The Community Center’s First Year

By Jane B. Good, Director–

I grappled to find the right words to best describe the satisfaction and joy all the volunteers and I feel about the Community Center’s first year of operation.

A group of men play chess regularly at the Community Center.

A group of men play chess regularly at the Community Center.                                              Photo by Bob Crink

The Health and Wellness Foundation’s gift to the community was to underwrite all costs of the Community Center for the first year. Now that our first year is up, we have assessed our finances and budget for the year. We’ve decided that the Community Center is very needed and wanted and has proven to be a successful project. Not only will we be continuing on with our regular programs, we’ve rented additional space at the end of the corridor at the Meadow Mall and we are calling it The Community Center Annex. The Annex will be used for dance and exercise programs. New offerings will be Fiesta Suave Latin Dance—Line Dancing—Tai Chi for Arthritis—Yoga—Balance Class—and an individually Tailored Medical Exercise Program. We recognize the need to help our members exercise and have fun doing it.

exercise_class

The Community Center started out as, and continues to be, a social gathering place. Under no circumstances do we want anyone who lives alone in our community to not have access to the meaning of fellowship through community. Because we have so many dedicated and talented volunteers— 25 staffers and 40 instructors—we have been able to offer many stimulating classes to encourage further learning.

Some of our daily activities are Bridge, Dominos, Reminiscence, Genealogy, Mah Jong, Cribbage, Watercolor Painting, Adult Coloring Books, Jigsaw Puzzle solving, Chess, Photography, Guitar Lessons, Crafts, and Classes in Sewing, Knitting and Crochet.

knitting-at-the-community-center

To help our seniors better understand modern technology, we began with the BRES computer students coming to help set up our internet services and they also offered classes in social media. The School System donated five iPads for general use. Currently, students from the Deck House School come each week to offer one-on-one computer assistance to anyone who needs it.

community-center-discussions

By popular request, we have established several groups—People Helping People—Mental Well-being—Mid Coast Lyme Disease Support Group— The Cancer Support Group—and, most recently, we have had a request for a NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) support group, and we are looking for people who will be interested in training to be facilitators. Additionally, we play host to The Death Café, The Boothbay Writer’s group, and A Meditation Group—all of whom meet in the evening. One of our most popular programs is the weekly offering of Assistance for Veterans and their families.

Special offerings such as Antique Appraisals, Calligraphy, Needlefelting, Ukrainian Egg Painting, Maintaining long-blooming Perennial Gardens, and Memoir Writing were created as one-time classes. Special evening presentations and events have included: Identity Theft and Data Breaches, Preserving and achieving Family Documents, and Safe Storage of Drugs and Alcohol for Parents and Grandparents. The Center held its first reception and exhibit featuring a local photographer and Community Center instructor. We also participated, with other Mall businesses, in the Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Hours event. We have improved our curb appeal by setting up a trolley stop with benches and container landscaping.

We are able to keep the doors open because of the valuable gifts we receive each day from the people who use the Center, the financial support of the towns of Southport, Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor, and through several successful fundraising ventures: an In-house Boutique stocked with craft items made by members of the Center Community, the Thanksgiving Pie Sale, Christmas Basket Silent Auction, and the Valentines Day Cookie Walk.

Handmade items by Community Center classes are sold at the Boutique.

Handmade items by Community Center classes are sold at the Boutique.

Other organizations in the community have raised money for our benefit as well—the Rotarians sponsored a Kentucky Derby Party and the Lions gave a Turkey Dinner. The proceeds from both events came to the Community Center. One of our instructors gave a Jazz Concert for our benefit. The Rotary Club, the Southport Island Association, and the Boothbay Region Education Association each contributed funds to specific needs throughout the year. Recently, the Boothbay Health and Wellness Foundation has received a grant from the Lincoln County Fund of the Maine Community Foundation to start a Parent Support Group at the Community Center.

The Community Center philosophy is that one cannot always ask for help from the community without giving back. Several of the service projects we have been involved with this year are: collecting donations for the Lincoln County Animal Shelter, which included puppy and kitty pads created by our sewing group. Our Little Red Wagon is currently being filled with donations for the Boothbay Region Food Pantry. Our knitting group has made over 100 scarves for women who end up in local shelters. We have provided purses to New Hope for Women filled with necessary personal items for women fleeing domestic violence—those who leave home with only the shirt on their back. Our volunteers stuffed envelopes for the Annual Fund Drive for the Boothbay Region Ambulance Service, reaching out to 4000 residents of the region. We have made one hundred sixteen 911 reflective address signs over the past four months in an effort to help the first responders locate houses quickly in an emergency.

