Houlton Region

Houlton couple make charitable gift to rec department to help children in need

HOULTON, Maine — The generosity of a Houlton couple will help underprivileged children participate in the town’s youth recreation programs for many years to come.

Members of the Houlton Town Council accepted a donation of $10,000 from the Christopher and Nancy Pierce Charitable Foundation during a Jan. 10 council meeting.

“What a wonderful gift,” Houlton Town Manager Marian Anderson said. “We appreciate the work that Marie (Carmichael) did in working with this foundation to outline how they would use the money.”

Among the many uses for the funds will be to assist families who may have a financial burden that prevents their children from participating in programs at the Houlton Parks and Recreation Department.

The Recreation Department offers a wide variety of programs from peewee basketball and soccer to arts and crafts sessions, with most programs requiring a fee to participate.

In addition, new ice skates will be purchased for the John A. Millar Civic Center. Funds will be used to bring more outdoor programs to the Recreation Department, and also artisans to provide additional workshops for children.

“Chris and Nancy Pierce are seasonal residents at Nickerson Lake,” said Marie Carmichael, Houlton’s Parks and Recreation director. “They approached me in December, stating they wanted to make a donation and asked me for some ideas.”

Carmichael told the council that she met with Haley Nickerson, director of the Civic Center, and the two of them came up with the list of ways that the funds could be used.

“Our programs are not that expensive, but we thought this would be a way to get even more kids involved in [them],” Carmichael said.

Some of the ice skates at the Civic Center are nearly 20 years old and are in dire need of being replaced, she added. 

Adding more outdoor programs, such as hiking, biking and kayaking, are other ideas, Carmichael said.

The funds to assist families financially will be dispersed through a type of scholarship program, with parents made aware of the assistance at various times throughout the year.

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