Programs We Fund
United Way of Aroostook mobilizes resources to improve the lives of people in our community. By combining your donation with those of others, we can make a difference in the lives of those who need it most. These agencies all support and strengthen children, families, seniors, and those struggling to meet basic needs.
ACAP Early Care & Education
Early Care & Education provides quality, developmental childcare to families who are working or attending school. Childcare is for children age six weeks through six years and is age-appropriate and individualized to meet each child’s needs.
Contact Information: acap-me.org/programs/earlycareeducation/
Success Story: Jennifer Smith would be quick to tell people that her children are the best thing that has ever happened to her. She is the mother of five children; one son, who is 16 (Landon DiRusso), and four daughters, who are 10 (Addison), 8 (Hannah), and 4 (Lydia and Elizabeth, twins). She believes in the importance of being an involved parent and has been a Girl Scout leader for several years. Her pride in, and love for, her children is beyond question.
Through the years, she consistently put the needs of her children first and strived to teach them the importance of taking pride in themselves and their accomplishments. During the last two years, she has worked hard to do the same for herself. Since she initially asked to work with Karen Roy, ACAP Family Coach in 2018, she has set many goals for herself, including securing employment, ending a marriage – which was not emotionally healthy for her and her children, and, most recently, buying her own home.
Jennifer recognized these goals would not be easily attained but never wavered in her determination to take control of her life and make it what she wanted it to be; in fact, she has already attained many of these goals. She obtained employment as a staff aide for Early Care & Education at ACAP’s Houlton Center. As a single mom, she has worked hard to bring up her credit score. She was recently approved for a mortgage and is scheduled to take a HoMEworks Homebuyer Education class, offered through ACAP, within the next month.
In the past two years, she has made many connections that have helped her feel secure in who she is and what she can do in life and has accessed resources and programs through ACAP to help her reach her goals. Family coaching helped her gain knowledge of, and access to, resources, as well as ongoing support and encouragement. Jennifer used the support of ACAP’s Workforce Development program to help her with career exploration, to help her identify employment opportunities, and to help her with her resume. She was able to access fuel assistance through the Home Energy Assistance Program, and through ACAP’s HEAP Assurance 16 program, save money on utilities through new energy conservation and home weatherization materials and education provided by ACAP family coaches.
The Building Family Futures Program, which ACAP administers locally for MaineHousing, allowed Jennifer the opportunity to participate in a series of savvy renter and financial literacy classes, for which she was awarded a Section 8 Housing voucher upon completion. As Aroostook County’s first Head Start Parent Ambassador, she has been able to use her voice to advocate for what she strongly believes is important for children and families. Jennifer aspires to one day become an elected official and plans to continue to use her voice to make a difference in the lives of families and in her community.
ACAP Family Coaching
Family coaching is a holistic, comprehensive approach to meeting a whole family’s needs by working with families in the key areas of health and wellness, economic assets, education and training, early childhood education, and social capital.
Contact Information: acap-me.org/programs/coaching/
Success Story: When Kaytlyn first connected with ACAP, she was living at the local homeless shelter, battling with substance use, and lost custody of her young daughter. Determined to build a better life for herself and her child, she found her way to ACAP.
Kaytlyn was utilizing the resources at the Hope and Prosperity Resource Center when she was connected with Stan, an ACAP Career Counselor. Together, the two discussed the challenges and opportunities that stood between Kaytlyn and her goals, and they created a customized plan to help Kaytlyn navigate this uncharted territory. Being in recovery was important to Kaytlyn and she wanted to help others overcome their recovery challenges. Stan was able to create a work experience for her at a recovery center in Caribou, which would later become a full-time job. While she was working on the employment aspect of her recovery, the coaching team assisted her with securing safe housing. When she was reunited with her daughter, the team assisted with childcare placement in a high-quality child care center at an ACAP facility.
When the pandemic hit in March, Kaytyln found herself without income due to the safety restrictions at her place of employment. Stan was able to seamlessly transition her into a temporary position to continue her work experience. As many businesses have reopened with new safety protocols, Kaytlyn has returned to her role at the recovery center and continues to work with the ACAP team to pursue her education and training to further her career in substance use counseling.
ACAP Women, Infants & Children (WIC)
Women, Infants & Children provides healthy foods, nutrition education, screening, and health care referrals to eligible pregnant and post-partum women, infants, and children up to the age of 5.
