Midcoast Community Alliance Surges With Community Services Food, Summer Programming and School Supplies Pave Way for a New 21st Century Community Learning Center

BATH—During the pandemic, Midcoast Community Alliance has been busy supporting families and students in the greater Bath area, and launching a new program.


From the time Covid-19 put the state into lockdown mode and through the summer, MCA provided hot meals and groceries to MCA families, and quickly created a six-week summer program for a special coterie of students, all designed with academics and fun in mind and safe-distancing at the core. 


“We served 45 families each week,” MCA director Jamie Dorr said. “Donna Verhoeven, our Merrymeeting Homeless Youth Outreach Coordinator, prepared home-cooked meals to go, and with the help of Bath Area Backpack, Good Shepherd Food Bank, Midcoast Hunger Prevention and Merrymeeting Gleaners, we were able to provide pantry staples and fresh produce. We used monetary donations to purchase whole grain bread from Centre Street Bakery and fresh milk from Bisson’s farm, to ensure local funds stayed to support the local economy.”


MCA wound the food program down in June to make way for MCA — headquartered at the Bath Skatepark site — to become a 21st Century Community Learning Center, launching with a summer program for a curated group of 22 Bath Middle School students. Masks and social distancing became second nature, and students worked on academics, cooking, yoga, art and more.


Lawrence Kovaks, a BMS Gifted/Talented teacher, took the students biking; Micah Depper a BMS science teacher, taught orienteering; BMS teachers Jeff Bickford (math) and Tonya Pomerleau (language arts) created engaging programs in their areas of expertise; and Donna Verhoeven took the kids on nutritional and culinary adventures. BMS social worker Karen Curley was the summer program coordinator.


“The summer program at MCA was instrumental in getting BMS students back into an academic routine,” Karen Curley said. “And the program provided opportunities for socialization, which the kids had sorely missed during the quarantine. That was so important.”


Dorr said it was exciting seeing kids bloom in the program, making new friendships and trying out new things. “Seeing that they felt safe, connected and engaged was so touching,” she said.


Authorized under Title IV, the 21st CCLC program provides grant funding to support before school, after school, and summer learning programs that focus on improving the academic performance of students in pre-Kindergarten through grade 12. In addition, these programs provide a number of additional support services related to overall student health and well-being. MCA was the proud recipient of one of the program’s competitive grants.


The 21st CCLC curriculum will continue with after-school programming, available to 22 students (kept to a minimum due to social distancing restrictions). Everything from literacy to nutrition — with plenty of fun and games — will be offered. MCA will soon announce more details on the future of the program and its staffing. 


Watch for more news next month.


While these developments were under way, MCA’s Set for Success committee was raising money to buy school supplies — with the help of Big Al of Big Al’s in Woolwich —  for the roughly 600 students who are served by SFS each year in RSU1. This year, the supplies were delivered to area schools, where teachers and administrators are distributing them directly to students. 


The Skatepark, now operated by MCA as a revenue source, is still offering skating, scootering and biking time. Please consult the web site for hours which are subject to change. Due to social distancing, booking session time ahead is required.


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Contact Jamie Dorr for more information at 443-6856; Karen Curley at kcurley@rsu1.org; Lawrence Kovacs at lkovacs@rsu1.org.