HCCA Fall Newsletter
October 2021
What's New at HCCA?
HCCA Receives United Way Innovation Funding for LGBTQ+ Project
United Way of Kennebec Valley awarded $15,000 to HCCA for a LGBTQ+ Youth experience Summer Supports (YeSS) program that is expected to kick off in 2022.

"Healthy Communities of the Capital Area is excited to partner with Kennebec Valley United Way to support the launch of the YeSS Network," said Renee Page, HCCA Executive Director. "Support for this initiative will respond to the needs of LGBTQ+ youth in southern Kennebec County by raising cultural awareness, providing parent supports, and engaging several community partners to create welcoming environments for LGBTQ+ youth."

Work with the new grant has already begun, as HCCA partners with OUT Maine to educate local youth-serving organizations about how best to help local LGBTQ+ youth during summer break, when the lack of school structure like GSTA (Gay, Straight, Trans Alliance) groups can put some youth at risk.

"The goal is to link existing youth programming and LGBTQ+ support with summer opportunities for LGBTQ+ kids," said Joanne Joy, Senior Program Director.

Stay tuned for more updates as this project continues into next summer.
Nutrition and Physical Activity
Bake Mock Apple Pie with Rachael
There's nothing like apple pie to make it feel like fall - except maybe SNAP-Ed Coordinator Rachael Reynold's

You can click the image (at right) to watch Rachael prepare this recipe, along with many other healthy recipes created by our HCCA SNAP-Education team.
HCCA Let's Go!
Mini Grant
Sparks Community Effort
for Readfield Community
Library StoryWalk®
Readfield Community Library permanent year-round StoryWalk®
Melissa Small, Librarian, reading a page from “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen 
Readfield community members of all ages gathered to celebrate the grand opening of a permanent StoryWalk® on the wooded trail behind Readfield Community Library thanks to Melissa Small, Librarian at Readfield Community Library.

Melissa first learned of the StoryWalk® activity in the summer of 2020 when library and HCCA board member Pat Clark, suggested they borrow Eric Carle’s “From Head to Toe” StoryWalk® from Healthy Communities of the Capital Area Let’s Go! program to use for their children’s summer reading program. Inspired by how much the children loved engaging and moving around to read the story, Small decided to install a permanent StoryWalk® along the trail behind the library. She applied for a mini grant from HCCA’s Let’s Go! program and received $800 to fund the project.
Pam Mitchell, library board member, joined Small to plan the project and the Readfield community quickly stepped up to get involved.

High school students from Kent’s Hill School and Maranacook Community High School offered to design and build 18 podiums, while two local businesses, By the Board Lumber, and Portland Glass, supplied the wood and Plexiglass for the podiums. Community members and businesses participated in a “Sponsor a Book” campaign to purchase 24 books that feature movement and activity as part of the story.

The energy and excitement at the August 25 grand opening was palpable.
Ellen Bowman, a retired teacher and community member performed an animated reading of “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.” Kent’s Hill School teacher Jordan Gehman cut the ribbon and Clark led the group along the trail and engaged children in reading aloud and pretending they were on a bear hunt through the woods. At the end of the trail, the group met up with local drummer, Aaron Neily, who played his djembe while leading the group back to the start of the trail where the children met to do a craft project.

Readfield Elementary School collaborated with the library in applying for the HCCA mini grant to create an additional StoryWalk® at the school. School Nurse, Jada Clark will host a grand opening celebration for their StoryWalk® on the school trail this fall.

Let’s Go! is an obesity prevention initiative working with communities to create environments that support healthy choices. The 5-2-1-0 messaging is based on evidence-based strategies for healthy eating and active living.

5 fruits and vegetable daily
2 hours or less of recreational screen time
1 hour or more of physical activity daily
0 sugary drinks, drink more water

The StoryWalk® is an activity created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT. The Let’s Go! program promotes this activity as a way to encourage children and adults to get outside, be active, and enjoy reading together.

The Readfield Community Library and Elementary School partnership has created a free activity for children and adults to spend time together by being physically active and engaged by reading. 

If you would like to learn more about the Let’s Go! program or borrow a StoryWalk®, contact Nan Bell, Let’s Go! Coordinator.
HCCA Let's Go! Outdoor Activity Guide
for Kennebec County
Through a partnership with Let’s Go!, Northern Light Inland Hospital and HCCA work throughout Kennebec County to support the health and well-being of students, staff, and caregivers in schools, out-of-school programs, early care and education, and healthcare practices. This partnership produced the new Physical Activity and Nutrition Guide for Kennebec County.
This guide will help you find information and resources to support an active lifestyle. It's a one-stop electronic guide that connects you to trails, lakes, rivers, parks, playgrounds, and other resources such as local farmers markets in Kennebec County.
"Our Food, Our Future"

October is National Farm to School Month! Join MFSN and thousands of schools, early care and education sites, farms, and communities across the country to celebrate food education, school gardens, and lunch trays filled with healthy, local ingredients. Here are several ways to get involved.

