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Blue Hill Poverty Conference Draws 145 Attendees

Food, shopping, education – typical conversation topics – took on new meaning as Dr. Donna Beegle wove them into her stories of personal generational poverty and her eventual path to success.

On October 19, the third annual Healthy Peninsula Early Childhood conference, The Poverty Hurdle: In Pursuit of Goals and Dreams for Every Family, Every Child, was held at the Blue Hill Consolidated School. The conference attendees included local and regional non-profit and service organization staff, educators, medical providers, state legislators, church group members, parents, and concerned citizens – all interested in learning more about the effects of poverty on children and their families.

In addition to Dr. Beegle, ‘local experts’ Rick Traub from the Tree of Life, Megan Granger, counselor at BHCS, and Barbara Royal from Open Door Recovery, also talked about the challenges that many of our neighbors face daily to secure enough food, transportation, home educational support, and access to medical and mental health services.

Break-out sessions generated ideas on how to create awareness and debunk the myths associated with poverty. Break-out sessions generated ideas on how to create awareness and debunk the myths associated with poverty. Conference break-out sessions provided attendees the opportunity to gather around areas of interest and to discuss resources, challenges and ‘next steps’ regarding poverty on the Blue Hill peninsula. Many ideas overlapped the three groups – increase awareness of the issues, mapping and integration of current resources including volunteer efforts, increase mentoring and networking opportunities, and work together within our communities for all families.

The Blue Hill conference was one of three regional conferences with Dr. Beegle from Oct. 17-19. Healthy Peninsula, under the auspices of its Early Childhood Initiative, is already exploring further collaboration with local organizations and groups in Dover-Foxcroft and Machias to develop community trainings and mentoring opportunities for those interested in the issues of poverty.

Healthy Peninsula is partnering with Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, Eastern Maine Medical Systems, local schools, local and regional foundations, and community supporters to continue this work. For more information, call Healthy Peninsula at 374-3257.

Written by Sandra Phoenix


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