February 3, 2017
United Way highlights volunteerism and opiate treatment at Annual Meeting
AUGUSTA – United Way of Kennebec Valley (UWKV) welcomed more than 130 attendees at its Annual Meeting, which addressed opiate treatment and recognized community volunteers and board leaders on Thursday.
Deidrah Stanchfield, program director of the Augusta Community Warming Center, presented Judy Colomy, Anthony Fratus and Michael Strickler with the Norm Temple Award, which recognizes outstanding community volunteers. Colomy, Fratus and Strickler are longtime Warming Center volunteers, enhancing the program’s daily operations, according to Stanchfield. “These people are all willing to give back to their community in a significant way, and they all work hard,” she said.
Gary Carter, Richmond Middle/High School English teacher, shared his school’s positive experience with Day of Caring, a UWKV initiative that matches student volunteers with local work projects in 18 area schools. Support from E.J. Prescott Company, G&E Roofing and other local businesses and individuals largely enabled the program to reach more than 5,200 students in Kennebec Valley last year.
When Carter invited several Richmond students to share personal accounts of Day of Caring, they emphasized the value of supporting fire and police departments, engaging with individuals in elderly care facilities, tidying school grounds and mentoring younger students in volunteerism.
“Day of Caring is such a great opportunity for our students,” said Camryn Hurley, a senior who has participated in the program for seven years. “It helps us become more well-rounded individuals, all while showing the community how great the local kids are.”
Emilie van Eeghen, chief behavioral health officer for MaineGeneral Health, provided a keynote address on the opiate crisis in Central Maine. After detailing the potential causes, effects and overall harsh realities of addiction, she stressed that all communities have a role to play in combating opiate abuse and facilitating treatment. “We must come together to make that happen,” van Eeghen said. “We can change how we respond to stigma. We can be alive to the possibility of recovery and the possibilities of our strong community.”
Craig Garofalo, vice president and senior operations officer at Kennebec Savings Bank, assumed the position of UWKV’s 2017 board chair at the meeting’s close. “United Way helped me to understand why this area is so special,” Garofalo said. “It’s not just about knowing the people in your community but knowing that everyone tries to help each other and do the right thing.”
Rev. David Gant, director of MaineGeneral’s Spiritual Care Team, was elected as board vice-chair. Maria Hays, a professor at the University of Maine at Augusta, was elected to a three-year board term. She and her husband Chuck Hays, president and CEO of MaineGeneral Health, will serve as co-chairs of the United Way Campaign in 2017.
For more information about UWKV, visit uwkv.org or contact 207-626-3400.
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