Community Compass’s Board of Directors is thrilled to welcome Elaine Hewes. Elaine joins Community Compass with a lifetime of experience that will inform our mission. She was a long time early childhood teacher at Sedgwick Elementary school, and is a retired minister from Bangor Lutheran church as well as St Brendan’s church. Elaine and her husband Michael Hewes are longtime residents of Sedgwick.
In partnership with Nichols Day Camp, and with the support of the The Hatch Community Youth Fund, Community Compass’s Starfish Mentorship program pairs kids in the community with mentors to foster an enriching summer camp experience. Camp tuition is paid for through “camperships,” with 16 coming from Community Compass, and 19 from the Hatch Fund.
“We’re just so thrilled to be able to send so many kids to camp this year,” said Community Compass Director Scott Hamann. “We worked with mentors in every community in our region, and couldn’t be more proud of their work to identify kids in every town in our service area.”
Community Compass serves the towns of Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Castine, Deer Isle, Orland, Penobscot, Sedgwick, Stonington, and Surry. Each town will be represented with a Starfish Camper.
“Nichols Day Camps is proud to be collaborating alongside Community Compass and the Hatch Fund.” said River Plouffe Vogel, camp Executive Director. “The Starfish Mentorship program has allowed NDC to achieve our mission of instilling area youth with a passion for the outdoors, and to be a place where everyone can learn and grow together.”
“We truly appreciate Nichols Day Camp’s support for this initiative,” said Community Compass Board President Bob Holmberg. “The staff and board have worked overtime to help our campers register and understand what they need to prepare for camp.”
The Hatch Community Youth Fund is “a fund to honor Frank Hatch and Harold Hatch through support for youth sports and recreation.” MORE
As River Vogel said, “When community organizations work together, real and meaningful change happens.“
LEARN MORE about Nichols Day Camp.
Community Compass’s May Connected Community Forum focused on the opioid crisis: “Community Response to the Opioid Crisis.” A panel of speakers included Charlie Osborn and Roger Bergen (Opiate Free Island), Debra Matteson (Healthy Acadia), Barbara Royal (Open Door Recovery Center), Denise Black (Healthy Acadia), and Gordon Smith (Director of Opioid Response, Governor Mills Office).
As Ellsworth American reported, “Prevention is the missing piece in the fight against opiate abuse.” Notes Gordon Smith, “We wouldn’t need to put as much into treatment if we could keep our sons and daughters from trying substances when they are 9, 10, 11 years old.”
Overdose rates in Maine declined slightly last year, however we are still higher than the national and regional average with a life lost nearly every day. “An average of 900 babies in Maine each year are born addicted to opiates.” (Ellsworth American)
Gordon Smith describes his approach to the opioid crisis: “Opiate addiction should be treated like a public health issue. We need to put significant attention with lowering stigma — not just with the public but in the medical community and law enforcement.”
Blue Hill | March 26, 2019 | Community Compass held its Connected Community Forum on Affordable Housing. Speakers included housing experts and concerned volunteers from around the state, presenting a broad range of perspectives on the problem.
Keynote speaker Cullen Ryan (Executive Director, Community Housing of Maine) noted the significant unmet need throughout the state, and spoke about various challenges and opportunities Maine could pursue to address the issue.
Duane Bartlett (Executive Director, MDI & Ellsworth Housing Authority) spoke about their focus on workforce housing, noting that the cost of housing now exceeds the ability of many year round workers, including shop keepers, trades people, teachers, and law enforcement to find affordable housing. Their goal is to develop workforce housing. MDIHA is working with conservation trusts which often acquire conservation lands that include some of the developable land appropriate for workforce housing.
Rosa Moore (Board Member, Covenant Community Land Trust) talked about the use of Land Trust model to create affordable housing. CCLT owns land in Dedham, Sedgwick, Bucksport, Orland, and Franklin, which is devoted to affordable housing.
Erica Veazie (Attorney, Pine Tree Legal) talked about services they provide for clients. Much of their real estate work relates to landlord-tenant issues, particularly representing clients who are being evicted from apartments for non-payment of rent.
Tim Tunney (Bar Harbor Bank and Trust) spoke of the challenges of creating new housing units. With higher costs of building materials, it is increasingly difficult to create new housing that generates suitable return for builders. He also spoke of the interest of lenders to invest in communities and their general receptiveness to working with developers to create new housing units.
