Board Leadership Transition
We are deeply grateful for the many years of service from John Stanley as president of the agency's board of directors. John guided the agency through a dynamic and exciting time over the past few years.
At the Annual Celebration, he welcomed Linette Gamache to assume the gavel as the incoming president of the board of directors. Both shared their hopes and gratitude for much continued success for The Maine Children's Home.
Past president of the board, John Stanley
President of the board, Linette Gamache
Agency Report Card
Annual Celebration Speaker from Maine Development Foundation
We were pleased to have such a thoughtful and dynamic speaker at this year's Annual Celebration. Yellow Light Breen is the president and CEO of the Maine Development Foundation (MDF), based in Augusta, Maine. His passion is promoting economic and educational opportunity for all Mainers, regardless of geography or background.
Yellow shared a number of the critical initiatives that MDF is leading. There are many factors impacting our economy and future growth. We need to bring along all Maine citizens, which will require growing educational opportunities, encouraging life-long learning and retraining for future jobs, building up supports like those of The Maine Children's Home, recruiting skilled workers to move to Maine, and helping young people to stay in Maine and grow their careers here. It was an encouraging presentation for all.
Maine Development Foundation's President & CEO Yellow Light Breen
Annual Celebration Recognition
At this year's Annual Celebration, we honored the following people and teams for their support of The Maine Children's Home:
Retiring Board Members
Destiny is rotating off the Board of Directors after more than 12 years of service. Destiny is the director of human resources for Cianbro, Inc. of Northern New England. She's served more than three full terms, moving up through leadership, serving an extended term as president and recently serving as immediate past president. Thank you, Destiny.
Tony is rotating off the board of directors after more than eight years of service. Tony is the mill manager at SAPPI in Skowhegan. He's served as the treasurer for the board for several years. He has also been a tremendous promoter of The Maine Children's Home within SAPPI. Thank you, Tony.
The Maine Children's Home Executive Director Rick Dorian with Tony Ouellette
Volunteers of the Year
Victoria & John Veilleux
Victoria and John have given their time and talent to The Maine Children's Home on many occasions. Whether refurbishing rooms, packing Christmas boxes or offering kind words, they have become invaluable assets to the agency. They have become deeply involved through the Friends organization, and provide inspiration to others of what a volunteer should be. John had served briefly on the board of directors until he and Victoria were approved to be adoption home host providers.
Cristen Sawyer, The Maine Children's Home development associate & Christmas Program director with Victoria & John Veilleux,
Volunteers of the Year
Nancy Marshall Communications (NMC)
Twice in the past six years, the NMC team has done extra targeted outreach to local media when Christmas supplies were very low. This led to articles in the Morning Sentinel, Kennebec Journal and Portland Press Herald, and TV interviews and coverage. These efforts led to a number of significant gifts. Online donations also started coming in from all over the United States. There were 111 online donations totaling more than $15,000. The toys, clothing and books began pouring through the front door. We ended up serving 1,768 children, our biggest year ever. Big thanks to the NMC team.
Development Director Steve Mayberry with NMC Account Executive
Special Volunteer Recognition
The Low Riders XII Chapter of the Widows Sons Motorcycle Club of Maine
We were honored to have four of the leaders from the Low Riders XII Chapter of the Widows Sons Mortorcycle Club of Maine join us for the Annual Celebration. We first had a visit from this group on campus last June. They are all Masons and are involved in a number of fraternal and charitable activities, largely focused on helping children in need. Over the past several months, they have raised funds, made donations, helped with the pick-ups of donations, delivered Christmas presents around the state and been there to help every time we've asked. They have committed to help with our remodeling of the second floor of the Parks Building to add three new classrooms this spring, and are planning a 'Ride-In' with other clubs from across the state. We are deeply thankful for their service and their commitment to children.
Executive Director Rick Dorian with members of the Low Riders XII Chapter of the Widows Sons Motorcycle Club
Amy & Bruce Harrington
We could not be more pleased with the support from Amy and Bruce Harrington for organizing a very successful craft fair last November to benefit our programs. Thank you both for sharing your time and talents, and for helping us reach the community in a different way to gain valuable support. We are looking forward to this year's craft fair at T&B's Celebration Center in Waterville slated for November 4.
Amy & Bruce Harrington
Employee of the Year
These nominees were brought forward from across our campus to recognize the common themes of teamwork, diligence, customer service and commitment to the agency and mission. We recognized the following nominees: Rachel Cummings (The Children's Place), Cindy Smith (adoption unit), Pat Tobey (Turner Counseling Center), Jared Wolman (maintenance) and Angie Woodhead (adoption unit). They were identified by their peers for excellence in their work. Congratulations, all!
