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Award Winners Announced

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The Annual Meeting and Recognition Breakfast was held October 19th at the Portland Country Club.  We are pleased to announce the following award recipients:

Youth Development

Casco Bay branch recognizes Seeds of Independence
As Director for the not-for-profit organization, Seeds of Independence, Willo Wright spends a lot of time in court, standing next to teenagers who get caught up in the juvenile justice system.  Since September 1997, the Jump Start program, part of Seeds of Independence, has been diverting juvenile offenders from the traditional legal system by providing an alternative: an eight-week series of workshops which develop decision making skills.  Each student is assigned a community member as his or her partner to try and learn the skills necessary to avoid trouble in the future.  In addition, students are assigned community service hours, based on the nature of the misdemeanor, at a local organization where they learn new skills in a nurturing environment.

Greater Portland branch recognizes Blue Wave Basketball
Blue Wave is a non-profit organization that recognized a need for structured basketball programs for youth in the Portland area.  The team of Shawn Leagssey, Steve Haines and former globetrotter, Dajuan Eubanks, led the effort to make this happen.  These dads understand that in order to learn the fundamentals well, they need to make it fun.  Coaches focus on what it means to be part of a team, building player confidence and creating a positive environment for learning.  Through their commitment to the program, the Blue Wave basketball leaders have grown the Skills & Drills clinics for 3rd through 8th graders to accomodate 30+ youth every session.  Coming this fall and winter, Blue Wave will enter four travel teams into the Falmouth and Freeport Leagues and expand to include an AAU program.

Pineland branch recognizes 21 Reasons (Carol Swicker)
Building healthy community environments through a coalition of community members, organizations, law enforcement, schools, businesses, parents and youth, 21 Resons is pioneering practices to prevent underage drinking and to promote the drug-free development of youth.  Receiving the 2011 national Exemplary Award for Innovative Substance Abuse Prevention Programs, Practices, and Policies, 21 Reasons is nurturing the potential of every child and teen in Portland, Casco Bay and the Gray/New Gloucester areas by changing attitudes around substance abuse and providing tools and resources.

Youth Development Award Winners

Youth Development Award Casco Bay Y (L to R) Thomas Wright, President, Seeds of Independence, Willo Wright, Program Director, Seeds of Independence, and Scott Krouse, Casco Bay Executive Director.

Youth Development Award Winner

Kerry Salvo, Greater Portland Branch Childcare Director, and Becky Humphrey, Director of Human Resources accepting the award on behalf of 21 Reasons.

Youth Development Award Winners

Steve Haines of Blue WAve Basketball, Hildy Ginsberg, Greater Portland Branch Executive Director, and Shawn Legassey of Blue Wave Basketball.

Social Responsibility

Casco Bay branch recognizes YCAN (Yarmouth Cares About Neighbors)
Created in 2008 by concerned citizens, YCAN is run entirely by volunteers bringing together caring community members, agencies, organizations, and businesses.  YCAN assesses local resources, connects those resources with people who need them, and helps to fill the gaps.  YCAN offers many services but most importantly provides fuel assistance, connections to food support, and holiday gifts to families in need.

Catholic Charities
Since 1975, Catholic Charities Maine Refugee and Immigration Services has been the primary provider of resettlement services to refugees in Maine.  The Y recognizes their tremendous impact on our changing community and the lives they are impacting by serving as an invaluable resource for immigrants in our area.

Maggie Humphrey and Family
As members of the Pineland Branch, the staff have been inspired and moved b the Humphrey family: Maggie, James, Jack, Nicholas and Madelyn.  After her father died from cancer, Maggie chose to do something productive with her grief and entered the Dempsey Challenge.  Little did she know the inspiration she would then become for her children who have taken their mother's philanthropic attitude and created a Facebook page Coloring Out Cancer, selling their art to raise money for cancer treatment.  Shy of four years old, it is more than impressive that the Humphrey children saw the importance of raising money to benefit other people's treatment.  This entire family is giving back and supporting our neighbors and it is with high regard we recognize them.

Social Responsibility Award Winner

Arian Giantris, Director, Refugee and Immigration Services for Catholic Charities Maine, Hildy Ginsberg, and Tarlan Ahmadov, Site Supervisor.


Social Responsibility Award Winner

Joy Ahrens, Secretary YCAN Board of Directors, Kent Allen, President YCAN Board of Directors, and Scott Krause, Casco Bay Executive Director.