Items donated to the Animal Shelter by Community Center visitors

Items donated to the Animal Shelter by Community Center visitors

Received Community Improvement Award

Moving forward and not anticipating any special recognition, we were pleasantly surprised when the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce presented us with their 2016 Community Improvement Award. To say that we were overwhelmed would be an understatement! The award was accompanied by letters of recognition from Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, U.S. Senator Angus King, and U.S. Senator Susan M. Collins.

Community Center Director, Jane B. Good receiving the Community Improvement award at the Boothbay Harbor Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting in July, 2016

Community Center Director, Jane B. Good receiving the Community Improvement award at the Boothbay Harbor Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting in July, 2016

For me, one of the most meaningful things that happened this year was when one of our staffers offered to put on a full seated dinner for all of the volunteers. Margaret and I sneaked into the Community Center, set up an elegant table with table clothes, flowers and candlelight. We introduced soft music, dimmed the lights, opened both front doors to welcome and honor our very hard working volunteers. They thought they were coming to a meeting and were surprised to find that it was our first social event together. It is one thing to work hard together and quite another thing to want to socialize together. I have come to realize that we have created a wonderful supportive family and, having said that, there is simply nothing more for me to add.

Jane B. Good Director

Community Center volunteers enjoy a wonderful, surprise dinner party.

Community Center volunteers enjoy a wonderful, surprise dinner party.

 

Renewing Board Members

At the Annual Members’ Meeting of the Boothbay Region Health & Wellness Foundation, many retiring Board members put their names up for re-election to a 3-year term. They were unanimously elected. Our new Board Members are:

  Board Member Term Ends
1 Lucy Cressey 2019
2 Bob Crink 2019
3 Shawn Lewin 2017
4 Connie Machon 2017
5 Donna Morey 2017

Board Members who Renewed:

  Name  Term Ends
6 Mary Connelly  2019
7 Jane B. Good  2019
8 Alice Grant  2019
9 Jerry Homer  2019
10 Margaret Perritt  2019
11 Pam Reed  2019
12 Sandra Rumery  2019
13 Ted Schmidt  2019
14 Patty Seybold  2019

Annual Members’ Meeting August 22nd 6:30 pm

The Boothbay Region’s Health & Wellness Foundation’s fourth Annual Members’ meeting will take place at 6:30 pm on Monday, August 22nd at the Community Center. All members, supporters, and interested parties are encouraged to join. Light refreshments will be served. You’ll have an opportunity to become a member and/or to renew your membership.

On the agenda for the Annual Meeting will be the election of board members, committee assignments for 2016/2017, review of accomplishments and finances for the last 12-18 months, discussion of priorities to address unmet health & wellness needs in the region, overview of currently planned programs for the next 18 months, and approval of the 2017 preliminary budget, which includes the budgets for the expanding Community Center, the People Helping People senior support network, and some of the new programs planned for this Fall: Positive Parenting and a Tailored Medical Exercise Program.

The Community Center is located in the Meadow Mall. The annual meeting will run from 6:30 to 8 pm.

Community Center Wins Community Improvement Award!

The Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce announced that they will award  the Community Center the Community Improvement Award on June 9, 2016. 

Community Center Director, Jane B. Good receiving the Community Improvement award at the Boothbay Harbor Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting in July, 2016

Community Center Director, Jane B. Good receiving the Community Improvement award at the Boothbay Harbor Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting in July, 2016

According to the Boothbay Register,

Boothbay Region Health and Wellness Foundation’s Meadow Mall Community Center is receiving this year’s Community Improvement Award, and anyone who has walked through its doors into its homey interior can understand why. Beginning only a year ago, spurred on by the efforts of Jane Good, Margaret Perritt and Shawn Lewin, among others, the Center in the old Gardner Savings space in the Mall has transformed itself from an empty suite of rooms into a beehive of activity for our Region’s citizens. All are welcome! From games, arts and crafts and genealogy groups to classes in Tai chi, meditation, mental well-being and Lyme disease awareness, members can find a multitude of things to keep them healthy and productive. And, though its lucky benefactors are “members,” in the truest sense of the word, the Community Center charges no fees and no dues!

The Wellness Foundation’s Community Center is excited to receive this award, which is a testimony to the 30 plus volunteers who dedicate their time!

Boothbay Region Health Center News

This week’s article in the Boothbay Register, by BRHC Board Member, Liz Lussier, entitled The Boothbay Region Health Center: What it is, is featured in this week’s online edition! Please mention it to friends and neighbors. We want everyone to be well-informed about our plans for the new Health Center, and to roll up their sleeves to help us bring it into reality this year!

As the article explains, we plan to provide mental health and behavioral health services locally, as well as VERY ACCESSIBLE primary care, including walk-in primary care and after hours access. We believe that local residents and visitors should be able to access AFFORDABLE health care services on our peninsula, without having to resort to going to an Urgent Care Center or a hospital for ailments that can be handled by a nurse, nurse practitioner or local doctor.

BRHC