To the Editor:

Your readers may have noticed yard signs and banners appearing throughout SAD44 recently with messages like, “Hard things happen; but these things do not define us” and “Make a connection; resilience starts by reaching out.” These materials have been placed throughout our communities by the school district’s Resilience Team to help start the school year with a focus on our youth, and to invite everyone in our community to show up for local youth in a way that affirms how much we value all young people.

For several years, our team has been hard at work to make sure that the important business of education is being carried out in a supportive, nurturing environment. By meeting students where they are at, building social-emotional intelligence, and giving them skills to manage emotions and setbacks, we feel we’re setting them up to be more resilient people who can be more successful students.

National experts like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Surgeon General have called youth mental health a priority. Maine made headlines in recent years for leading the nation with rates of children with diagnosed anxiety. We are acting locally to support positive youth mental health.

We sincerely thank all of the supportive community members and local businesses who are helping to get this message out. Window clings, placemats, crayon packs, posters, and more can be found at many of our local businesses. Readers can find more info at

Gina Lavoie

MSAD#44 – District Resiliency Coach



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