We Make Life Better!
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Dear Friends of ACAP,

This is the time of year were we reflect on all that has happened in the past year and look ahead on what we hope will be in the year to come. Consider making a bigger impact on your community in 2020. Research shows that helping others makes us happier, more balanced, and instilling a greater sense of purpose in the everyday. There is still time to make your end of year gift and make a local impact. Your gift to ACAP helps improve the lives of our friends and neighbors as well as building a stronger community. Start your New Year off strong with a commitment to your community
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Community Cupboards are Full Because of You!
This year marked ACAP’s fourth year of participating in the St. Apollonia Dental Clinic Festival of Trees in an effort to both raise awareness of food insecurity in Aroostook County, and to collect cereal boxes to distribute to children who attend our early care and education centers, as well as stock Community Cupboards across Aroostook County. This year ACAP staff donated 577 boxes, which was matched with over 700 additional boxes graciously donated by local grocers, totaling over 1,300 boxes.

"Our Community Giving Tree is an opportunity to start a conversation about hunger and express empathy and compassion for others at a difficult time of year,” said Rackliffe. “I watched parents come by our display with their children and read the sign we placed in front of it explaining the tree's purpose and then those kids placed one or more of their valuable tickets in our bucket. Watching young children make a conscious choice to help others just warms my heart."
Program Highlight: Tobacco Use Prevention Services
Breathe Easy
The Aroostook County District Tobacco Prevention Partners, Jo-Ellen Kelley and Kara Barnes, recently visited Houlton Regional to present Gina Brown, director of nursing, and Ingrid Black, cardiac rehab manager, with the hospital’s Platinum Level Gold Star Standard of Excellence Award plaque. 
The MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence’s Breathe Easy initiative recognized Maine hospitals for their dedication to being Tobacco Free with their 2019 Gold Star Standard of Excellence Awards.
The awards recognize efforts by Maine hospitals to address tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. Thirty-three hospitals were highlighted for their achievements in advancing their organizations’ smoke and tobacco-free policies as well as promoting tobacco-free lifestyles.
All County hospitals were highlighted! Houlton Regional Hospital and Cary Medical Center were recognized at the Platinum Level and Northern Light AR Gould Hospital at the Gold Level.
Encouraging Healthier Lifestyles
­­ Aroostook County compared to the state of Maine has a high rate of second hand smoke exposure. The Maine Public Health Association (MPHA) reports that the second hand smoke exposure rate in Aroostook County is 42.6% in comparison to the state of Maine’s second hand smoke exposure rate, which is 31.1%. In an effort to combat that trend ACAP’s Tobacco Use Prevention program focuses on the prevention of the initial use of tobacco, the second hand smoke exposure in the home and workplace, the promotion of tobacco treatment available through the Maine Tobacco Helpline, tobacco education programming for young adults, and increasing the number of youth entities that adopt and implement policies prohibiting the use of all tobacco products.
ACAP’s Tobacco Prevention Partners recently partnered with the Four Season Trail Association. The Four Season Trail Association is a non-profit organization in Madawaska whose goal is to promote year-round recreation. Their recreational trails start from a lodge and branch out onto cross-country ski, mountain biking, snowshoeing and hiking trails. "I knew the day I witnessed a visitor smoking on the property with young children around that our organization needed a solution.” Said Colin Jandreau, president of the Four Seasons Trail Association. ACAP’s prevention partners worked with Mr. Jandreau to create a tobacco policy and provide signage that will be posted around the lodge and trails. The signs and tobacco free policy will help the association maintain their mission of encouraging heathier lifestyles and a greater appreciation for the natural beauty of Aroostook County. 
Volunteers Wanted
Volunteering is an important part of community life for many Americans. People volunteer for many reasons: to build confidence, to make friendships and establish support networks, to learn and develop skills, and to make a difference in the lives of people in their community.
 
Here are our top 5 reasons to volunteer:

  1. Volunteering improves the lives of others. Volunteering makes other’s lives better.
  2. Volunteering makes a community a better place. When you put in volunteer work, you make a positive impact on your community – and that makes it a better place for everyone.
  3. Volunteering can teach you new skills. Volunteering for a non-profit can teach you many different skills in a real-life setting. From leadership and data entry, to horticulture and animal husbandry, these are skills that would be difficult or expensive to learn in school.
  4. Volunteering reduces stress. Volunteering takes our minds off our own problems and instead focuses on solving other problems, like food insecurity or saving endangered species. The result is a broader perspective and lower stress levels.
  5. Volunteering can help you live longer. According to recent research, seniors who continue to volunteer in their golden years are healthier and live longer than their peers. The reason: volunteering gives us a sense of purpose – a reason to get up and out the door in the morning.

To join our volunteer network contact Sherry at slocke@acap-me.org or call 554-4130.
ACAP Board Spotlight
Evann Myhre
Meet our newest board member Evann Evann Myhre works at Northern Lignt A.R. Gould Hospital in the Health Information Management Department. She is a licensed massage therapist. Evann has one son Torfinn, who is in his second year in the Early Childhood Education combination room at ACAP Gouldville in Presque Isle. Evann is committed to representing the Policy Council and providing a parents voice on the ACAP Board of Directors.
Evann hopes to continue contributing positive change to her community through her work on the board.
2020 Census
Did you know that the federal government uses census data to allocate money for community programs and services? Each resident that is counted provides $2,000 each year for 10 years to our local community! The 2020 Census is right around the corner.

Be sure to watch your mail for your letter and help the community you live
in receive the services it needs. 

To learn more visit:  https://2020census.gov
Kick Off 2020 with Soup!
The Aroostook County Chapter of Maine Credit Unions, Aroostook County Action Program, and WAGM TV have come together to help end hunger in Aroostook County with the Souper Bowl Tackling Hunger Challenge. Kicking the new year off by collecting cans of soup to stock the shelves of Community Cupboards and Food Pantries County wide!

All Credit Union locations County wide will be accepting soup d.donations from January 2 to February 3, 2020. Monetary donations will also be accepted. One dollar equals one can of soup!
Thank You for your support!
Because of you we are making lives better here in Aroostook County!
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It's not too late to get your 2019 donation in!
Aroostook County Action Program | https://acap-me.org/