Tag Archives: volunteer

Vocational students build home for longtime volunteer in Presque Isle | Bangor Daily News

Vocational students build home for longtime volunteer in Presque Isle | Bangor Daily News.

Thousands of toy cars yield thousands of kid smiles | Bangor Daily News

Most people’s basements are packed full. Old family photographs, records, furniture, you name it. But Tom Christensen’s basement is full of cars. Often as many as 5,000 at a time.

The handmade wooden cars Christensen assembles in his basement workshop are donated to children in hospitals and homeless shelters, or those with parents in the military or in prison.

“It’s all about making some kids happy,” Christensen says. “There are a lot of kids in tough situations that they didn’t cause. It gives them a time to step out of their problem for a while. Some kids just need to know somebody cares about them.”

The project began in 2007 when the University of Maine professor of electrical engineering technology saw an article in Workbench magazine. It was about the ToyMakers, a Florida organization that provides free wooden toys to children in need.

Christensen founded the ToyMakers of Bangor, and at first, he spent up to an hour and a half creating each car as a custom-painted work of art.

Click here for the rest of the story by Kathleen MacFarline in the Bangor Daily News.

Images of Haiti will persist | Bangor Daily News

Images of Haiti will persist – Bangor Daily News.

Haiti or bust, Sea Hunter’s crew keeps eyes on goal

MIAMI — It’s one of those images that stick with you forever.

Ten years ago, on the first of his many seagoing voyages to Haiti, Brian Ryder looked out at the approaching port city of Les Cayes.

Off in the distance at the end of a rickety dock stood a small boy, maybe 4 years old, staring intently back at Ryder.

“He was all stove up – had bloody knees and legs and he was sparsely clothed,” recalled Ryder, a 48-year-old father of five from West Bath.

Asking around, Ryder later learned that the Haitian boy had no mother, no father, no family at all. Like a stray animal, he relied on the people who worked around the dock for his meager survival.

“It was a life-changing experience,” recalled Ryder, who now serves as chief engineer aboard the treasure-salvage ship Sea Hunter.

Late Friday night, as Ryder lay in his bunk aboard Sea Hunter wondering if the ship will ever complete its on-again, off-again relief mission to Haiti, the little boy once again forced his way through the thicket of Ryder’s worries.

“How would my kids feel if their whole family was gone and they’re in this strange place with nobody really to hold them and say, ‘Hey, it’s going to be OK. Don’t cry. Don’t be scared’?” Ryder said. “Man, I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it.”

It’s easy, in the storm of controversy now swirling around the Sea Hunter and its owner, Greg Brooks, to lose sight of what this anything-but-conventional vessel and its crew are ultimately trying to accomplish.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s column by Bill Nemitz of the Portland Press Herald.

‘Earth had turned to Jell-O’ during quake, Mainer recalls

Austin Webbert and a group of his college classmates were relaxing at a downtown restaurant in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

It was a Tuesday afternoon, the day a 7.0-magnitude earthquake turned most of the Carribbean capital into rubble, killing tens of thousands.

Webbert’s group was taking a break from the volunteer work they had undertaken in Cit Soleil, a slum on the outskirts of the Haitian capital.

“We had just left the building and gotten into our SUV when the earthquake happened,” Webbert said. “I was shocked to see the restaurant heave up and down off the ground before slumping over.”

The 22-year-old college student from Wayne was on his fourth trip to the nation of 9 million. He evacuated to the Dominican Republic late last week, then landed in Miami on Saturday.

Click here to read the rest of “‘Earth had turned to Jell-O’ during quake, Mainer recalls” by the Kennebec Journal’s Matthew Stone.

idealist.org – Haiti Earthquake Response

If you have the urge to help the people in Haiti, remember to protect yourself from scammers. Give money, even if it is just a little bit, but give it to an established charitable organization, such as the American Red Cross. The link below leads you to more links about charitable organizations and what to watch for to avoid scams.

idealist.org – Haiti Earthquake Response

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