NEWRY — The River Fund Maine (TRFM) has established a breakthrough program to support online education for children within the MSAD#44 area which includes the towns of Andover, Bethel, Gilead, Greenwood, Newry and Woodstock in Oxford County, Maine.

“The River Fund Maine’s mission is to create educational opportunities for area youth,” says Jim Largess, TRFM’s Executive Director. “As schools have been forced to close in response to COVID-19, The River Fund Maine wants to ensure that all the children in our area are able to continue their education by participating in the on-line schooling opportunities offered by the local schools.”

To support students’ access to education, TRFM has created two new programs to ensure that children can continue schooling without burdening their family’s financial resources. First, The River Fund Maine will pay internet access fees for the next three months—up to a total of $100 per household—for any family whose wage earner has been furloughed due to a COVID-19 business closure. Second, The River Fund Maine is working with the Telstar Regional school system (MSAD#44) to acquire internet hot spots throughout the included towns that will enable the school district to expand 2 internet coverage to all students in the MSAD#44 area. This will allow all students in local public schools to complete the 2020 academic year.

“TRFM believes that in these difficult and uncertain days, no family should be placed in the painful position of having to choose between educating their children and meeting their family’s basic needs,” says Largess.

The River Fund Maine encourages families to apply for the stipend if they live within the MSAD 44 area, have children enrolled in an accredited K-12 school, and a wage earner has been recently furloughed as a result of the COVID-19 closures.

Applicants will need to be able to supply the following information:

1. Completed application form, available on The River Fund Maine’s website.

2. Information taken from the household’s most recent internet provider’s bill.

3. Name of child/children and accredited school(s) currently attending.

4. Name and address of the business from which the wage earner has been furloughed.

5. Preferred contact information for questions or additional information.

Details and application instructions are available at The River Fund Maine’s website:

“By supporting continued access to education for our area children, The River Fund Maine truly hopes that we can be of assistance to our community in these challenging months,” concludes Largess.

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