Celebrating National Farm to School Month in Maine:
  • Learn from Maine dairy farmers and the organizations connecting ME dairy to ME schools at the virtual October MFSN meeting - open to all network members. Contact Stephanie at s.cesario@hccame.org to become a member at no cost. October 12, 2:30-4:00 PM
  • Register Here
Sneak Peek: Maine Farm to School Institute

MFSN's Farm to School Institute subcommittee, chaired by Falmouth Schools Nutrition Director Martha Poliquin, has been busy applying for grants to fund the 2022 launch of a new professional learning opportunity for Maine schools & early childhood centers based on the Northeast Farm to School Institute model. The Institute is also accepting donations to support this year-long skill building initiative.

Stay tuned for updates on Institute development!
Pictured above: MFSN committee members touring a potential ME FTS Institute location last month.
Tobacco Prevention
HCCA Tobacco Team
Protects Thousands from Secondhand Smoke
and Educates the Community in Year 5 of Grant
Time has flown and HCCA is already at the end of our fifth year as a Maine Center for Tobacco Independence district prevention partner! Led by Joanne Joy, April Hughes and Elizabeth Deprey (with help from contractor Linda Christie) overcame many challenges this year to make a real difference in Kennebec County. 

Among the work we’re most proud of:
  • We worked with 29 local partners, including schools, businesses, municipalities, hospitals, and more to create spaces safe from secondhand smoke exposure. This includes Viles Arboretum, Kennebec River Rail Trail, RSU 38, and Augusta Boys and Girls Club! These policies protect more than 65,000 people from secondhand smoke.

  • We partnered with the Capital Area New Mainers Project to create culturally appropriate materials in English and Arabic to let New Mainers know about the state’s free quitting resources and the dangers of secondhand smoke.

  • We joined Somerset Public Health, Portland Public Health, and Hart Consulting to create posters and brochures to help our local veterans get free support when they’re ready to stop smoking/using tobacco products.

  • We overcame technology and pandemic-related challenges to offer virtual Sidekicks to local classrooms, training youth to have respectful conversations with peers about vaping. We also provided dozens of local youth and adults with virtual trainings on The Truth About Vaping and Quitting Conversations. 

  • We partnered with OutMaine to research tobacco use in our middle and high school LGBT population and launch a LGBTQ+ Tobacco Advisory Board.

Maine Prevention Services granted HCCA an extension to continue our tobacco work into 2022 - we can’t wait to continue to work with you to continue to prevent youth from starting tobacco use, connect adults to free quitting resources, and create secondhand smoke-free spaces!

To learn more about this project, contact Elizabeth Deprey, Tobacco Prevention Coordinator at e.deprey@hccame.org.
LGBTQ+ Youth Tobacco Prevention Project Presents to Advisory Board
OUT Maine and Healthy Communities of the Capital Area, the lead partners of the LGBTQ+ Youth Tobacco Prevention Project, spent many hours in the past year producing a detailed Community Needs Assessment related to LGBTQ+ youth tobacco use and risks as well as the environments in which they live in Kennebec, Knox, and Waldo Counties. 

The needs assessment process led us to integrate building resilience as part of prevention and to consider and address Minority Stress as a factor in higher use and lower protective factors.

“This is information we did not have before and will help lead Maine moving forward," said Ed Miller, Chair of the Tobacco Prevention and Control Advisory. "By including references to the Trevor Project (LGBTQ+ youth suicide prevention) this work will continue to help Maine support our LGBTQ+ youth."

The Needs Assessment was well received including the recommendations. The recommendations inform the work plan for the 9-month contract extension.
Substance Abuse Prevention
Youth Voices
from the Boys and Girls Club of Kennebec Valley
When it came to planning substance use prevention messaging for the fall, HCCA knew it needed youth voices.
Several youth responded when Holly Jordan, Teen Center Director asked for volunteers to partner with representatives from Gardiner Area Thrives.
The youth met four times, sitting down with Kevin Carter, District Youth Coordinator, to talk about designing the messages.
The youth said:
  • Existing prevention messages were not up-to-date 
  • Cannabis and alcohol were the two substances used the most by local middle and high school students
The volunteers also brainstormed ways to say no, and suggested alternatives to using substances.
Examples of posters created by Kennebec Valley Boys and Girls Club Youth to share prevention messages
Once the top three messages were identified, the next step was determining ways to share. 

The volunteers decided to create artwork based on the messaging, which will be posted in the Gardiner middle and high schools this fall. 

What is Gardiner Area Thrives?
Marijuana is legal, but is it safe?
For more information on Marijuana Laws go to: Good to Know Maine
Healthy Communities of the Capital Area
Will Benefit from Gardiner Hannaford's
Fight Hunger Bag Program in November
For the month of November 2021, please support Healthy Communities of the Capital who will receive a $1 donation from each purchase of the $2.50 reusable Fight Hunger Bag at the Hannaford store located at
40 Main Avenue in Gardiner.
Questions about the vaccine?
HCCA Board Members
Our Community Health Champions
Salam Al-Omaishi
Jodi Beck
Benjamin Brown
Patrick Cheek
Patricia Clark
Cathleen Dunlap
Deborah Emery
Sara Grant
Patricia Hart
Patricia Hopkins
Ranae L'Italien
Lisa Miller
Sarah Miller
Merry St. Pierre
Ashley Tetreault
Colin Webb
Courtney Yeager
HCCA needs your help to
reach our fundraising goal...
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 public health programming
Like and follow HCCA on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on HCCA events and opportunities!