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Waban - Making a difference in the lives of children and adults with disabilities for over 40 years

News at Waban

Therapy Dogs Bring Calm and Focus to FFCDC

Brie Westman shows Miles Southers how to reach out to Debbie Shaun Payeur gives a hug to Debbie Brayden May gets a kiss from Moxie

SANFORD – On March 28, Rick Barnaby paid a visit to the Fraser-Ford Child Development Center at Waban with his beautiful 2-year old Chocolate Labrador Retriever, Moxie.  Moxie is a therapy dog, trained to interact with children and adults in an experiential setting.  Moxie visited each classroom and the children had an opportunity to see, pat, hug and learn about her.

Along with Moxie, Barnaby brought Debbie, an 11-month old Yellow Labrador Retriever, who is in training to become a service dog through the NEADS organization, National Education for Assistance Dog Services.  Soon Debbie will be assigned to assist a person who is disabled, possibly in a wheelchair or a combat veteran.  NEADS has recently provided dogs for Boston bombing victims.

“The goal today is to introduce the children to Moxie and Debbie in an environment with no pressure, no judgment and just offer the opportunity to love and be loved,” said Barnaby.  (read more)

 Kennebunk Savings Provides Warmth for Waban

SANFORD - On a cold winter day, with the temperatures hovering in the low teens, Brad Paige and Heather Harris from Kennebunk Savings Bank stopped by Waban’s TREE Center to make a $25,000.00 donation that would provide warmth and comfort for many years to come.  (Photo:  Brad Paige, President and CEO of Kennebunk Savings, hands Neal Meltzer, Executive Director of Waban, a check for $25,000 as a donation toward the geothermal heating system of the renovated Commons building, which will serve as the hub of the TREE Center on Bauneg Beg Lake.)

The TREE Center offers opportunities in teambuilding, leadership, recreation, and environmental education.  Nestled on the shores of Bauneg Beg Lake, the center’s programs create awareness in the stewardship of the 84 square mile watershed and ecosystem that includes the lake, while also providing experiential learning and opportunities for individuals, organizations, businesses, and corporations through its certified staff, meeting spaces, accessible trail system and low ropes challenge elements.  

Kennebunk Savings Bank’s generous contribution will be used toward the cost of the geothermal heating system and exemplifies the sustainable, long term, and value-building approach that both the TREE Center and the bank embrace.  (read more)

 Waban's TREE Center provides "The Best Week of the Year" every year!

SANFORD - From the mid-sixties to 2013, WABAN has been a source of joy and personal growth for the people of York County, Southern Maine and in neighboring communities throughout the rest of Maine and other parts of New England.  Through the years, it has grown and evolved to better serve the needs of individuals with developmental and other disabilities.  Naturally, it was a perfect fit when the Muscular Dystrophy Association planned their annual summer camp week at Waban’s Summer Camp, now called the TREE Center.   

MDA promotes their summer camp as “the best week of the year,” a time and place where everything is accessible, where fellow campers are just like them, and where no boundaries exist.  Every year, MDA throws into full throttle a week designed to break down barriers and provide an unforgettable experience for kids with muscular dystrophy.  This year, it was held at Waban’s TREE Center on the shores of Bauneg Beg Lake in Sanford, a perfect location for a fun-filled week of lakeside activities and memories, with a mission and philosophy that dovetail perfectly with MDA’s goal to provide a memory to hold on to, a story to tell, and a song to sing! 

Camp WabanWaban’s Summer Camp, fondly known as Camp Waban, has been in existence since 1966, started by four lifetime friends with a vision for a special place where people with developmental disabilities and other special needs could come and enjoy the summer. This restful place would be founded on the principle of providing loving Camp Waban 1966help,  motivation and patience so vital to the human needs of each person.  Spring Hill in Berwick, Maine provided the first location  for this extraordinary dream, and doctors, nurses  and teachers volunteered to staff the camp.  In 1967, Camp moved to its current location on Bauneg Beg Lake with the purchase of a former girls’ camp by the newly formed Waban Projects, Inc. under the direction of Wayne A. Wormwood, retired special education teacher.  (read more)

Grahamtastic and Walmart Partner for Fraser-Ford Child Development Center

SANFORD – Teachers at Waban’s Fraser-Ford Child Development Center have seen remarkable successes working with iPads in the RISE (Room for Individualized Supported Education) classrooms with a new curriculum designed to assist children with autism and other developmental disabilities in communication and language.  Three iPads were donated to the school by Grahamtastic as a direct result of a generous grant from the Walmart Foundation, State of Maine.

