Community program

Rotary club and community program reaffirm commitment to children

Kennebunk Police Department Chief Bob MacKenzie recently announced that the Kennebunk Rotary Club and Community Strong, Character Strong, Children Strong will continue to make a difference in the lives of children.

Community Strong, Character Strong, Children Strong supports children in need across Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel. Kennebunk and the surrounding areas are no different from other communities where there are families struggling with financial insecurities. In some cases, these struggles become bigger issues later in the children’s lives.

Kennebunk Police Chief Bob MacKenzie said the Kennebunk Rotary Club and Community Strong, Character Strong, Children Strong will continue to make a difference in children’s lives. Photo by Dan King

MacKenzie and her department work on issues related to substance use disorders and the opioid epidemic. MacKenzie, who has worked in public safety for more than 40 years, has seen the consequences of substance use disorders in communities, such as the loss of life, the destruction of families, and the crime in which substance use substances was a main factor.

Often, the problems faced by MacKenzie and her team have their roots in negative childhood experiences. Experiences include neglect; physical, mental or sexual abuse; or household dysfunction, such as exposure to substance use disorders, domestic violence, divorce, or loss of a parent. Research has shown that such experiences can alter a child’s brain development and immune system, leading to an increased risk of health and social problems in adults, ranging from obesity to alcoholism, to heart disease. and lung diseases, cancer, diabetes, chronic depression, drug addiction and suicide.

Negative childhood experiences are linked to societal issues such as school dropout rates, teenage pregnancy, SUD, and incarceration.

Community Strong, Character Strong, Children Strong was established in 2018, following the annual Rotary Kennebunk Christmas Party for needy elementary school children at RSU 21. Since then, the program has served hundreds of children. children in different ways across the domain by providing positive experiences for children. These positive experiences will have a direct impact on children as they grow into their teenage and adult years, reducing their chances of negative outcomes.

Community Strong, Character Strong, Children Strong raise funds throughout the year for various projects. For example, in 2020, the program enabled 80 children whose families do not typically have the resources to fund such a program to attend recreational summer day camp in Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel. Summer Day Camp, which lasts up to eight weeks throughout the summer, provides positive experiences and continues to build and foster relationships with peers and staff, reducing the risk of outcomes negatives.

Community Strong, Character Strong, Children Strong has raised over $200,000 since 2018 which, in addition to summer day camp, hosts their annual Christmas party where items such as hats, coats, gloves , underwear and toys are provided for children and families. in need. Additionally, the program has provided back-to-school backpacks, new back-to-school clothing, the purchase of music and art supplies, and many other initiatives for children in need.

Community Strong, Character Strong, Children Strong and Kennebunk Rotary have collaborated with several non-profit organizations such as the Tommy McNamara Charitable Foundation, Above Board Charitable Organization, Community Outreach Services, Arundel Lodge, the Sand Witches and other organizations to make initiatives possible.

For more information on Community Strong, Character Strong, Children Strong, contact Lesa Angelos at 425-343-8801 or Heidi Maynard at 207-841-6043.
For more information about the Kennebunk Police Department and/or negative childhood experiences, contact MacKenzie at 207-604-1339 or [email protected]