WCSH6 Who Care Award Winner

Tonight, our dear friend, Deb Shangraw, will be honored by WCSH as the 6 Who Care Volunteer of the Year. We are so honored and proud to call her our friend.

Here is part of her nomination:

Deb is one of those rare people in a community that always makes a difference and does it in the most unassuming, humble way. And it’s not because she has lots of money or in a position of authority; it’s because she cares from the heart and is not afraid to tick people off if it means advocating for kids considered most at risk. She volunteers on many committees such as the Westbrook Taxpayer’s United, the Westbrook Historical Society, Toys for Tots, and for us. For MPTC, she is a mentor to the kids, a cook, on our Advisory Council, chair of the newly formed The500CLUB – a long-term sustainability initiative – attends MPTC meetings, and a sponsor of six kids per year with a goal of funding 10 kids per year. She puts in at least 20 volunteer hours/week and is a passionate and fearless advocate for kids who are struggling.

I have been working in nonprofits for 20 years; Deb is a treasure. She is multi-faceted in her approach to helping. She is tireless and committed. She grew up with a father who died from alcoholism and has a grown son who is recovered addict. She knows firsthand the power of our work because it keeps kids safe, loved, fed, and shown a different path. She understands how critical MPTC is to the community. And she loves kids and will do whatever it takes to assure their well-being.

In her own words:

  1. Why do you volunteer at MPTC?

Every child deserves to feel safe, be cared for, be encouraged to pursue their dreams, be appreciated for who they are as a person, not be bullied, be respected, be held accountable for their actions and behaviors, and to be able to enjoy every moment of this most precious and vulnerable time in their lives.  MPTC fills all of these needs and more.

These kids matter.  I volunteer to help staff and the Board fulfill its commitment to these kids and to demonstrate to each and every one of them that they matter.

  1. What makes you the most happy?

A child’s smile.  There is nothing better.

  1. What surprised you the most about MPTC?

My surprise – perhaps shock is a better term – was how severe the need was, and still is, to provide even basic needs like warmth and comfort and a hot meal in the evening.  I cried all the way home the first night I volunteered.

  1. What would you tell your younger self?

I would tell myself to speak up and not let anyone hurt me.

I would tell myself wake up, girl, and show an infinite amount of respect and admiration for my mother’s strength and Herculean efforts. She kept five children healthy and warm and loved, when my dad was overseas and on active duty while serving in the Marine Corps, and then later, when he was sick.  All while working – sometimes 16 hour days.  I never fully appreciated just how much until I was older.

  1. Final thoughts about MPTC?

More than ever, with single parents or even two parents struggling to care for their children, the working poor, youth at risk, and funding cuts to social services, MPTC services are necessary.  Our numbers are growing.  We made the commitment and we must honor it.  These kids rely on us.