This was our first dictionary day of the season… we still have more kids coming to the Grange Hall and three schools to visit! We’ve given out over 2,500 dictionaries in the sixteen years we’ve been doing this and it’s still one of the most exciting and fun things we do! Yesterday’s event included eighty kids from SeDoMoCha Elementary School. What fun!
In a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy.
That’s why this year’s Fire Prevention Week (October 8 – 14) theme: “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” is so important. It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan.
Here are this year’s key campaign messages.
- Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
- Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
- Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
- Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
- Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
- Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
Fire Prevention Week was established to observe the “Great Chicago Fire,” of 1871, which killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned in excess of 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.
For more information about National Fire Prevention Week, including access to great resources for kids, families, and teachers, visit the National Fire Protection Association Web site.
Webmaster’s Note: As a “retired” volunteer firefighter, I can attest to the importance of this! October is also a good month to change smoke detector batteries and check any fire extinguishers you have in your home! If you have an older, powder-based extinguisher, remove it from the holder, turn it upside down and “bang” on the side a few times with your hand to make sure the powder remains viable and does not clump. Why not make fire prevention a lecturer’s program or an FHH report?! By the way… this is also a good time to remind everyone to make sure the number of your Grange Hall (and 911 address) is clearly marked and all members know it. It will be important information to provide the dispatcher if you ever require emergency assistance!
Bangor Grange presented Lt. Tim Cotton his Community Citizen Award at our meeting Tuesday. The following is his write-up the next day that he posted on Facebook:
“Sliding my thumb up and down the smudged and scratched glass of my Samsung phone allows a glimpse into the thoughts of my Facebook friends.
Most of my “Facebook friends” are actually my friends. Sure, there are one or two I don’t know very well, but for the most part they are my friends and I would not have added them to my motley crew if I didn’t believe we could talk for twenty minutes or so over a cup of coffee.
Today, one of my friends posted a simple statement; a question actually. “Where have all the good people gone?” I think it’s a question we all have, especially in times like these.
When the news-cycle bores it’s way into our lives like a Black and Decker hammer-drill, it is fairly easy to believe that the world has gone mad. I cannot deny that I believe the exact same thing sometimes. I certainly can’t promise you that tomorrow won’t bring us something worse than our country has experienced this week.
I can tell you that the good people are still here. On Tuesday night I met about 15 of them at the Bangor Grange Hall (#372).
Kindly, the group awarded me with a Community Service honor and plaque. I should note that I have done nothing to deserve such an honor from the Grange members. I should have been there sooner-thanking them. I am such a slacker.
Ann Staples (82 years young) organized a fundraiser for a man who was soon to die. He wanted to make sure his wife had a little something after he passed. The spaghetti dinner at their humble Grange raised over $5000 dollars in one evening. The man died on the night of the fundraiser, but he knew of it’s success before he passed.
Ann was not bragging about pulling it all together, she was telling me about it because she and her fellow Grange members were looking to do a project for our police department causes.
We talked over lasagna, homemade biscuits, beef pie, scalloped potatoes and freshly pressed Maine apple cider. Yes, I had seconds, on simple paper plates and mismatched silverware. Ann also organizes their weekly farmers market and helped local disadvantaged kids plant and care for a garden so they could have fresh vegetables. She has done this for years.
Ann was asking me what I needed while stuffing me with food to prepare me to receive MY award. Are you kidding me?
Grange Master Rolf Staples Sr. told me about the Christmas breakfast Grange #372 puts on for local kids. He told me some of the kids find the thought of a homemade breakfast with sausage, eggs, bacon, and pancakes far more appealing than the gifts they receive. He noted that some of the kids know nothing more than a Pop Tart and can of soda for typical morning nourishment. Who makes the breakfast? The ladies and gents of Grange #372, not me.
94-year old Mary Hunter knits tiny caps for premature infants. She also reminded me that she was at my wedding but that she didn’t dance.
She told me that she recalls my son has the same name as her dear departed husband and that she clearly remembers me changing my son’s name on his birth certificate two days after he was born. It’s true, I did. Purely to make his name roll off my tongue more easily. It’s a long story. Mary remembers. She is a member of Grange #372.
For years Mary and her husband visited area nursing homes with homemade crafts, provided gifts for the kids on the parade route at Hampden Children’s Day and did a myriad of other things for community causes.
There were many others. Some who had been members for a long time and one who had held leadership positions at Grange #372 since the early 1960s. He had cut some firewood that day and told me he loved the fall. I think the gentleman could have made quick work of me in an arm wrestling match, but it was his 82nd birthday so I would expect nothing less.
We stood for the Star Spangled Banner, posted Old Glory, and I was escorted to the podium for the reading of a very nice proclamation.
