Neighbors offer to help neighbors in Jay, Livermore

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: The Tri-Town Community Action Group, in cooperation with the Maine State Police, would like to offer a service to the tri-town area of Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls, called Neighbors Helping Neighbors. We are here to help anyone who lives alone, including the elderly, those who are wheelchair bound, and those with medical conditions, such as seizures, diabetes or severe asthma.

It is a new program for us and is very simple. Just call the Maine State Police Barracks in Gray at 1-800-228-0857 or 657-3030 and ask to leave a message with Trooper Michael Chavez. Leave your name, telephone number and the best time for him to return your call. Trooper Chavez will contact you and match you with a community volunteer. An enrollment form will be provided for you to fill out.

A volunteer will place a phone call to you at home at a prearranged time of day. During each short weekly telephone conversation, our volunteer will ask how things are going and extend a simple and warm “hello — how are you?”

If volunteers are unable to reach you, they will try again a short while later. If they are still unable to reach you, one of the contacts listed on your application — for example, a neighbor or family member living nearby – will be called. If necessary, we will send a volunteer to your home to make sure that you are fine.

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Everyone needs their independence, but it is also be nice to have someone check on you every week. Maine weather can be unpredictable, and it’s nice to get a friendly greeting. Volunteers from the group would be glad to check to see if everything is fine, especially after a particularly bad snow or thunderstorm. Even Maine can have some scorching summer days! Power outages occur at any time. Having a connection to someone in the community can be a welcome relief.

This is a free program and is the Tri Town Community Action Group’s way of showing you that your neighbors care about your well-being. — No Name, Livermore

ANSWER: Sun Spots corresponded with No Name to verify some facts and make sure that it was OK for Trooper Chavez to receive those calls. No Name provided all the necessary information and also offered the following: “We started as a crime watch group about 15 years ago, but our area is primarily rural. No neighborhoods to patrol and thankfully, not much crime. Since we didn’t want our group to dissolve through lack of crime, we turned it to community service. We still stay watchful of suspicious activity, but now we want to do more.”

Sun Spots is once again impressed with Maine. How many communities in the United States can say they don’t need crime watchers?

DEAR SUN SPOTS: In response to increased needs, Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice is offering two volunteer training classes for compassionate people this spring.

A 27-hour class to train volunteer co-facilitators for the Program for Grieving Children and Teens begins Monday, March 15. Classes will be held Monday and Wednesday evenings, and on Saturdays. The family-centered program supports young people, ages 3 to18, who have experienced the death of a loved one.

In addition, a 27-hour hospice volunteer class will be held on Monday and Thursday evenings, beginning March 25. Hospice volunteers help support terminally ill patients and their families at home, in long-term-care facilities and at the AHCH Hospice House in Auburn.

Classes will be held in Lewiston at our Strawberry Avenue location. For more information, please contact volunteer services at 777-7740 or 1-800-482-7412. — Nancy Greene, volunteer coordinator

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be e-mailed to sunspots@sunjournal.com.

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