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Spotlight - June 2013

posted Jun 14, 2013, 10:58 AM by Susan Conley   [ updated Jun 14, 2013, 11:48 AM by Dawna Green ]

MSAD #51 - Our Volunteers

Make All the Difference

Living in Cumberland or North Yarmouth affords you the opportunity to make a difference in your community. The following organizations enrich our learning environment through the help of many devoted and hardworking volunteers.


The mission of the Greely PTO is to enhance the educational experience for children attending public schools in the towns of Cumberland and North Yarmouth through communication and cooperation among parents, teachers and administrators of MSAD #51.  As part of their mission to provide enrichment opportunities for students in our district, the Greely PTO offers programs that build on and enhance classroom instruction.  Those programs include the popular Poetry Jam held in April and an exciting World Culture day at Mabel I. Wilson School.

The Greely PTO raises funds to provide field trips to students in grades K-8.  Teachers and administrators work with the Greely PTO to request funds for educational and enrichment experiences outside the classroom including trips and performances at Merrill Auditorium in Portland.  Throughout the school year the Greely PTO plans and supports events to connect the families of MSAD #51, hosting everything from Kindergarten Coffee Talks for incoming parents to Family Movie Nights to a Grandparents Tea.  The PTO also coordinates parent education events on topics like underage drinking, childhood anxiety and other social concerns.  The PTO recognizes the incredible staff within MSAD #51, through appreciation events in the spring.  Whether it's a bus driver calming down a nervous kindergarten student or a teacher who finds the perfect way to connect with a child, the PTO recognizes the importance of thanking everyone who works hard to educate our students.  There are many ways to volunteer through the Greely PTO.  To find out how you can get involved, please visit www.greelypto.org.

Foundation 51 is a volunteer, non-profit organization whose mission is to promote educational excellence in MSAD #51 by funding initiatives that improve teaching and learning, and by inspiring community involvement for the benefit of our schools.  Every year Foundation 51 holds a fundraising benefit auction, and the proceeds are used to fund grants that benefit students across all grade levels. Foundation 51 holds fall and spring grant cycles, where teachers and/or community groups are encouraged to apply for funding to support additional programs.

Foundation 51 was established in 1998 by community members from Cumberland and North Yarmouth to direct private charitable resources toward the enrichment of educational opportunities for students in MSAD #51. The Foundation's initial goal was to raise $51,000 from 51 families and and the goal was surpassed by $4,000.  This was capped by a community campaign that raised an additional $17,000, confirming the desire from the community for this resource. Through the annual auction and charitable donations, Foundation 51 has continued to give back every year and has awarded over $435,000 in grants to our district, supporting every school and every grade!  To find out more about Foundation 51, or to get involved, visit www.foundation51.org.  

The Arts Alliance

Whether it’s working with the Portland Symphony Orchestra or hosting an evening of family artwork, the Arts Alliance brings both student art and music alive in MSAD #51.

Started in 2002 by a group of ten community members and two MSAD 51 music teachers, MSAD 51’s Arts Alliance is committed to celebrating and exploring the arts for the students of North Yarmouth and Cumberland. The group works to raise awareness of the arts both in the classroom and the community. In addition to working in conjunction with faculty, the Arts Alliance provides monthly MSAD #51 student art and music event information, and encourages community involvement through volunteer opportunities in the schools. The group provides two scholarships every year, one for art and one for music, to graduating seniors who will further their studies in the arts after graduation.

The goal of the Arts Alliance is to be self-sustaining financially. The main source of funding for Arts Alliance activities is their student artwork and school year event calendar sold at the start of each school year. The Arts Alliance also sometimes benefits from grants from the PTO, Foundation 51 and the Greely Fund. All Arts Alliance activities are presented to students and the community at no cost.  To find out more about the Arts Alliance, or to get involved, please visit www.msad51arts.org.

There is no break in the school year for Greely Drama. Students often begin dance practices in August, audition for Greely High School’s fall musical in early September, and perform in November. The auditions for the spring play begin in January and students put the performance on in March. The many demands of putting on a show provide opportunities for students to be involved in a variety of capacities and each show taps into the different talents of a broad base of Greely’s student body. Typically between 75 and 85 students participate in the fall musical. In addition to the actors, singers, and dancers, students are involved in building and painting sets, running the lighting and sound, creating and altering costumes, stage managing, applying stage makeup, and creating posters and cast biographies.

Greely Drama is a labor of love by the students, faculty, and parents. Without parent involvement, the group would not be able to offer students the opportunities to create and perform in two fabulous productions each year.  Boosters typically meet several times a year as a large group. Smaller committees meet as often as needed, and are directed by the committee coordinators organizing projects in specific areas. There are also many small but invaluable positions and jobs that you can help with, even if you are unable to make a commitment to a larger role.  The amount of time you contribute beyond that is up to you. We hope those who are interested in drama programs will look through the volunteer opportunities listed at www.greelydramaboosters.org.