Each step across the sole-smoothed hardwood floor echoed the footsteps of the benevolent members who danced, wedded, and died here since 1904.
I was humbled with their kindness, uplifted by their hardscrabble homestead farm-raised ghosts. I envisioned the men and wives cleaning their nails and washing behind the kid’s ears for the Saturday night supper and dance.
Where have all the good people gone? I think they are still here.
If you have trouble finding them, put down the phone, lay off the rants, turn off the television, and become one of them. If you need to find an example of such goodness, check your local Grange Hall.
Keep your hands to yourself, leave other people’s things alone, and be kind to one another.
We will be here.”
Webmaster Note: “TC” maintains a Facebook Page for the Bangor Maine Police Department with that has “gone viral” and has thousands of followers around the country. You can read TC’s original post on Facebook.
Community Service Corner
It has been another great year of service for Community Service and I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has supported community service in one way or another. It was great to see the Community Service Books and Family, Health & Hearing Contest Sheets roll in again this year. It is greatly appreciated to see all the projects that are being done across our great state of Maine. Let’s all start thinking about how we can get out there in the upcoming year and do some awesome things for our community. The best advertisement is word of mouth. I look forward to seeing everyone at State Session this year.
Family, Health & Hearing
Just a few items to remember for October. It is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Oct 1 – 7 is Mental Illness Awareness Week, & October 10 is World Mental Health Day. Invite some individuals into your Grange to talk about these items.* Mental Health can affect not only the individual but all those around them and sometimes because of stigmas people live in silence with Mental Health Issues. Let’s all work together to show people WE CARE!!!!!
Maine State Grange Community Service making a difference “ONE” project at a time!
*Webmaster note: For those who may not be aware, I am a NAMI Certified Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid Specialist and conduct Suicide Awareness and Prevention Training Workshops. If you would like to address these important issues at your Grange, there are some resources available on my website. If I can be of further help, please email me or give me a call at 207 343-1842.
The Maine Emergency Management Agency released the following statement to assist those who are interested in contributing to disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Harvey:
Most often, the best way you can help others during a disaster is to donate money or goods. Here are some helpful tips to make sure your generosity helps the most.
Giving cash is always the best way to help disaster recovery because of its flexibility and ability to boost the local economy’s recovery.
If you’d rather donate goods, make sure you are only donating items that have been specifically requested by an organization directly involved in the recovery effort and that you have made contact with someone at that organization who will receive the items from you.
Here are some websites that can help you determine how charitable organizations rank. Most reputable organizations will allow you to designate your donation for a specific disaster or program:
- Charity Navigator rates charities based on their financial health, accountability and transparency, and results reporting. They also list some best practices for savvy donors.
- The Better Business Bureau also rates charitable organizations and allows you to check out specific charities and donor reviews.
- GuideStar is another place to find reliable information on trusted non-profits, as well as tips on choosing the right charity to give to.
- The Federal Trade Commission offers this advice for giving wisely after a disaster.
- The Maine Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division also has excellent tips for donating to charities.
Check out our fact sheet on Volunteering in a Disaster for more information on helping out personally in disaster situations.
Last Saturday night was our beanhole dinner at the Fairview, followed by music by the lake. We served close to 100 beanhole bean enthusiasts yeast rolls, brown bread, cole slaw, blueberry cake, ham, and of course, beans and hot dogs. A Smithfield bargain at $8.00. At 6 p.m. sharp the Snow Pond Pantastics delighted all with their steel drum band music. Nothing more fun than that sound by the water. After a set of “steel” the “regulars” plus or minus, kicked it into gear and played under the lights until about 9:30, extending our 6:00-9:00 Jam Session, as the crowd demanded. Special performances by two young ladies, the first visiting with her grandparents and just nine years old and the latter, a friend and sometimes performer at our Jam, a 12-year-old singer. She sang “Happy Birthday” to our Grange Lecturer, Kevin James… just 39, again this year. At the end of the night, the Fairview Grange had benefitted by about $800.00 which keeps your local Grange open, able to stay relevant in your community, and able to maintain and improve the facility. We appreciate the support of all who attended and especially want to thank those who shopped, cooked, planned, cleaned, prepared, served, baked, lugged tables, built the stage, cut the grass, washed dishes, hauled the trash or in any other way worked to put on the event. It doesn’t happen by itself, so thanks to those Grange members! Also, we should add that it was especially nice to see some of our long time Grange members who have “been there, and done that” support the Fairview by attending. David, Marilyn, Elery, Olive (and young Mr. Bobby Corson) and any others I may have missed. I was busy in the kitchen! Big thanks, Rick “Master” Fairview Grange.
