Museum offers schools grants for Haiti relief

Posted Jan. 20, 2010, at 10:02 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Walking sticks, parades and lots of old vehicles. Those are what come to mind when most people think of the Cole Land Transportation Museum.

But the nonprofit organization also partners with Reading Recovery, the Maine Dental Association and Kids’ Consortium, and now the Cole Family Foundation is embarking on a new program that could help kids in two ways.

The Cole museum is asking 29 schools that have been the most active in bringing students to tour the museum and interview veterans to join it in raising funds to help victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

“In considering the widespread human suffering in Haiti,” Galen Cole said Wednesday, “it is our duty to inspire students to be directly involved.”

The Galen L. Cole Disaster Relief Program will offer more than two dozen schools around the state the opportunity to obtain matching grants for Haitian relief.

The program would match what each school raises, up to $2,500 per school. That’s $72,500 total. And, Cole said, if successful, the program would be expanded to include more schools.

“This will be offered to those schools whose students and teachers have participated in programs at Cole Land Transportation Museum, and are willing to create a project to raise funds or direct aid for people who are victims of the earthquake in Haiti,” he said.

Each school will fill out a grant application provided by the museum, “and we will work with each school to identify appropriate organizations to receive the funds,” Cole said.

“Since 1995, thousands of Maine students representing more than 300 schools have participated in patriotic and educational programs at the museum,” Cole said. “Central to our fundamental commitment, our foundation also provides funding and humanitarian needs.”

Just as important, he said, “for the children of this state and this nation, the door has been opened right now for kids to learn how to give.” Those who learn how to give in their youth, he said, “will give the rest of their life.”

For information on the relief program and the matching grants, call 990-3600.

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