Waban Telethon raises $86,472
SANFORD — The 40th Annual Waban Telethon once again enjoyed the community’s support last weekend.
“Stepping up in hard times to help others is what our community has always done, and this year was no exception,” Waban Executive Director Neal Meltzer stated. “In spite of being in the grip of an economic recession for three years, individuals, businesses, and organizations came together and demonstrated their unflagging support of the programs at Waban . . .”
The event — held at Mousam View Place on High Street on Saturday — raised $86,472 that will be used for developmental therapy, specialized equipment, assessment services, therapeutic recreation, and other educational and habilitation-based services for children who attend the Waban Child Development Center, the infant-toddler program or the assessment program, or receive services from the case management program.
In the course of one year, Waban’s Child Development Center provides service to more than 150 children ages 3 through 5. The organization’s infant-toddler program and assessment programs will support more than 50 children ages two-and-a-half and younger, while the case management program will provide services to more than 100 children and their families. All the children have special needs that require specialized training and equipment.
Waban, based on Route 4, also provides a number of quality-of-life opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities.
St. Therese of Lisieux Parish sponsored the telethon, the roots of which Holy Family Church helped establish in 1971. Last weekend’s event — which Metrocast Cablevision produced and televised, along with Time-Warner Cablevision — featured such entertainment as local musicians, basketball players, dancers, gymnasts and other, testimonies from families who have benefited from Waban’s services, and raffles of such big-ticket items as a kayak. WCSH meteorologist Kevin Mannix hosted alongside brothers Jim and RJ Legere and Kristen Guillemette Perfeuto, who works for Boston Medical Hospital.
In a nice surprise, Sandy and Bud Legere showed up to help with hosting duties and mark the occasion’s 40th anniversary. Originally, both were supposed to participate in the telethon remotely from Florida. Sandy Legere has been affiliated with the telethon throughout its four-decade history — her mother, Dee Rodrigue, is the Holy Family parishioner who started it in 1971.
During the telethon, Shain’s of Maine introduced its new flavor, Raspberry Bliss, which was created especially for Waban, and Senator Jon Courtney presented a joint resolution from the State Legislature honoring the telethon and the local difference it has made.
Speaking of making a difference, Waban also presented its twin “Making a Difference” awards on Saturday. Longtime Waban staff member Connie Garnett received one of the awards for her dedicated and inspirational service to the organization during the last 20 years. Jan Fraser and Charlene (Ford) Ralston received the community-based “Making a Difference” Award for their outstanding contributions and support of individuals with disabilities.
Also during the telethon, Wabans’ Child Development Center was rededicated and named the Fraser-Ford Child Development Center in recognition of Fraser’s and Ford’s three decades of leadership, dedication, and efforts. The center has been providing services to children with special needs since 1972.
On behalf of Waban, Meltzer this week acknowledged those who helped make the telethon a success.
“Waban is exceptionally grateful and appreciative for all the tremendous support we received from all the volunteers and donors both before and during the telethon,” he said.