Leslie Morissette founded Grahamtastic Connection in honor of her son Graham who sadly lost his battle to cancer in 1997 at age 8. The non-profit’s mission is to provide free computers and internet access to seriously ill children for educational purposes.  While that usually means providing a laptop or tablet to an individual child with a health crisis, in this case, Grahamtastic is able to have a profound effect on the education of many children facing learning and communication challenges.

“The generous grant from the Walmart Foundation allowed us to purchase 3 iPads and we thought Waban was a perfect fit for receiving them.  We hope to be able to donate more iPads to Waban in the future,” said Morissette.

Nicole Winship, a Special Education teacher at the center said, “We use the iPad as a motivator.  It keeps children engaged, and to them it’s just fun.”  (read more)

43 Waban Graduates Ready for Kindergarten

SANFORD – Waban’s Fraser-Ford Child Development Center graduated 43 children on Friday, August 16 who are ready to enter kindergarten at the start of this school year.  Family members were the audience for the graduation ceremonies and the children were the stars, dressed up for the occasion and wearing colorful mortarboards decorated with their names.  Teachers from eight classrooms celebrated by handing out diplomas to each child, along with speeches about each student’s positive growth and personal attributes, and gift bags with supplies for kindergarten.

The Fraser-Ford Child Development Center addresses the needs of preschool children with autism, developmental disabilities, severe medical issues, Downs syndrome and other developmental delays with the goal of transitioning to public school systems.  The skills they learn will help to level the playing field when mainstreamed with other public school students. The Center’s guiding principles are based on the belief that given the opportunity, all children can succeed.

The Center’s students have received speech, occupational or physical therapy for social, language and self-help skill-building and under the care and teamwork of families, teachers, therapists and a licensed clinician, have succeeded in many measurable ways. 

“It’s great to be a part of their formative years and provide skills that will help them for the rest of their lives.  The window of opportunity is now,” said Jason Shute, Director of Children’s Curriculum and Clinical Services.

Sarah Mehlhorn, Children’s Program Operations and Community Services Director noted, “Early intervention efforts for children with special needs lead to children with more independence, innumerable successes, and a significantly reduced need for other  services throughout their lifetime.”

In a note to his teachers, Jacob Gallagher’s mom wrote for him, “Thank you so much for being the best teachers and people. I have loved coming to school everyday because of you. I will miss you next year when I go to kindergarten, but you will not be forgotten. Thank you for helping me be me and for helping to teach me many important things.”

Each year, Waban’s children’s programs provide services to over 300 children and families throughout York County, giving new hope to the parents of children with special needs.  Waban has been making a difference in the lives of children and adults with developmental and other disabilities for over 45 years. Learn more about Waban at www.waban.org.

WABAN's TREE Program, (Teambuilding, Recreation and Environmental Education)

Waban's TREE (Teambuilding, Recreation, and Environmental Education) program has been conducting water quality studies at Bauneg Beg Lake and will be reporting routinely on the results of their educational investigations. Follow along with us to discover what this fascinating ecosystem has to offer! (click here)

Camera Captures Coyote at Waban's TREE Center

SANFORD - Groups studying environmental education at Waban’s TREE Center have captured some great images with the use of a trail camera. Activated by movement, the camera snaps photos at intervals until no more movement is detected, day or night. Recent warm weather activity has produced images of gray squirrels, white tail deer and wild turkeys but the most exciting photo in TREE’s collection of wildlife images is of a coyote at night, which was taken in the Spring while there was still snow on the ground. (read more)

Gold Medals and Grins!!

The 2013 Special Olympics were held in Orono, Maine on the weekend of June 7-9 and Waban’s athletes are still grinning as they recall the memorable weekend they experienced with the other athletes, staff and coaches. The University of Maine at Orono hosted the annual games, and every part of the weekend, from the athletic events and ceremonies to the meals and social gatherings, created memories filled with excitement and camaraderie. Waban's Special Olympians

Anticipation for the weekend reached a peak as Waban’s 18 athletes climbed into the Custom Coach and Limousine bus with staff and coaches. Liz Gile, Waban Administrator and Special Olympics coach said, “The bus company was terrific and the athletes so look forward to this first leg of their journey with an on-board movie. The first stop is in Brewer for the bowling event.” (read more)