For immediate release
(Westbrook) – My Place Teen Center of Westbrook took a moment to thank those who helped keep over five hundred kids in greater Portland safe, inspired, learning and fed this year at its annual Fund-A-Kid gala celebration last week.
At the same time, it raised tens of thousands more to help fund its work keeping at-risk teens off the street and building productive lives. It costs MPTC $960 per year to serve each child and, like all non-profits, MPTC needs individual donations, corporate sponsorships, help from local non-governmental organizations, and grants by philanthropic foundations to succeed.
All three – individuals, companies and private philanthropies — helped the agency have another banner year and each was publicly recognized and thanked by MPTC executive director Donna Dwyer. About 150 people attended the gala, which took place at the Teen Center. The event’s high point was the live auction which, in addition to giving attendees the chance to bid on a few high-ticket items, also offered the opportunity to fund the specific child whose story has the greatest resonance with him or her. In addition to grants and major gifts, the event raised over $17,000.
Rudy DiPietro, Hannaford Vice President of Retail Operations, a member of the Hannaford Foundation’s giving committee and a former resident of Westbrook, accepted the Corporate Partner of the Year award on behalf of the company. Hannaford gave $100,000 to MPTC in 2013 and also sends staff volunteers on its Day of Caring.
“At the age of 86,” Dwyer said of her own father, Don Pederzini, “he still puts in 15-20 hours each week at Hannaford’s in Buxton working as a grocery bagger since 2007 — not because he has to, but to give back to the community and to remain active.”
Next, Dwyer presented the Community Partner of the Year award to John Bernier of the Cornelia Warren Community Association (CWCA). CWCA matched both Hannaford’s grant and another sizeable one from IDEXX, one of its major sponsors along with Bath Savings Institution and Disability RMS.
And finally, Larry Caruso, owner of Senior Protective Administration, was presented with MPTC’s Volunteer of the Year Award. In addition to donating his time as an MPTC board member, cook, construction worker, he even volunteers as Santa Claus, turning down some paid, professional appearances as jolly old Saint Nick in order to spend more time the kids at MPTC.
Each year, My Place Teen Center (MPTC) provides each child with access to 1,300 hours of year-round programming and 260 hot, healthy meals. All services and meals are provided in a safe, nurturing and educational environment at no cost to children and their families.
Dwyer also thanked Mary and Richie Axelsen for a check for $11,500, presented by the pair from a charity golf tournament they hosted last month, and the Aetna Foundation for a $25,000 grant for MPTC’s “Healthy Foods, Healthy Bodies” initiative in 2015. The Aetna Foundation is a national foundation based in Hartford, Conn., that supports projects to promote wellness, health and access to high quality health care for everyone.
About My Place Teen Center
MPTC is a year-round, free, after-school program for children between the ages of 10-18. Specializing in homeless, food insecure, cognitively-delayed, low-income, immigrant, and refugee teens and pre-teens, MPTC offers a multi-purpose, academically enriching, hunger-relieving youth development program that has been a focal point for greater Portland and York county kids since its inception in 1998. Over 500 kids were served by MPTC’s diverse offerings in 2014.