HCCA Spring Newsletter
~ April 2022 ~
What's New at HCCA
HCCA Challenges YOU
to the 21-Day Racial Equity
Habit-Building Challenge
Join Healthy Communities of the Capital Area as we embark on the Food Solutions New England 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge together!
As an organization, board members and staff are committed to understanding and undoing racism in our food system. By taking the Challenge, made up of small daily email prompts delivered each morning from April 4 – 24, you can easily participate in this transformative effort at your own pace. 
Visit the FSNE Challenge website to register with your email address. Contact Nan Bell, who will be coordinating some discussions for our group during the Challenge so that we can apply what we are learning to our own work.
Nutrition and Physical Activity
What's New in SNAP-Ed?
Pictures taken while Courtney Whitney, SNAP Educator at HCCA, filmed a recipe demonstration for pineapple salsa. Check out the HCCA Facebook page for cooking and food videos and recipes!
These first few months at HCCA have been very welcoming and rewarding! I’ve been enjoying my time getting to know the HCCA team and building relationships with community partners. As I reflect on my first months here, a big highlight for me is being able to still reach people during the pandemic. I have six virtual cooking and nutrition classes scheduled and am creating online recipe demonstrations. I look forward to reaching even more people in southern Kennebec County and sharing the joy of healthy cooking! 
Cooking Matters for Kids
Fifteen Camp Chelsea teens are
participating virtually in Cooking Matters for Kids with HCCA SNAP-Educator Courtney Whitney. The goal is to teach teens about healthy eating and cooking. Thanks to Rosie Del Tejo Williamson, Life Skills Teacher, and Sarah Lavallee, FoodCorps Service Member, who reached out to Courtney to bring this program to their after school program.
Restorative Practices
with Gardiner Regional
Middle School JMG Class
HCCA's District Youth Coordinator Kevin Carter met with Samantha Robison, Gardiner Regional Middle School's Jobs for Maine's Graduates teacher, to discuss how to help her eighth grade students be better prepared for high school next year.

Together, they decided to do a training on Restorative Practices offered by Maine Youth Action Network (MYAN). Restorative Practices is a curriculum designed for middle and high school youth groups interested in creating culture change within schools or community-based organizations.

One goal of the training is for students to strengthen communication skills and identify opportunities for growing inclusive communities to direct that change. The students are about halfway through the training's seven sessions with 4.5 total hours of interactive group learning.

So far, the youth are enjoying the interactive nature of the training, and the opportunity to brainstorm together, said Kevin. To learn more about resources available on Restorative Practices, contact Kevin Carter.
National Screen-Free Week
May 2-8, 2022
We all need time to unplug. But with the pandemic, what we individually require with screens right now looks very different from household to household, from town to town. We’re in the same storm, in different boats.

So, this year for Screen-Free Week 2022, we are inviting you to come as you are and celebrate however you can, whether it is by unplugging for one day, shutting off your phone at dinner time, spending more time outdoors, or taking the whole week to only use screens for work and school, and enjoy some serious offline fun!

We do not want to put any additional pressure on schools and organizations whose plates are overflowing, so we are keeping it simple: participate as you can. Fun resources are available here when you need them – from activity ideas, to organizing kits, to pledge cards and beyond!
Find screen-free space to dream
Announcing Maine
Farm & Sea to School Institute 2022-2023
Participating Teams
The Maine Farm and Sea to School Network (MFSN) housed at HCCA is launching Maine’s first Farm and Sea to School Institute in 2022-2023, modeled after the Northeast Farm to School Institute in VT, in partnership with UMaine School of Food and Agriculture and over 20 collaborating organizations and agencies.

This year-long professional learning program will support school districts across the state to develop a community-based, holistic farm to school action plan to support local food purchasing, school gardens, food systems education, and more.

Congratulations to the inaugural 5 teams for the 2022-2023 school year!
  • RSU 22 (Frankfort, Hampden, Newburgh, & Winterport)
  • RSU 89 (Katahdin Schools)
  • RSU 12 (Sheepscot Valley)
  • MSAD 17 (Oxford Hills)
  • North Haven Community School (K-12)

Learn more and explore our new logo and branding at the Maine Farm and Sea to School Institute Webpage!

This project is supported by a Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program grant 2021-70026-35911 as well as three local philanthropic foundations.
Learn more about MFSN at HCCA’s grant awards for this new program in the HCCA blog post on the First Annual Maine Farm & Sea to School Institute.
Maine Farm and Sea to School Institute Planning Committee members touring The Ecology School at Riverbend Farm, the site of the August 2022 workshop program. 
What is a StoryWalk®?
StoryWalk® is an innovative and delightful way for children and adults to enjoy reading and be outdoors at the same time. Laminated pages from a children's book are attached to wire stakes, which are installed along an outdoor path. As walkers advance down the trail, they are directed to the next page in the story.
StoryWalks® can be found in 50 states and 13 countries including Germany, Canada, England, Bermuda, Russia, Malaysia, Pakistan, and South Korea!
Many towns in Maine have StoryWalks® along walking trails.
Readfield Library has a year round StoryWalk® on the trail behind the library. Augusta Literacy for Maine is preparing to install a permanent StoryWalk on a trail that connects Farrington Elementary School to Cony High School.
If you are interested in borrowing a StoryWalk®, contact
HCCA Let's Go! Coordinator Nan Bell
Children at the Boys and Girls Club of Kennebec Valley in Gardiner reading and doing
Eric Carle's "From Head to Toe" StoryWalk®
Tobacco Prevention
How is the Effort to Ban Flavored Tobacco Going?
Tobacco companies have developed an array of menthol, mint, candy, and fruit-flavored products in colorful packaging to attract new users and keep them using tobacco. The tobacco industry knows that 95% of adult smokers start by age 21, so these flavored products aren’t for adults. Flavors hook kids! 

