 ext 29.

University of Southern Maine in partnership with Southern Maine Community College and LearningWorks, is currently recruiting volunteers for a week-long project to take place at Reiche and East End Community Schools. Between January 10th and January 13th, students from the two colleges, as well as local high school students, students from the University of New England and AmeriCorps Alumni will implement a series of enrichment activities during the afterschool programs at Reiche and East End that will engage participants in a reflection on the definition of a role model, and empower the younger students to identify themselves as up-and-coming role models in their community. FMI Contact: Emma Perry, Mentoring Coordinator at eperry@usm.maine.edu or 207-780-4679.

Kennebec County

Hardy Girls Healthy Women and Members of the Girls' Advisory Board, a youth leadership program of Hardy Girls Healthy Women, will work with Colby College student volunteers, to provide hands-on activities designed to engage grade school children and their parents with information about nutrition and healthy eating habits.  This community service project will not only bridge generations, but it will address and work towards the reduction of childhood obesity and type II diabetes.  The program will be held at the Waterville Public Library on Saturday January 15 from 11-1 pm during the library's monthly Family Story Time event.  Volunteers are encouraged to join the fun as we make food pyramids, draw pictures of healthy choices in both snack and physical activity, enjoy some nutritious snacks, as well as learn about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. FMI Contact: Jackie Dupont, Director of Programs at jackie@hghw.org or 207-861-8131.

Knox County

The Gibbs Library of Washington will host a School Bully Prevention Project. The Bully Prevention trainer, Videographer, class teacher and a volunteer parent will help teach the Transforming the Bullying Cycle thru Expressive Arts Workshop, with the children of the Prescott Memorial Sixth grade.  The Sixth graders will then be guided to teach the rest of the younger school children what they learned.  This program focuses on Dr. King’s emphasis on inclusion, equality, tolerance, social justice and service to others.  The Town of Washington community is joining in to help teach the Prescott Elementary students how to combat a social injustice: bullying.  FMI Contact: Paulette Oboyski, Gibbs Library President at Poboyski@fairpoint.net or 207-845-3045.

The Island Institute will address the impact of home energy use and the high cost of Maine Island Living. AmeriCorps members living within year round island communities (placed through the Island Fellows Program at the Island Institute) will lead community volunteers as they build interior storm windows and install them in a local public building. The windows will help reduce energy consumption by increasing energy efficiency in the chosen building. Through the project, both members and volunteers will also learn the skills they need to teach other community members to install the windows in their own homes. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Birgitta Polson, as the workshops will take place in varying island locations. FMI Contact: Birgitta Polson, Community Energy AmeriCorps Fellow at bpolson@islandinstitute.org or 207-594-9209 X 146.

University of Maine Cooperative Extension/Pine Tree State 4-HE is collaborating with several Knox County groups including the Thomaston Monday Morning Meeting Group, the Cushing and Thomaston Historical Societies, Organizing for America, and Knox County Public Libraries to hold a food and penny drive for Knox County food pantries. Food and pennies will be collected at locations throughout Knox County during the week of January 10th. The event will culminate with a presentation about Martin Luther King Jr. and making a difference in our community's health and a community meal prepared by Union 4-H Cooking Club members and volunteers at the People's United Methodist Church in Union at noon on Monday, January 17th. Volunteers are needed to collect and tally donations and help with the community meal. FMI Contact: Ellie Libby, Extension Educator atellen.libby@maine.edu or 207-832-0343.  

Penobscot County

Bodwell Center for Service & Volunteerism is hosting MLK, Jr. Diversity Day at the Bangor Mall on January 17 from 1-5pm. The event is aimed at teaching children about diversity, the importance of community, and other teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. The children will participate in team building activities, arts & crafts, discussions, and Native American storytelling. The Bodwell Center needs volunteers to help with set-up, clean-up, registration, and interacting with the children between activities. FMI Contact: Lauren Wagner, Campus Compact AmeriCorps*VISTA
at lauren.wagner@umit.maine.edu or 207-581-1796.

Lincoln County

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in conjunction with The Lincoln Home in Damariscotta and Coastal Kids Preschool, will be hosting a Martin Luther King Jr. Day Service Project at The Lincoln Home on Friday January 14th, 2011 from 10 am to 12 pm.  Residents of The Lincoln Home will partner with young students from the Coastal Kids Preschool to make healthy and educational salad and herb gardens for the residents of The Lincoln Home to enjoy.  Volunteers are needed to help set up and administer the project from 9:30 am - 12:30 pm. FMI Contact: Emily Ellingson, MCC/AmeriCorps Environmental Educator at eellingson@mainegardens.org or 207-633-4333.

Sagadahoc County

Georgetown Central School will assemble casseroles for the patrons of the Soup Kitchen and plant seed trays that will be grown at the local school until they are ready for transplant into the greenhouse. Community members are invited to participate in all aspects of the project. FMI Contact: Debra Thibodeau, Guidance Counselor at dthibodeau@georgetown.k12.me.us or 207-371-2160.

Washington County

Women's Health Resource Library will distribute books to those that may not have access to reading material, and also include book marks in each book. The book marks will be in the form of a food label on one side and the other side will teach people how to read food labels. This will bring the community together in a unique way, by gathering people of all ages and status. The people we plan on involving range from school age kids to the RSVP Bone Builders group and everyone in between people how to read food labels. This will bring the community together in a unique way, by gathering people of all ages and status. The people we plan on involving range from school age kids to the RSVP Bone Builders group and everyone in between. FMI Contact: Sunshine Strout, Program Coordinator at sunshine.strout@whrl.org or 207-546-7677

Waldo County

The Game Loft/Spurwink Services will run the second in its series, "Issues on Trial" about the draft laws of the1960's. This examination of the War in Vietnam will address some of the issues raised by Dr. King. Local youth and adults will serve at a trial of Jonah Chandler, a fictional young man from Maine who refused to register for the draft. Audience members may serve as members of the jury or participate in a separate discussion about the era and its implications for today. Volunteers are needed to hand out materials, serve on the jury, and help with refreshments. FMI Contact: Patricia Estabrook, Program Director, at estabrook72@gmail.com or 207-338-6447.

York County

First Parish Congregational Church UCC will help those who are struggling in these hard economic times by lifting their spirits and helping them realize there are many people, right in their community that care about them and believe in them. In honor of Martin Luther King day UNE medical students will provide health screenings, others will spend the day cooking and serving food , a local hair stylist will give simple haircuts, and the First Parish will make their facilities available for showers and laundry. If you are interested in helping in anyway please contact us. FMI Contact: Kristine E. Galasyn, Director of Christian Education and Youth Ministry at kris@firstparishsaco.org or 207-283-3771.

The Maine Commission for Community Service builds capacity and sustainability in Maine's volunteer and service communities by funding programs, developing managers of volunteers and service-learning practitioners, raising awareness of sector issues, and promoting service as a strategy.  To learn more about the Maine Commission for Community Service visit our web-site at www.maineservicecommission.gov.