April 10, 2017

April Is Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month

edited pinwheels 

The pinwheel serves as the national symbol for child abuse prevention.  It is a reflection of hope, health and safety – what we desire for children throughout Waldo County and Maine.

March 30, 2016

Broadreach Celebrates Week of the Young Child with Art Show Culminating with Children’s Sing-A-Long Fest on 16th


Broadreach Family & Community Services is celebrating the Week of the Young Child with a family Music Fest on Saturday, April 16th from 11 am to noon in the Abbott Room of the Belfast Free Library.  Children, their families, and the public are invited to attend this free, interactive music and sing-a-long fun.  The Music Fest will be the culmination of the  April 9 – 16 Children’s Art Show with exhibits of the Broadreach Family & Community Services’ children’s creations to be shown in the library lobby, the Abbott Room, and the Children’s Area.  Supplies needed for the event were sponsored in part by Maine Roads to Quality through the University of Southern Maine.


This is the second year of the combined Sing-A-Long Music Festival and Art Show to celebrate the The Week of the Young Child™  which is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers and families.  Broadreach offers early childhood classrooms in Belfast, Swanville, Morrill, Liberty, and Unity with children attending from across the Waldo County region.  For more information about Broadreach’s Early Childhood Education program and registration for the fall, please visit www.broadreachmaine.org.


April 16, 2014

Youthlinks Hosts Student Creative Writing Workshop in Thomaston



Youthlinks Creative Writing Students revYouthlinks Creative Writing Authors rev


Left:  Students of Oceanside West and authors pose for a group photo at the end of an all day Creative Writing Workshop.

Right:  Authors presenting at the Creative Writing Workshop are, from left, Jen Blood, Ben Odgren, Lacy Simons, and Elizabeth Hand.

Photos and article by Sarah Woodman, Youthlinks/AmeriCorps

On March 19th, forty eighth and ninth grade students of Oceanside West gathered at Watts Hall in Thomaston for a full-day Creative Writing Workshop, organized by Youthlinks of Rockland. This workshop complimented a weekly after-school creative writing club provided by Youthlinks and offered to high school students of RSU 13, from January through April of this year. The Creative Writing Workshop connected Oceanside West students to four writers of varying literary style who call the midcoast area home: Jen Blood of Cushing, Liz Hand of Belfast, Lacy Simons of Rockland, and Ben Odgren of Rockport. Students split into groups of ten and rotated through the day to spend an intensive, hour-long session with each author.

Jen Blood holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine, is a freelance journalist, professional editor, and author of the bestselling Erin Solomon mystery series.  Jen Blood led the students through the creative, multi-media process of developing dynamic characters which reflected her own process of creating characters.  Blood provided a series of questions about the character to encourage students to think deeply about creating a layered character; questions such as:  what is their favorite color, who is their best friend, what food do they love or hate, and where did they grow up? 

Elizabeth Hand is a multiple award-winning critic and author of numerous novels, comics, and short fiction for adults, teenagers, and children.  She is on the faculty of the Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing, and divides her time between Maine and London.  Liz Hand led students through an exercise in creating strong descriptive language for stories.  Using student directed words and phrases, Hand showed how an out of the ordinary descriptive word choice can create emotional, visceral, and evocative descriptions of images and objects.

Benjamin Odgren studied film in college, lives in Rockport, works at the Island Institute in Rockland, and writes screenplays in his spare time. Odgren’s session began with a screening of the introduction of the movie “Kung-Fu Panda” while students followed along with a copy of the movie’s screenplay. Odgren explained the structure of a screenplay, the language of denoting camera work and dialogue, and the importance of writing directorial narration such as setting, actor direction and blocking. Students were then given time to write and share their own film scenes.

 Lacy Simons, who holds an MFA in poetry and is the owner of Hello Hello Books in Rockland, introduced to students to a variety of literary games and exercises to inspire creativity in writing, specifically poetry. Simons had students write the thoughts, sounds, smells, sights, and emotions of a ride in a favorite car. Using this exercise, Simons encouraged students to keep a journal as a record of similar sensory memories, which are so integral in writing and so easy to forget.