Our neighbors in Bangor and Portland have succeeded in banning flavored tobacco sales! Brunswick is considering doing the same.

At the State House, lawmakers are considering LD 1550, "An Act To End the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products".

A few quick facts:
  • 1 in 4 Maine high school students now use e-cigarette vaping devices – a rate that has nearly doubled in the past 2 years!
  • 8 out of 10 middle and high school students who use e-cigarettes use flavored products
  • 5 out of 10 youth (ages 12-17) who smoke use menthol cigarettes
  • There are now over 15,000 flavored tobacco products on the market

Anyone interested in preventing youth tobacco addiction can reach out to local lawmakers via phone and email and share your concerns. Learn more at FlavorsHookKidsMaine.org.
New Resource for Maine Teens: My Life My Quit
Developed with youth input, the My Life My Quit program provides free and confidential quit coaching through phone, chat, and texted-based sessions with a tobacco treatment specialist. MLMQ supports youth ages 13-17 who use combustible, smokeless, and electronic vaping tobacco products. 

Enrolling in My Life My Quit is easy and can be done online (me.mylifemyquit.org), over the phone (1-855-891-9989) or via text message (text “Start My Quit” to 36072). 

Trusted adults, including health care providers, school personnel, youth-serving entities, and other community organizations can refer a teen to My Life My Quit online.
Substance Misuse Prevention
Time To Explore!
Can't hit the road at the moment? The family will love this virtual tour of the national parks.
DEA National Drug Take Back Day!
In April and October 2021, local law enforcement collected 5,716 pounds of prescription drugs. While spring cleaning, remember the medicine cabinets and take your unused prescriptions to the designated locations on Saturday, April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Alcohol Awareness Month in April is intended to help reduce the stigma around alcoholism and to encourage those with a substance use disorder to consider treatment.
In spite of most everyone knowing alcohol isn’t healthy, people consume alcohol on a regular basis.
But why does it work the way that it does, and how does it affect our health?  Learn more here.
This Alcohol Awareness Month, try these mocktail recipes from our SNAP-Ed team
HCCA Board Member named Maine Mother of the Year to Close the “Million Word Gap”
HCCA Board Member, Patricia Morris Clark of Readfield, was chosen as the 2022 Maine Mother of the Year and will join 49 other mothers in representing their states at the annual American Mothers, Inc.® conference in April where the national winner will be recognized.

Clark is a University of Maine at Augusta professor and director of the Early Childhood Studies program representing both human services and education.

Clark's platform is early childhood literacy and “closing the million word gap” among children entering kindergarten. According to a recent Ohio State study, young children whose parents frequently read to them could enter kindergarten having heard an estimated 1.4 million more words than children who were rarely or never read to.

“In our current world where televisions, iPads, and phones are everywhere, we sometimes forget the benefits and bonding of carving out just 20 minutes a day to read to our children.” - Pat Clark, HCCA Board Member

Clark taught elementary and kindergarten students for 20 years and attained her MS in Special Education after watching children struggle. In collaboration with Head Start, she designed one of the first all-day kindergartens in Maine, Super K. One of her greatest joys is reading and playing with children. 

Pat helped coordinate the Readfield School playgroup for preschoolers, started the Story Times at the Beach five years ago, and in the fall of 2021 helped to establish a Let’s Go! permanent StoryWalk at the Readfield Community Library.

By choosing a platform of early childhood literacy, she hopes to “shine a new LED light” on the very real vocabulary gaps that exist when children enter school. These gaps often continue and grow, affecting reading development and understanding. No computer can take the place of an adult lap. Read more about Pat here.
Mark Your Calendars!

HCCA Virtual 2022
Annual Meeting

"We're Better Together"

May 23, 2022 at 3-4:30 p.m.

Join the virtual Healthy Communities of the Capital Area Annual Meeting
and help us celebrate the past year and plan for the future.
To receive the meeting link, contact Jane Hutchinson
Coming in June...
Pride Along the River:
Virtual Youth Art Show

Mark your calendars for
Wednesday, June 1 at 4 p.m. and register to see some amazing art created by Kennebec County youth!
to register and learn more!
Join in the 2022 United Way Day of Caring and the Great Cobbossee Watershed Cleanup!
For More Information Contact:
Boys & Girls Club of KV
Gardiner Area Thrives
Gardiner Main Street
Melissa Lindley (207) 582-3100 Kennebec Land Trust
Marie Ring (207) 377-2848
Tina Wood (207) 582-0213
Friends of Cobbossee Watershed
(207) 395-5239
Three ways to help support HCCA
Buy a Hannaford Gift Card from HCCA
5% of the purchase price goes to support
HCCA programs.
Contact Jane Hutchinson
Log onto Amazon Smile and select Healthy Communities of the Capital (no Area) as your charity. Click on this quick demo to learn how.
Click on this DONATE button to make a tax deductable donation and support HCCA local public health programming
Community Health Champions
HCCA Board Members
Salam Al-Omaishi
Jodi Beck
Benjamin Brown
Patricia Clark
Cathleen Dunlap
Deborah Emery
Sara Grant
Patricia Hart
Patricia Hopkins
Ranae L'Italien
Lisa Miller
Sarah Miller
Merry St. Pierre
Ashley Tetreault
Courtney Yeager
Like and follow HCCA on Facebook and Instagram to stay
up-to-date on HCCA events and opportunities!