About 50 supporters gathered at the Children’s Center in Augusta last night to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Center providing support to the children and families of central Maine. First incorporated as Mid State United Cerebral Palsy, Inc., the original school program was established in the basement of the Penney Memorial United Baptist Church on Water Street in Augusta.
The guest of honor at the event was Carmen Thomas, one of the students of the original school. Also, a part of the program was a moving DVD presentation by Mary Nguyen, the daughter of the founder of the school, Priscilla Bryant Chavarie, and the first student of the original school.
The evening opened with guests enjoying hors d’oeuvres (provided by Maple Hill Farm) as they socialized and reminisced, reading the history of the Center that was set up as a timeline down the hallway, and participating in interactive displays set up in the classrooms and therapy rooms. Music, provided by Ed Desjardins, drifted down the hall as guests toured the Center.
In addition to the special DVD presentation by Mary Nguyen, other speakers for the evening were Kaye Flanagan, Chairman of the Capital Campaign in the early 2000s, who spoke to the shift in societal perspective over the years around children with special needs, the financial state of the Center at the beginning of her involvement on the Board, and the incredible amount of community support that not only saved the Center but allowed it to expand its building and programs to better serve the children and families who needed it.
Roger Katz spoke of his involvement with the Center, and how he often holds the Children’s Center up as an example of how an organization can provide services in a fiscally responsible manner, and the incredible impact those services provide in the community.
Guests were then deeply moved by the heartfelt words of a grandparent, Cindy Lavallee. Mrs. Lavallee shared the story of her grandson whom she said had been helped tremendously by attending the Children’s Center. The boy’s life was forever changed by the skills and independence that he acquired while there. Now 13, the young man is an accomplished Special Olympian, attending school with his peers, and experiencing success.
In the words of his grandmother, “He never would have been able to do any of these things he’s done, without the Children’s Center.”
Thanks to all in attendance for your continued support.
The crowning treat of the evening was a beautiful 45th Anniversary cake provided by Cakes by Jennifer, and coffee, and a bit more socializing to wrap up the event.
For the past 45 years, the Children’s Center: Early Intervention and Family Support, a private, non-profit organization, has been a valued resource for families in Central Maine, providing nurturing environments for young children with diverse abilities. The Center also offers childcare at its Augusta location, and Targeted Case Management and Rehabilitative Community Support Services in both its Augusta and Skowhegan locations.