The day wrapped up with time for students to bravely share the imaginative, layered, and often funny works created throughout the day in each author’s session. The intention of the workshop was to connect students with local authors, inspire and skill-build in those students with experience in creative writing, and create a new interest for students who had not expressed an affinity for writing in the past. Feedback from students and authors indicated that the workshop was a success.

Organized and hosted by Youthlinks in Rockland, the Creative Writing Workshop was generously supported by RSU 13 and Oceanside West’s student activity fund. Snacks for students and lunch for the authors was available through donations from the Rockland Hannaford and Shaw’s supermarkets. The use of Watts Hall at no-cost for this educational event was provided by the town of Thomaston.

Youthlinks is a program of Broadreach Family & Community Services, a non-profit organization that has been serving the children and families of Waldo and Knox Counties since 1983. For more information please call Youthlinks at 594-2221 or visit youthlinksonline.org.


February 24, 2014

Broadreach PreK/Early Childhood Inclusive Program Enjoy Stockton Springs Community Library Story Time

Broadreach classroom at Stockton Springs Community Library 2-2014

The Broadreach PreKindergarten/Early Childhood Inclusive Program struck a vein of pure gold when the Stockton Springs Community Library began offering its preschool participants a monthly story time.  Since December, two classrooms have ventured from the former Stockton Springs Elementary School, now home to preschoolers, to participate in the lively, interactive, and exciting story time activities.  At the conclusion of each story time craft activities are also sent with the children that they can complete back in their classroom and at home with their families.  Each child also leaves with a mini-book of the story and a participation award.   Miss Pat, a retired kindergarten and special education teacher, is joined by an enthusiastic group of fellow volunteers to provide unique, educational and fun theme-related activities.


Visiting “Mary’s Room” at the SSCL on February 12th, eighteen children and their two teachers, Ron Provencher and Amber Stanhope and Education Jeff Ryan, E.I. III from Broadreach Family & Community Services were treated to Miss Pat’s Three Little Pigs story time complete with puppets, theme-related activities and snacks.  The theme even extended to a Saturday story time telling of the “wolf’s side of the story”.  Miss Pat showed the children the many books the library had in the children’s room of the The Three Little Pigs and even shared her own hand-crafted book of the title, showing the children that they could create their own story with a picture book.  “Mary’s Room” is named in honor of Mary Staples, a retired local school teacher.  Steps leading to the room read one word at a time vertically on the risers, “Climb the stairs to Mary’s room.”  For participants needing assistance with stairs to the second floor there is a motorized lift chair in the building.


The Stockton Springs Community Library (SSCL) is one of many organizations that Broadreach Family & Community Services collaborates with to bring a broader range of programs and opportunities to those it serves.  Broadreach works collaboratively with RSU 20 to provide Prekindergarten and Early Childhood Inclusive Education Programs and Services to area children.


SSCL is unique in that it is operated completely by volunteers including those participating in the story time:  Pat Bradley, Pat Curley, Library Director, Debbie Harris, Board Vice-President, Susan Henkel, Board Secretary, Susie Kraeger, Donna Parks, and Robbie Pendleton, Board Treasurer.  In the summer the number of library volunteers increases to twenty-four as the number of library patrons  multiplies during the summer months.  The all volunteer library was founded in 2001 and is housed in the Colcord House which it shares with the Stockton Springs Historical Society.  One of the rooms, the parlor, which is preserved in its original state with period furniture is normally cordoned off and may only be viewed and not entered but at the annual Library Tea Party, the guests are invited into the parlor for a 19th century tea.


For more information about SSCL activities, including the Dr. Seuss celebration on Saturday, March 1st from 9:30 – 11:00 am call 567-4147 or go online at www.stocktonspringslibrary.org.  For more information about the programs of Broadreach Family & Community Services in Waldo and Knox counties, call 338-2200 or go online at www.broadreachmaine.org.


January 8, 2010

Literacy Volunteers

Filed under: Literacy — Sue Dirosario @ 11:20 am

Watch here for news about our work with Literacy Volunteers!