Michael Wood (Island Workforce Housing) echoed many of the housing affordability concerns that pertain to Mount Desert Island. The price of real estate has become so high that participants in the local workforce are challenged to find properties to buy or rent. The Island Workforce Housing is working on a survey of housing needs and resources with the hope of increasing the supply of affordable housing for the DIS workforce.
The Affordable Housing Forum underscored the fact that affordable housing is an issue throughout the state, not just in our region. Bipartisan legislation currently pending in Augusta would “create over 1,000 additional affordable homes over four years, doubling Maine’s current rate of production.”
Community Compass was awarded a $15,000 grant from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Castine Opportunity Fund, which recognizes the social justice work of local organizations.
This grant comes on the heels of a successful annual appeal where the organization exceeded its goal.
Grassroots community support, combined with the Opportunity Fund grant, will allow Community Compass to continue its work in the region, helping families in need access resources to lift themselves out of poverty.
Community Compass will host its second Connected Community Forum of 2019 on Tuesday March 26th from 4-6 p.m. at First Congregational Church of Blue Hill (22 Tenney Hill, Blue Hill). RSVP HERE
This month’s topic is Affordable and Workforce Housing in our region. Community Housing of Maine (CHOM) Director Cullen Ryan will deliver the keynote, followed by a panel and audience Q&A. Panelists include Duane Bartlett (MDI and Ellsworth Housing Authority), Rosa Moore (H.O.M.E.), Erica Veazey (Pine Tree Legal), Jack Frost (Bar Harbor Bank and Trust), Marla Obyrne (Island Housing Trust), Michael Wood (Deer Isle Stonington Workforce Housing). The Forum will be moderated by Community Compass board member Charles “Kim” Coit.
“Affordable housing is such an important topic,” Community Compass Executive Director Scott Hamann said, “and these panelists will help us cover a lot of ground. We’ll learn about affordable housing construction, the state’s housing voucher system, renter’s rights, housing loans, and workforce housing.”
This event is free and open to the public. Please feel free to RSVP here.
Community Compass’s 2018 annual appeal was a success, reaching its goal of $10,000 in donations. This support is vital to allow us to continue serving the needs of families on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle/Stonington region.Read More
Community Compass has hired its first Executive Director. Scott Hamann joined the organization in December of 2018, and is honored to have the opportunity to impact the lives of families and individuals in Hancock County who are struggling to make ends meet.Read More
Community Compass is happy to have been awarded a $20,000 grant from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Castine, Maine made possible through their Opportunity Fund. We were one of five non-profits receiving awards whose missions align with that of the UUCC. Our collaborator H.O.M.E. Inc was also a recipient!
Sue Mackey Andrews of The Maine Resiliency Building Network asked Community Compass to join the conversation with her on Family Corner, on WERU. Listen to what our Neighborhood Navigators have to say about poverty in our region.
We’re giving a big shout out to the local organizations and community members which provided financial support this year, many through our first Annual Appeal. THANK YOU to all those in our ten-town region who were very generous in responding to our Appeal this fall. Our community’s response and kindness allowed us to surpass our fund-raising goal for the appeal!Read More
Kristin Miale, President of Good Shepherd Food Bank, speaks plainly about poverty blamed on the poor, the importance of connecting those in need to our community and reminds us that it's our neighbors that live in poverty.
Our Parents Are Leaders program (PALs) is based on research showing healthy interaction between parent and their infant is crucial to developing social emotional skills. These skills prepare children to be successful in school and beyond. This video is an example of how parent interaction can affect infant behavior.
Parents Are Leaders, Neighborhood Navigators and Annual Meeting!
Originally published by Washington Post in April, 2017.
"Children who are born into poverty often struggle to escape it. Researchers have studied this generational snare for years, concluding that underfunded schools and overworked or absent guardians exacerbate the cycle."
"A Working Mom's Dilemma" provides insight on how Maine is failing working parents by leaving millions unspent on child care.Read More
Originally aired on PBS, November, 2012.
"FRONTLINE spent months following three young girls who are growing up against the backdrop of their families’ struggles against financial ruin. At a time when one in five American kids lives below the poverty line, Poor Kids is an is an intimate portrait of the economic crisis as it’s rarely seen, through the eyes of children." pbs.org
"KIDS COUNT is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and a premier source of data on children and families." Kids Count website
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