Greely Athletics

The Greely Rangers have a strong tradition of athletic excellence.  Over 75% of our student body participates in at least one athletic team throughout the year.  The district’s education-based athletic programs place a priority on academic excellence and emphasize to the coaches that the process of teaching is more important than wins and losses. This education-based model also places a priority on cultivating student-leaders and encourages our student-athletes to be model citizens and  great teammates whose character development is more important than their athletic skill development.  The Rangers have been members of the Western Maine Conference for 18 years.  The Western Maine Conference is  comprised of 19 schools and the Rangers have been crowned Champions 77 Times.  We have won 10 State Championships in the past 2 years alone!

Parent, Teacher and Community volunteers are always welcome to support the Athletic Boosters and we are proud to say we have Booster groups for each athletic program.  The Booster volunteers work to support their team’s specific athletic needs.   For more information on how you can get involved, please visit the Athletics links under the Greely High School or Greely Middle School section of www.msad51.org.

Cumberland / North Yarmouth Lions

Since 1961 the Cumberland / North Yarmouth Lions Club has served the two communities by sponsoring Greely scholarships, sponsoring Greely delegates to Boys and Girls State, supporting the local Food Pantry, supporting and sponsoring local scout troops, making durable medical equipment available to those in need, delivering poinsettias to elderly community members during the holidays, spearheading the annual Christmas Tree lighting and Santa visit event in Cumberland Center, and providing eyeglass service.  Other recipients of the Lions Club’s generosity are the Prince Memorial Library, Meals on Wheels, Iris Network, Opportunity Farm, Camp Sunshine, Camp Susan Curtis, and the Ronald McDonald House.

In 1987 the club organized a scholarship fund aimed at granting scholarships to Greely High School seniors and graduates who are continuing their education.  This season around $12,000 will be awarded, bringing the Lions’ total scholarship contributions to almost $200,000.

    Local Lions fundraisers generate all of the club’s income. These include the Lion’s food booth at the Cumberland Fair, an annual citrus sale, a Cabin Fever dinner in March, apple pie sales (whose proceeds go to the Food Pantry ), and a food booth at Twin Brook events. The Lions count on the people of Cumberland and North Yarmouth to support these fundraisers.  For more information, or to get involved, please visit the local chapter’s webpage at www.cnylions.org.

Casco Bay Create Awareness Now

Casco Bay Create Awareness Now (Casco Bay CAN) Coalition is a group of local individuals, schools, law enforcement agencies, organizations, and businesses who work together to prevent and reduce youth substance abuse in Cumberland, Falmouth, Freeport, North Yarmouth, Pownal and Yarmouth.  The mission is to mobilize citizen involvement and multi-sector collaboration to foster a healthy community environment with norms, policies, and practices that work together to promote positive, drug and alcohol-free development for all Casco Bay youth.  Coalition members secured $125,000 annually in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to implement a Drug-Free Communities program to directly impact the communities served for the next five years.

The Coalition is different than many other organizations that address youth substance use / abuse because it partners with adults that influence our youth, providing tools and resources that adults can then use to help prevent youth substance use / abuse.  Members work to reinforce the positive messages adults can give about avoiding alcohol, marijuana and other drugs to youth. They do this by focusing on community-level changes of rules and regulations, media messaging, accessibility and providing links to community, statewide and national resources and information.  For more information or to get involved, please visit the website at www.cascobaycan.org.  

Community Food Pantry

The new Community Food Pantry that services Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Pownal, and Gray New Gloucester opened on November 1, 2012 and is open every Friday afternoon for residents of these four communities year round.  Created to better meet the growing number of hunger relief needs in our area, this new facility is located on the ground floor level at the back of the Cumberland Town Hall.  The new pantry provides an expanded inventory of perishable and non-perishable products, which are contributed by MSAD #51’s schools, local churches and other organizations, as well as many individuals.

The Community Food Pantry is in need of volunteers to support this needed program in many ways. If you are interested in learning more or would like to be included as a champion volunteer, please contact Brenda Moore at the Town Hall (829-2205) or email her at moore@cumberlandmaine.com.

Cumberland / North Yarmouth Community Education & Recreation

Summer camp is one many examples where the community, civic and religious groups and schools come together to enrich the lives of our children. Peter Bingham, Recreation Superintendent acknowledges: “We are very fortunate in our community to have so many groups willing and eager to collaborate in an effort to provide access to a fun/safe summer camp experience for every child and family within the towns of Cumberland and North Yarmouth.”  MSAD #51 is fortunate that the Cumberland Recreation Department provides a camp offering an outstanding menu of games, outdoor activities and field trips.  It is one of many examples where school personnel, faith-based groups, community members and community organizations collaborate to provide the best opportunities possible for our children.

You can find out more about the Cumberland/North Yarmouth summer camp, and all of the other amazing opportunities for our residents under the Community Education and Recreation link at www.cumberlandmaine.com.

If you would like to have your Cumberland/North Yarmouth Volunteer Group added to this informational list, please email Carrie Jowett at jowett4@gmail.com.  

Have a wonderful summer!