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“Disability Awareness Presentation” 

Thursday April 6, 2023

by Vicki Haugen


March was disability awareness month, and our Boothbay Harbor Rotary Club was gifted with a compassionate and very informative program by two Disability Specialists, our own Laurie Zimmerli from Lincoln Academy, and Kristin Harmon from Boothbay Region Middle School.

Laurie gave us a much clarifying background on school programs to address the needs of children with disabilities. Before the law: “94-142” public schools were not required to specialize teaching for disabled kids and unless the family had private monies and resources there was none available. After the “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act” (IDEA) passed in 1975 public schools were required to provide for these needs if they qualified. This meant the child must be adversely affected and fit into one of a list of 13 disabilities. Examples are Dyslexia (a SLD or specific learning disability), or autism spectrum disorder, or emotional disturbance such as mental illnesses of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.  The degree the child is affected determines if they are a “special ed” student needing an individual IEP or can be “accommodated” (a 504) plan with just additional support.

Nationwide in 2021 there were 7.2 million “special ed” kids. Since Covid the increase in kids affected by depression and anxiety has significantly increased, along with behavior problems. Laurie ended her portion of the program with a disarming and very helpful video on how to approach persons with disabilities. Be real, be direct, be respectful and ask before you assume.

Kristin reviewed Boothbay region programs with varying different education rooms or types of programs needed based on individual students. 20% of students fit the disability needs currently. Boothbay also has a gifted and talented program to challenge those kids to push ahead. Younger kids may need more help but improve as they age and grow to enter regular classes later. Both speakers agree we can support this very important need with improved awareness and when possible financial or fund-raising assistance! 


“Rotary Meeting”

Our meeting was met with the usual information and social laughter and joking so make the work easier and the sharing more fun. 

We inducted our newest member tonight, Melody Rees who is an MSN-FNP (Master of Science Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner) in town as well as a married mother of 6 children! She enjoys fitness, reading, and travel. Welcome Melody!

Our visitors were Bruce Harris’s son Graham, friend, Drew Peck, as well as our speaker mentioned above, Kristin Harmon. 


Rotary Barn Open Again

Laurie Zimmerli updated us on last weekend’s Barn opening bringing in close to $1700!  The Rotary Barn will be open every Saturday , 8:30 to 11:00 till sometime in December.  We are looking for donations of gently used furniture, tools, collectibles, household items, boats, rugs. you name it.  Just contact Deb at 207-380-2550 for pickup or delivery times.


Interact Spaghetti Supper this Thursday

Interact Spaghetti dinner is Thursday during our meeting.   The High School Interact Club students will be in the kitchen and serving too.  Come meet them.  They will lift your spirits and give you hope for the future.   All money goes to the Student Aid Fund which supports post High School education or training.  Bring your friends for this mere 10-dollar meal and fun.  Take out is available too.


Teacher and School Staff Appreciation

We were unable to hold our yearly Teacher Appreciation day at the Boothbay Schools because staff were scattered because of the flooding.  If anyone needed a thank you, the Boothbay School staff sure did.  So, instead we invited all the district school staff to the Rotary Clubhouse last Friday.  Around 45 teachers and staff joined us for pizza, drinks, dessert and salad.  We raffled off some  wonderful prizes.  But, the big prize was all the laughter and conversation and smiles from the school staff.  We had several generous donors who helped with this event.  Thank you Boathouse Bistro, Hannafords, Pinkham’s Gourmet Market, House of Logan and Tindal and Callahan Real Estate.  We are so fortunate to live in this community where we take care of one another.  Thank you Staff and Teachers at our schools for taking care of our young community members.


Chip Griffin entertained us with a variety of historical highlights including the fact that the first Christmas wreaths were delivered to widows of Rotarians in 1966. Our very own Judy DeGraw was inducted in 1998, she is always a trail blazer.  

And finally, one very happy dollar given tonight was to celebrate the completion of insulating the Boothbay community fridge by Rotary members.  Funny stories about that too.

We meet every Thursday around 6:00 PM for a buffet dinner followed by a meeting.  If you are interested in the fun and work of Rotary join us at 66 Montgomery Rd, Boothbay Harbor.