Joe is happy to once again promote the Boo Bash, a Halloween fundraiser to benefit Simple Gifts. Simple Gifts is an organization that provides financial support and encouragement to patients experiencing a medical crisis, as well as their families. The organization is staffed entirely by volunteers. Joe respects and admires the work that Simple Gifts does, and is happy to spread the word about the Boo Bash, which will be held on Saturday, October 17th, from 7-11 PM, in the function room at the Italian Heritage Center at 40 Westland Ave in Portland. Find more about the organization and the event here. Joe hopes the event goes boo-tifully!
Like so many others, Joe believes too many Mainers have lost their lives to suicide. We regret the loss of each one. Joe wants to spread the word about one organization that's taking an active role in preventing these losses: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Established in 1987, the AFSP is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death. AFSP is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health by funding scientific research, educating the public about mental health and suicide prevention, advocating for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention, and supporting survivors of suicide loss and those affected by suicide.
In the era of Covid-19, as we all try to protect our mental health and cope with uncertainty, it’s more important than ever that we be there for each other and take steps to prevent suicide. You don’t have to be a mental health professional to make a difference. There are simple things we can all do to safeguard our mental health, and you don’t have to do it alone. From learning the warning signs for suicide and what to do if you are worried someone is struggling, to advocating for smart suicide prevention legislation, to having a #RealConvo about your own or others’ mental health, to bringing education programs to your community, we can all learn new ways to help each other save lives. Together, we #KeepGoing.
Joe encourages you to learn more about AFSP here.
One of Joe's favorite nonprofits in Portland has reimagined its spring fundraiser in light of these strange times we're living in. Show & Tell: A Literary Spectacular, the primary fundraiser for The Telling Room in support of their free writing programs for Maine youth, will take place on October 2nd. This heartfelt and dynamic variety show will be safely performed without an audience in the State Theatre and delivered to your home. It will feature the full original lineup: a solo musical guest appearance by Lady Lamb, storytelling by Kelly Corrigan and Phuc Tran, and readings by Telling Room Poets, all as produced and directed by Sean Mewshaw. You may enjoy the show in the comfort of your own home, either sharing the experience simultaneously with others when the video goes live, or watching at your convenience at a later time.
This year, Show & Tell coincides with the release of A New Land, a groundbreaking anthology of thirty best-ever poems written by Telling Room poets that shows us a truly brave new world where youth voices carry us forward. They ask us to consider, as a community, who we were "when we began," "where we are now," and "who we are becoming." A New Land poets Amanda Dettmann, Siri Pierce, Lulu Rasor, and Benedita Zalabantu are featured as part of the show!
Joe hopes the event is a great success and urges you to learn more here.
Having raised three children with his wife, Joe is keenly aware of the many challenges facing young parents, including the financial toll of raising a family. For new parents, there are countless expenses that add up; one of the most consistent is the need for diapers. This week is Diaper Need Awareness Week, a signature initiative of The National Diaper Bank Network. A local organization near and dear to Joe's heart, Portland's Jewish Family Services, became the first National Diaper Bank Network participant in Maine; through the purchasing power of the network, JFS is now able to access diapers and wipes for significantly less than retail price. With the support of many donors and a generous grant from the Fruhman Family Foundation, this year JFS will distribute over 50,000 diapers. Joe applauds the charitable work being done by JFS and hopes that all Portlanders are aware how this wonderful organization is helping our neighbors every single day.
Learn more about Jewish Family Services here.
If you're a Portlander and you're not familiar by now with STRIVE University, allow Joe to help. The STRIVE program of PSL Services is designed to address the many issues faced by tweens, teens, and young adults (ages 11-24) with developmental disabilities. STRIVE focuses largely on academic success, career readiness, and literary and social skills.
Today is one of STRIVE's unique fundraising events featuring Kevin, a UPS employee who has developed a great partnership with STRIVE. One of Kevin's great volunteer efforts each year is to stay up on a roof until he reaches a certain fundraising goal for STRIVE. This year, Kevin will be atop Patriot Subaru in Saco, ME. He WILL NOT come down until he reaches $35,000! Joe hopes you consider chipping in to help STRIVE reach their fundraising goal and to "help Kevin" come down from the roof!
Most Mainers are probably familiar with the United Way, but did you know just how much the United Way of Greater Portland does to serve our Southern Maine community? Joe was inspired when he visited this organization's website and learned just how tirelessly these folks work to guarantee a quality education for every child, financial stability for every family, and access to healthcare for all.
This week is the United Way of Greater Portland's 2020 Campaign Kickoff Week. With plenty of socially-distant events planned, beginning today you are invited to a week-long smorgasbord of fun, meaningful ways to engage and connect— virtual and safely distanced in support of our UNITED Greater Portland community.
Learn more about the United Way of Greater Portland here, and more about Campaign Kickoff Week here. Joe hopes it's a great success!
Joe was sorry to learn of the passing of Portland firefighter Chris Fabian, who left us last week. If you're a Portlander who depends on the services of heroes like Chris, Joe urges you to learn more about his journey here.
Joe offers his condolences to Chris's friends and family. May his memory be a blessing.
Joe loves to support any group that lends a helping hand to those who have bravely served our country, and that's exactly what Veterans Count does. An organization that sprung from Easterseals, another fantastic nonprofit, Veterans Count is a compassionate, responsive, highly-targeted care program for veterans and their families who were “falling through the cracks” as a result of service to their country.
Veterans Count has received the highest praise and support from our national and local elected officials and is viewed as a comprehensive and successful model to emulate throughout the country. As more and more service members and their families continue to struggle with the challenges of multiple deployments, the need to provide support continues to grow. That's why groups like Veterans Count are so vital to our country, and why Joe is happy to spread their message atop the city this week.
Tomorrow, August 22nd, is the annual Barnard Beats event. Get ready to rock in South Berwick at Barnyard Beats to benefit Veterans Count Maine- all while enjoying some AMAZING BBQ! The night will feature the amazing “Impersonators of Romance”, which plays a range of your favorite bands that these impersonators will make you think are really there and also karaoke! Tickets are only $20 (kids $5)and the evening will also feature a silent auction, raffle, WAGON RIDES and some delicious BBQ!