Cindy Smith was unanimously selected as The Maine Children's Home's Employee of the Year for 2016. Cindy has served in a variety of capacities for more than two decades and makes the work of others shine. Although her workload with the adoption unit has more than doubled over the past year, she is positive, professional and passionate about her work every day. Here's a recent note we received from one of our adopting families that speaks to her gifts:
"From the moment we met Cindy in the office she was diligent and courteous. She was clear on helping us understand the ins and outs of what would be needed by the agency for our application and process to proceed without delay. She returned calls and emails expediently. She was quick to relay information to the parties involved. She was a calming presence in the midst of insecurity and fear. (My partner) and I see Cindy as more than an administrative assistant...we saw the first welcoming glimpse of hope that the reality of our growing family was more than just a possibility. I will never forget the words she said after our first visit as we were leaving the building..."You are going to make a great mom!" At the time she did not know my family history or the hidden fears that lay in my heart, yet the assuredness in her tone calmed me and helped me to move forward with more assurance than I ever realized that I needed."
Congratulations to Cindy Smith as The Maine Children's Home's Employee of the Year for 2016!
Employee of the Year, Cindy Smith
As we reflect back on last year, we are proud to share some of The Maine Children's Home's most noteworthy accomplishments.
The adoption unit has moved from the main administrative building to the Terrace Level of the Parks Building. This created the space for new staff, enabling the team to work more closely together and expanding the adoption learning library. The total number of children welcomed into families for 2016 was 20, compared to 7 in 2015. We have nearly tripled the number of adoptions! The adoption team is currently managing 164 adoption cases and there are more than 20 home studies in process. We have added satellite social workers to help with reports and studies, and are gearing up for continued growth in the southern Maine area.
The Children's Place Early Care & Education Center
The Children's Place provides more than 1,040 kid days in a typical month with up to 53 infants, toddlers and preschoolers every day. Our classrooms are often full and we are gearing up for a significant expansion of three new classrooms on the second floor of the Parks Building. It is one of the best investments we can make for the future. We are proud that The Children's Place continues to hold the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation for excellence in its work.
The Harland Turner Counseling Center
The Turner Counseling Center has expanded significantly in the past year by adding new counselors and remodeling the office space and waiting room to better serve children and families. We continue to be well recognized for our expertise in therapy for children and play therapy. We see more than 300 children and families in a typical month.
Sharon Abrams Teen Parent School Program
We were pleased to share recent news about the $400,000 grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation in support of Sharon Abrams' Teen Parent School Program Endowment Fund. Those restricted funds will provide support each year to assist our teen parents and their children to grow and reach their goals. It is an essential partnership to support pregnant and parenting teens to complete high school, have quality childcare and other supports to prepare their futures and for their children.
Summer Camp Scholarships
Since 1967, The Maine Children's Home has conducted an annual fundraising campaign to provide camp experiences for children who could not afford to attend otherwise. The activities, friendships and positive role models children experience at camp can shape a child's character in enduring ways. This year's support helped send 120 children to one of six Maine summer camps that partner with us on the Summer Camp Scholarship Program.
The Christmas Program
Thank you to hundreds of volunteers and donors who helped ensure 1,768 children from across Maine enjoyed a very Merry Christmas. The Christmas Program is an extraordinary program that provides so much to children in need. We made some changes in distribution this year that made it more accessible and easier for families to get here for pick-ups, and that allowed for many more options for volunteers to be here to help. This labor of love is only possible due to hundreds of donors of clothes, toys, books, homemade hats & mittens and thoughtful gifts from all across the country. Dozens of clubs and businesses teamed up to make this possible again this year. We are so very grateful.
Administration & Development
It was an exciting surprise to receive a four-star rating from Charity Navigator for our commitment to good governance and responsible stewardship of our gifts.
2016 was a very successful year for the organization to grow support with overall donations totaling $545,000 and grants totaling $560,000. We are humbled and inspired by the support we have received for this vital work. With the new year, we will start all over again with the kick off of our annual fund drive, with a goal of $40,000. This support helps fill the gaps across our programs. The past year also included a number of varied gifts, including in-kind, stock, art and real estate.
- Through an unexpected gift, we were able to update nearly every computer and printer across the organization to upgrade speed and efficiency.
- We have updated servers and other tools to better support our work.
- We are investing in a new website, which is being developed by the team at Nancy Marshall Communications.
- We have also invested heavily in improvements across our campus in safety, access and efficiency.
- We have developed a Campus Use Plan that will guide the development of the campus over the next several years.
This has been a tremendous building year. We are strengthening this organization for many years to come. Thank you for being part of it. Here's to an even better 2017.
One of the beautiful baskets auctioned off at the Annual Celebration, each donated by one of The Maine Children's Home's departments.