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Published as a Public Service by REM, Convenor of Collaborative Community Enterprises Fall 2007

On the Cover

Giving Thanks To Special People

By Faye Nicholson, with Gregor Smith

2007 REM Award Honorees

Hospice Volunteers of Waterville Area Meg Wickes
Inland Hospital Eric D. Chamberlain
Kennebec Messalonskee Trails Rene Burdet
Kennebec Valley Community College Jacquie Graf
Kotlas Waterville Area Sister City Connection Gregor Smith
Maine Dance Teachers Association Eleanor Douglas
MaineGeneral Medical Center All Their Volunteers
Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter Kelly Giles
Rape Crisis Assistance and Prevention David Livingstone
REM Gregor Smith
Waterville Public Library Susan Spaulding

It seems very appropriate that as Thanksgiving nears, we prepare for the REM Award Ceremony, which celebrates the giving nature of our most exemplary volunteers. I invite you to come to ceremony the Waterville Opera House on Saturday, November 3, 2007 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Afterwards, we will have an elaborate reception in the REM Forum, just across the skywalk and down two flights of stairs. Both the ceremony and the reception are free.

The ceremony is being organized by the REM Partners, a coalition of 54 nonprofit organizations that work together to identify community problems and develop programs to address them. Membership is open to any nonprofit entity (including schools, hospitals, churches, governmental agencies, and nongovernmental organizations) that is active in the Waterville area. At the ceremony, we will distribute our new REM Partners Directory for 2008. The directory contains descriptions of and contact information for all 54 REM Partners, as well as a Directory of Community Conscious Businesses.

If you've never been to a REM Award Ceremony, you're missing a great community experience. It is full of down home music and dance, served up by amazingly talented people who live and work with us every day. Maureen Morison who has directed the talent part of the show every year, will again thrill us with her dance students. Two groups of her students, toddlers and teens, will perform. I particularly enjoy the incredible evolution the students from the time the start out, at ages 3 and 4, to their teens. How can they learn so much in so few years?

This year Ellen Gawler, a Belgrade fiddler, will share the extraordinary talent of her violin students, the Pineland Fiddlers. These young artists, ages 8 to 18, perform folk music of Maine, Quebec, and the Maritimes. If you haven't heard them, you should. The violin is such an intricate instrument and normally it takes many, many years to master. Somehow Ellen manages to lead these youth into magical relationships with that instrument.

Also, new this year, Raffi D. & the French Connection will perform their own acoustic music that blends folk, rock, and pop. This local trio features Raffi Der Simonian on guitar and vocals, Pat Michaud on percussion, and Adam Miller on bass. Der Simonian has performed throughout New England and has released two albums. The Worcester (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette has described the band's sound as "an upbeat brand of laid-back rock."

As we did last year, we will present a video with short interviews with several of the honorees, each talking about the work that they perform for their respective organizations. The ceremony will conclude with the actual presentation of the awards and individual recognition of each honoree. Former local radio host Eric Leimbach will again be the master of ceremonies.

The best way to thank exemplary honorees is with exemplary thanks. Your attendance thanks not only honors the honorees but the organizations that chose them. The work of these nonprofits produces the high quality of life we enjoy in this community. To serve us well, many organizations depend upon volunteers and hired staff being willing to give service above self. They deserve and need your support. If you know any of the following organizations or know their honoree, I hope you'll be there for them.

The very nature of the ceremony, a collaborative event of all 54 REM Partner organizations, displays our natural inclination to join hands and work together. It is a joyful thing to join hands in celebration of what is best in our nature. Loving and giving is the best of the human experience. Celebrating that is important. It teaches others to aspire and in so doing, kicks human nature up a notch and makes this wonderful community even better.

To read about and see pictures of past ceremonies and past honorees, vist the REM Awards section of our web site.