- 17.2% of Aroostook County residents live in poverty (map.feedingamerica.com, 2018)
- 25% of Aroostook County children live in poverty (maine.gov)
- Nationally, WIC reduces the prevalence of food insecurity in children by at least 20% ( tfah.org)
- Every $1 invested in WIC saves up to $7 in medical, educational, and productivity costs
ACAP WIC Participation rates
- Total Participation – 1,872 individuals
- Total # of Families – 1,124
- Women – 501
- Infants – 352
- Children – 1,019
- Social Service Referrals – 4,465+
- Outreach Travel – 6,535 miles (up to 3/2020 due to pandemic closure)
- 71.3% of pregnant enrollees that recertified after delivery initiated
- 25% breastfed ≥ 3 months
- 19% breastfed ≥ 6 months
- 150 breastfeeding moms utilized Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program
- 24 electric breast pumps were loaned to participants
- 16% of pregnant enrollees who reported smoking 3 months prior to pregnancy and reported quitting before the child was born
- $883,452 spent in 29 Aroostook WIC-approved grocery stores
- $8,000 in farmers market vouchers distributed
- 10+ Aroostook County WIC approved farmers
Team of Experts
- 5 Certified Lactation Counselors
- 4 Nutritionists & Nutrition educators
- 1 Registered Dietitian
- 1 Breastfeeding Peer Counselor
Madawaska Presque Isle
Fort Kent Houlton
Van Buren Island Falls
The mission of Adopt-A-Block Aroostook is to impact our communities by bringing hope and love one block at a time, by assisting with food, clothing needs, life skills, education, and building stronger, healthier families. It is about giving a “hand up” not a “hand out.”
Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org
AMHC Suicide Prevention Education
AMHC Suicide Prevention Education provides suicide prevention awareness education efforts to professionals including educators, law enforcement, and healthcare providers, as well as community members, specifically children, teens, and young adults.
Contact Information: amhc.org
Aroostook Area Agency on Aging Nutrition Services
Aroostook Area Agency provides nutritionally balanced meals to homebound elderly individuals and some disabled youth who are unable to prepare meals for themselves. They also provide congregate meals and food assistance at centers in Aroostook County.
Contact Information: aroostookaging.org/services/#STAYINGATHOME
Aroostook Area Agency on Aging Retired & Senior Volunteer Program
Aroostook Area Agency assists local nonprofits and service agencies to secure volunteers, who in turn make a difference to those they are volunteering for.
Contact Information: aroostookaging.org/services
Maine Families Aroostook
Maine Families Aroostook is a prevention council which partners with parents, childcare providers, grandparents, and others who are caring for children to strengthen families by offering them opportunities for support and reliable information.
Contact Information: aroostookcouncilforhealthyfamilies.net
Penobscot Boys & Girls Club Presque Isle Power Hour
Power Hour is a comprehensive program that extends learning beyond the school day by providing academic support, enrichment, and remediation which impact youth in three essential ways; achieving success in academic pursuits, the ability to lead a healthy lifestyle, and striving to uphold good character.
Contact Information: bgc-bt.org
Catholic Charities Hunger & Relief Services
The Hunger & Relief Services program supplies nutritious food to people experiencing food insecurity throughout Aroostook County. The program provides food to 24 food pantries in Aroostook County to improve the health of low-income families.
Contact Information: ccmaine.org
Homeless Services of Aroostook
Homeless Services of Aroostook shelters individuals and families with children, providing a no-cost, safe environment to sleep, eat, and shower. They also offer holistic case management services.
Contact Information: aroostookhomeless.org
Hope & Justice Project (HJP)
It is the mission of the Hope & Justice Project to serve the needs of the victims/survivors of domestic abuse while working to end domestic violence in Aroostook County.
Contact Information: hopeandjusticeproject.org
Success Story: “I did not realize… something drew me to HJP, it was my counselor who suggested HJP for a couple of years after I shared my story. I decided one day to just go in and see, as soon as I walked in, I felt like this is where I needed to be. I realized that day that what I was going through was abuse, I never thought of it this way before. When you get out of your bubble and look at what is happening to you and step in someone’s shoes, it was a huge eye-opener. I talked to Jessica; she was like an angel. It made me realize that what I was going through was just as detrimental as physical abuse. She educated me on types of abuse. I was not crazy, this was not right for me, for the kids, or for anybody. From there on I went a few more times and I was able to do a timeline with Jessica from beginning to end and it helped put things in perspective. It has opened my eyes to what love is not. Just having an advocate with me when I went to court was a godsend. You all have saved my family.“
St. John Valley Associates/Independence Plus
It is the purpose of St. John Valley Associates to empower adults with intellectual disabilities in St. John Valley and surrounding areas so they can achieve their maximum potential.
Contact Information: stjohnvalleyassociates.org
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army of Houlton assists those in need with their food pantry and soup kitchen. They also help by providing them with means to have electricity, water, heat, and housing. Worship programs for the whole family are also available.