This article is taken from the newsletter of the Senior College at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center, Belfast. It is reprinted here with permission.

Highly viable and highly visible – that’s our Senior College Community Service Committee. Our members are frequently sought out for a variety of projects that benefit the community, include these:

Read Across America – a day each spring when we read in large numbers to small groups of Kindergarten through third graders in the districts’ elementary schools;

Tribute to Seniors – a one-day event that pays tribute to student-selected outstanding Waldo County seniors (this year, our own Wilma Moses was among those honored); and

The Belfast Sesquicentennial – an ongoing project in which college members are conducting research on the most important events for each decade during this period.

The fall and winter of 2005 and 2006 find us in great demand. For the past two years, several members have been involved with third and fifth grade students at the Capt. Albert Stevens School in a program called Student Aspirations Mentoring. Mentors meet once a week during the school year with two students each and serve as their “adult friends.” We work to help our “young friends” develop a sense of belonging, accomplishment, creativity, leadership and confidence. College members who are mentoring this year are Jean Cummings, Mary Frenning, Vicky Sears, Janet and Michael Weinberg and Jim Wescott. Being a caring and supportive adult to receptive elementary school students in a school whose administrators and teachers value what we do is a very satisfying experience.

Last moth (October 28-31), more than 100 Senior College members were involved in the statewide initiative Operation Keep ME (Maine) Warm, which provided weatherization services to 147 of Waldo County’s neediest families and elderly citizens. We worked as registrars, work-order assistants, and worker bees, the latter shrink wrapping windows, caulking drafts, and tacking plastic around foundations. Our warmest thanks to registrars Elaine Albright, Carol Bisbee, Francine Brown, Charles Conti, Susan Cobin, Georgene Coombs, Ben and Ann Crimaudo, Jean Cummings, Lionel and Pat Douin, Mary Frenning, Marcia Geyer, Allen Haywood, Meg Malmberg, Galen Plummer, Barbara and Roger Powers, Mary Rackmales, Dianne and Ray Smith, Sharron Walsh and Jim Wescott. Our kudos to work-site volunteers Irwin Brown, Charles Biebel, Maynard Clemons, Miles Gray, Alden Johnson, Alan Kaplan, Debbie Mitchell, Galen Plummer, Susan Sullivan, Jim Wescott and Ed Williams.

Coming Up – we need YOUR help with the annual People for People effort, a 20-year-old Waldo County all-volunteer holiday food box distribution program that last year helped more than 550 people.

UMHC Senior College members have been involved with this effort since the winter of 2001, our first year of existence. Right away this year we’re being asked to help telephone those seniors who were referred last year and update their referral sheet information. Also, we need help packing and delivering the boxes on Saturday, December 17.

Interested? Able to commit to short – or long-term community service events like these and others? If yes, please call me, Mary Frenning. Giving back to the Waldo County community is an enriching and mutually satisfying experience. But don’t take my word for it…ask any of the members listed in this article about their experiences as a Senior College volunteer.



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