The following article appeared in today’s “Word of the Day” email from the Dictionary Project:
During 2016, the Arkansas Corrections Department and the Arkansas Literacy Councils partnered together to send dictionaries to fourteen prisons in the area. Heather Powell, the Training Director at the Arkansas Literacy Councils, reached out to share their story with us.
“Last year we [the Arkansas Literacy Councils] piloted a joint program with ADC to train literacy and ESL tutors within the prisons. To date, we have trained over 200 literate inmates as tutors. The tutors work with other inmates who have low or no literacy skills, tutoring from the Laubach Way to Reading/English programs. These student dictionaries are just the right level for introducing students in how to use a dictionary.”
Often times, we at the Dictionary Project are asked by organizations what they should do with dictionaries that are left over after their distributions are complete. We would ask you to please consider donating them to prisons in your area. Statistics show that literacy rates in the American prison system are at only 40% for adult inmates, and 15% for juveniles (literacyprojectfoundation.org). A vital skill that many of us take for granted, the ability to read could greatly impact the lives of inmates who would otherwise not have access to the basic level of education that every human being should have.
Thank you, Heather Powell at the Arkansas Literacy Councils for this story.
As a big fan of the Dictionary Project, this is interesting on several points. First, the question about left over dictionaries may include something that can easily be overlooked. In our Valley Grange Program, we have learned there is one hazard with keeping leftover dictionaries and mixing them with new ones the following year. Some teachers have the students keep their dictionaries at school for use in the classroom–both to learn dictionary skills and to use as a resource. If there is a change in the dictionary, mixing last year’s edition with this year’s can create confusion. This is easy to manage as long as you aware and pay attention to edition numbers. But it is possible to have “left over” dictionaries even though you are repeating the program every year.
Second, there are additional community service opportunities where we, as Granges and Grangers, can make an impact. As this article suggests, we can offer dictionaries to prisons. Most areas also have volunteer adult literacy programs. I occasionally hear the comment that the schools are already getting dictionaries from another organization. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a dictionary project–it just means it won’t be “Words for Thirds.” It’ll be words for others! Just think Literacy! (We have given our leftover dictionaries to local libraries and keep a few at the Hall to give to any children that visit.)
And it is that time of year to start thinking about your program with your schools. By providing dictionaries in the fall, kids get more use from them! In the twelve years Valley Grange has been providing dictionaries, we’ve learned a lot! You can read the history of our program and, more importantly, if you have any questions or I can help you with your program, please let me know (webmastermainestategrangeorg) !
Webmaster’s Note: The following article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter published by Paul Stearns, State Representative for District 119. Looks like some potentially good resources for a timely Lecturer’s Program or Family Health and Hearing Report!
As summer draws to a close, back-to-school season is in full effect. Remember to safely share the roads with school buses, pedestrians, and bicyclists, and provide children with the necessary knowledge to stay safe at school.
There are also bullying and suicide prevention resources available on my website. For a slightly different perspective on the issue of bullying, read Where you fly makes a difference.
Highland Lake Grange celebrated the 150th Birthday of National Grange with an open house August 13, 2017. Over 25 neighbors joined current and former Grangers to enjoy an afternoon of food, door prizes, birthday cake, tours of the Grange and a local trivia game “Duck Pond Jeopardy” with host “Monty Grange Hall.” Pennies were collected for House in the Woods and several guests left with membership applications….two applications were turned in!
Community Service Corner
Hello, Fellow Grangers! I am glad that some Community Service Books have rolled in and more are still rolling in. Let’s please try to get the 25% needed, so if you have not sent in an Activity Sheet and/or Community Service Book please do so. They can be emailed to me at christinecorlissymailcom (christinecorlissymailcom) or USPS Christine Corliss, 162 Center Road, Lebanon ME 04027. I greatly appreciate all of the hard work that each Grange and Granger puts into this program. This program would not be a success without all of you. Let’s be looking forward to the Idea Fair that will be happening in Augusta on September 16th, from 10 – 2. All Grangers and Granges are welcome to attend. If you would like more information on the subject please feel free to contact me via the above-listed information. Looking forward to seeing you all at State Session.
Family, Health & Hearing
I would also like to thank everyone who participated in the FH & H Contest again this year. If you have not already sent in your form please do so now. It can be emailed to me or USPS to me via the information listed in the Community Service Corner section. It is great to hear of so many Granges taking part in making their Grange members aware of health, family, and social items. September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, National Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month, September 7th – 12th is National Suicide Prevention Week, & September 21st is World Alzheimer’s Day. Please let your Grange members know about one or all of these items.
Maine State Grange Community Service making a difference “ONE” project at a time!