Guests enjoy music at a Special Children’s Friends reception on Oct. 17. The event was aimed at thanking the community for its support in building an addition for new classrooms and a library. PHOTO BY JACK DODSON

Special Children’s Friends hosts thank you reception for donors

ELLSWORTH — Donors and community members gathered at Special Children’s Friends on Oct. 17 to celebrate the completion of an addition to the nonprofit’s building. The project was the focus of a two-year, $150,000 fundraising campaign.

Special Children’s Friends is a nonprofit nursery school for children with special needs. It contracts with Child Development Services and MaineCare to provide services. The program operates year-round.

The addition contains two new classrooms and bathrooms, as well as a library and “break-out” rooms, where children can work on a project individually.

The project also included a playground expansion and the addition of new fencing around the play area. Executive Director Linda Henderson said she hopes staff members will be able to install a bike path on the property.

The reception featured live jazz music while guests walked through the new space. Elizabeth Byard, who serves on the nonprofit’s board of directors and helped with the capital campaign, thanked guests for their support.

“The reason we have this reception tonight is to thank everybody for all that you did to get us here,” Byard said.

Byard said when the capital campaign started no one involved necessarily had fundraising experience. But they sought out people who could help them with the project, including development expert Jack Frost.

State Sen. Brian Langley, who represents much of Hancock County, came to speak at the event, as well. He praised the work of Henderson and Finance Director Sarah Rausch.

“It’s no surprise to me that this project has come to fruition,” he said. “What I’ve learned is that Sarah and Linda put the children first 100 percent of the time… I would not hesitate to put my children in their care.”

Langley chairs the State Senate’s Education Committee, and worked as a teacher before becoming a politician.

Special Children’s Friends will host an open house for community members Nov. 9.

Jack Dodson
Jack Dodson began working for The Ellsworth American in mid-2017, and covers eastern Hancock and western Washington counties. He grew up in the Mid-coast region before living in New York City for five years, where he freelanced in documentary filmmaking and journalism. He is particularly interested in criminal justice, environment and immigration reporting.

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