Belfast Area Chamber honors Belfast nonprofit

Posted Sept. 30, 2010, at 11:45 a.m.

Awards always are welcome, and when that award is for work your organization has been performing for decades, on a number of fronts, it is greatly appreciated.

Broadreach Family & Community Services of Belfast recently was named nonprofit of the year by Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce, Broadreach program director Patrick Walsh informed me.

Broadreach has been working with children and families in Waldo, Knox and part of Lincoln counties since 1983.

It was recognized by the chamber for providing “a wide range of critical community services, including quality early childhood education and care, child abuse and neglect prevention, behavioral and mental health services for children and adults, after school programs for teens and tutoring for low-literacy for adults,” and opening a new mental health agency to provide additional services.

People familiar with such programs would have known Broadreach by different names through the years: Waldo County Preschool and Family Services, Midcoast Children’s Services and Youthlinks.

But when the organizations became one a few years ago, a more-inclusive name was needed and Broadreach is most appropriate, considering it now serves more than 2,000 individuals from Winterport to Waldoboro.

The private, nonprofit agency is a member of United Mid-Coast Charities and United Way of Eastern Maine and, as is true of similar organizations, needs your continued support to provide its much-needed services.

Patrick reports Broadreach’s “major fundraiser of the year” is coming right up and, for folks who enjoy dining out, it is a treat you won’t want to miss.

“Fabulous Food of the Midcoast” begins at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, at Erickson Hall at Point Lookout Conference Center in Northport.

Admission is $25, and more information is available at www.brmaine.org or by calling Patrick at 338-2200, ext. 109 or emailing pwalsh@brmaine.org.

Tickets also are available at the door.

People familiar with the tremendous variety of dining opportunities in the area will be thrilled to know their admission offers the opportunity to sample the specialties of more than 20 area vendors including: Amore Res-taurant and Lounge, Atlantica,

Awesome Diner, Belfast Coop, Cappy’s Chowder House, Delvino’s Grill & Pasta

House, Ducktrap River of Maine, Moran’s Hideaway Diner, Papa J’s & The

Lobster Bar, Penobscot Bay Inn, Point Lookout Conference Center, Ralph’s

Café, Scoops & Crepes, Silver Lane Bistro, Sweetgrass Farm Winery &

Distillery, Waterfront Restaurant and Whale’s Tooth Pub & Restaurant.

The fundraiser also includes music by Ando Anderson and a silent and live auction.

Belfast City Councilor Eric Sanders will be calling for your bids for everything from donated art, clothing and jewelry to getaway packages.

Major sponsorship is being provided by Elm Street Printing & Graphics and Damariscotta Bank and Trust. The media sponsor is VillageSoup.

Additional sponsors include FMC Biopoymer Corp., Belfast Pediatrics, Camden National Bank, MacLeod’s Furniture and Viking Inc.

The history of Broadreach is tied directly to the service of its long-time executive director, Ruth Southworth, who has been part of the program since 1986 when the budget was approximately $35,000 and its staff was small.

Ruth told me she now oversees an organization with a budget between $4 and $5 million, obtained through more than 50 sources, and a staff of 100.

Both numbers, by the way, are lower than in previous years, at the very time the need for Broadreach services is on the rise.

“The people who work at Broadreach with me are the most incredible people I have ever worked with,” Ruth said, “and for me to take credit [for its success] would be a disservice.

“I bow to their knowledge, expertise and dedication.”

She said she believes any organization is only as good as its people, and considers the staff “to be the heart and soul of Broadreach. You don’t often find that.”

She added Broadreach staff exemplifies its mission statement: “We help children and families to develop the skills they need to lead healthy and productive lives. We share our knowledge and experience with child — and family — serving organizations across the state and nation.”

Ruth reminds community members “we give, every day, everything we can, and we ask people to turn out and support us” by attending this fundraiser.

“Times are tough, she said.

“Federal and state monies are drying up, and we need their help to show us they appreciate what we do.”

Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; javerill@bangordailynews.com; 990-8288.

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