ACAP receives award

17 years ago

    PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – The Aroostook County Action Program (ACAP) was honored recently by the Maine Children’s Trust, a statewide non-profit organization whose mission is to prevent child abuse and neglect.
At the Maine Children’s Trust annual recognition event held May 2 at the Senator Inn in Augusta, ACAP received the Community Organization award. Connie Sandstrom, executive director of ACAP, said the award is very meaningful to the organization.
    “A parent nominated us, and it’s always a positive experience to have the quality of our work identified and appreciated by a person who actually uses our services,” she said. “To be recognized and honored by a statewide organization reaffirms that the day-to-day efforts and commitment of our staff are effective and are very important and critical to the outcomes of our children.”
Celebrating 35 years of service, ACAP provides monthly parent education activities and offers mental health support to families in crisis or at risk of child abuse and neglect. It also offers a home visiting program that supports parent involvement in the child’s education process, which is a major contributor to the prevention of child abuse and neglect.
Parent Judy Smith nominated ACAP for the award.
“I really, really love their childcare center. My children attend the Gouldville Park Street center, and the ladies there are just phenomenal,” she said. “I appreciate the service that ACAP offers to Aroostook County and the community in general, and I wanted to recognize ACAP for the good job that they do.
“They offer safe, affordable childcare which isn’t easy to come by,” said Smith, noting that her two children have been attending the Park Street center since June 2006. “Their Child & Family Service workers are trained annually to recognize signs of child abuse and neglect, are all mandated reporters, and any time they see signs that concern them, they report on it. ACAP services hundreds of children from Fort Kent to Houlton every year, and they make a huge impact on families in Aroostook County and are on the front lines of preventing child abuse and neglect.”
Smith said she attends regular parent meetings, chairs the policy council, and is a member of the board of directors.
“I try to support them as much as I can,” she said. “Their rates are income-based so it makes it affordable to me. What I pay taking my children to ACAP is nothing compared to what I would pay if I had to pay full price somewhere else, so volunteering is my way of giving back and saying thank you.”
In nominating ACAP, Smith had to write a one-page nomination letter telling a bit about the organization, and write a short essay explaining why she felt they deserved to be recognized for child abuse and neglect prevention.
According to Melissa Krueger of the Maine Children’s Trust, six awards are presented each year including three that are nomination-based.
“We put it on our Web site and send out letters letting people know that we accept nominations for three awards,” she said. “People submit their nominations to us, and we have a committee that reviews them and makes their recommendations. From there, the various award recipients are chosen.” Krueger said ACAP is the first organization in Aroostook County to receive a Maine Children’s Trust award.
“ACAP does such a spectacular job, and in speaking to anyone who has had anything to do with ACAP, all the comments are positive,” she said. “ACAP is doing a wonderful job in Aroostook County, and we’re happy that someone nominated them. They’re really a leader in terms of child abuse and neglect prevention not only in Aroostook County, but in Maine.”