OXFORD — Oxford Hills-based Christmas for Teens program is getting a huge boost from longtime partner Bearfoot Realty this Christmas season.

Monica LaVerdierre, owner of the Oxford real estate firm, has announced that as of Dec. 12, Bearfoot Realty raised $32,500 through community donations for the program. She said that people may continue to make contributions for this year’s campaign through Dec. 16.

Staff of Bearfoot Realty in Oxford and volunteers from Rightstart make it possible for around 200 teens and their families in Oxford Hills to celebrate Christmas. Bearfoot Realty has raised $32,500 and more in gifts this year. Pictured at 290 Maine Street on Dec. 7, from left to right: Tanya LeBlond, Tom Kennison, Monica LaVerdiere (Owner Bearfoot Realty) Pam Sessions, Jean Delamater and Carlene Treadwell (both representing Right Start), Becky Mason and Tammy Baker-Silver. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

“We accept donations all year,” she said. “And this is our biggest year yet.”

Bearfoot Realty became involved with Christmas for Teens ten years ago.

“In 2012 when we first did this, we collected $825,” LaVerdierre said. “Through last year we have taken in about $89,000 to date. My goal was to exceed $100,000 collected over 10 years. I did think this year that inflation would have an effect on collections. But we’ve raised more than even last year, which was $28,000.

“There is a huge need in our community at Christmas time. We are not afraid to ask the community for money and it seems like they always answer when we do it.”


Among the donors supporting Christmas for Teens is Norway Savings Bank which gave $500 and the Stone Smart American Legion Post 82 Auxiliary which donated $1,254.

Among the groups supporting Christmas for Teens this year is the Stone Smart American Legion Post 82 Auxiliary. They presented a donation for $1,256 at Bearfoot Realty’s Christmas party, held on Dec. 7 at 290 Maine Street. Pictured from left to right: Jayme Thomas, Colleen Francis-Edwards, Danielle Wadsworth, Monica LaVerdierre, Jean Delamater and Carlene Treadwell.

In addition to the $32,500 raised through Bearfoot Realty’s staff, LaVerdierre said that gifts dropped off at her office and during the annual Christmas party she hosts for customers, clients, staff and other supporters filled the back of a pick-up truck.

Christmas for Teens is a program of the Oxford Hills nonprofit organization Rightstart, which also produces Christmas for Kids and a summer tutoring and a youth book swap. Hundreds of kids and their families residing in the area benefit from Rightstart’s assistance each year.

Jean Delamater, chairperson for Rightstart, said that services are provided through a vetted application process. Recipients must be students in any of the sending towns of Oxford Hills’ school district: Harrison, Hebron, Norway, Paris, Otisfield, Oxford, Waterford or West Paris. Applications are available through each school’s guidance office and the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce, which is generally open weekdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Although the deadline for this year’s Christmas giving programs was Dec. 1, Delamater said qualifying families can still apply through any of those locations.

Rightstart also welcomes donations – funds as well as new, unwrapped gifts from the organization’s wish list – year-round. People wishing to donate items like pajama bottoms, hoodie sweatshirts, gloves, hats and socks as well as for personal care kits may drop them off at the Chamber office at 4 Western Ave. in South Paris, but contact Director John Williams at 207-743-2281 to make sure the building is open, or they may call Delamater directly at 207-539-4587 to make other arrangements.

Kohen Hewins, five, of Oxford placed a large tote bag full of unwrapped gifts under the tree at 290 Main Street last Wednesday during Bearfoot Realty’s Christmas for Teens fundraising party. Bearfoot Realty owner Monica LaVerdierre said her business has collected more than $32,000 in community donations for the annual program. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

“Bearfoot Realty is a shining example of how our community comes together to support each other,” Delamater said. “Along with many other organizations and individuals who make our Christmas programs possible.

“Our volunteers also deserve recognition and thanks: our prime shopper Rose Schwaner, along with Carlene Treadwell, Rhonda Maher, Carol West, Deb LaFrance, Pam Colby, Nancy McClean Morrissette, Rach Edwards, Heather Delamater and Deb Edwards.”


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