After 8 years, it’s still a center for the community

Volunteers for driving needed; new programs welcomed
Fri, 09/22/2023 - 8:30am

    On Aug. 29, Boothbay Region Community Center celebrated its eighth year as a welcoming space for area residents and visitors as it continued to provide classes, entertainment and the opportunity to serve others.   

    The service is through volunteers and programs for the community. These include transportation for those unable to drive, free durable medical equipment and reflective blue emergency signs with the homeowner’s house number. 

    The Center has offered author talks, antique appraisals, wellness classes, special events and trips and has offered up coffee and a warm welcome to combat the effects of isolation on the area’s population.

    Classes and activities are completely free and, in turn, a core group of about 20 volunteers donate their time to keep the doors open. And continuing the spirit of volunteering, groups using the Center have helped other organizations.

    The knitting group made infant caps for Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, shoes were collected and sent to third world countries, goods were provided for local animal shelters and many other charitable efforts came from the Center’s groups.

    “The volunteers are the lifeblood of the Center,” President Shawn Lewin said. “They show up and keep things going day to day. We are welcoming volunteers,” he added. “We’re always looking for someone to come spend a few hours at the Center to be a host or hostess. And if folks have a program they would like to share, we’re very open to it.”

    The Center takes a flexible approach to volunteering and those wishing to help can decide each month which days and hours they would like to stop by. “You don’t need to commit to a fixed weekly schedule,” Lucy Cressey explained. Cressey serves on the Center’s board of directors and teaches a genealogy class on Saturdays.

    Administrator Lee Corbin manages the People Helping People program which provides drivers to help people get to medical and other appointments. “The program is completely flexible. Our volunteers say they find it enjoyable and that helping other people gives them a sense of community.”

    Volunteer drivers are contacted and can decide at the time if it is convenient for them.

    Pandy Dickinson is a driver for PHP.  “I’ve enjoyed meeting the people, it’s very interesting. One woman showed me a different part of Boothbay Harbor than I knew by taking a shortcut,” Dickinson said.

    Francine Rondina, who also volunteers as a driver, recently told The Register,  “I feel good about doing a little something for people. It’s a way of paying it forward.” And Rondina said part of the fun is discovering people’s stories.

    Those wishing to volunteer as a driver should have a current license and insurance and a registered vehicle.

    In 2018, the Center started a free program that provides durable medical equipment at no charge. Today, the program has grown to include walkers, wheelchairs, and other specialty items including hospital beds which will be delivered and set up for free by Center volunteers.

    Lewin sees volunteering at the Center as an opportunity for people who are retired or have extra time and would like to meet new people. “We welcome new volunteers, and will help them identify how they would like to participate – whatever fits their schedule.”

    The Center’s annual meeting is Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m.and is open to the public. Located in the Meadow Mall, the Center is open Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information about volunteering or programs, call 633-9876.