Central Aroostook ARC Established in 1959
"Making a difference for people with developmental disabilities"

Current News

June 21, 2017

                                                                                                              Poetry Busters Night a Huge Success

In May, Central Aroostook Association coordinated an event to showcase the talents of individuals who attend programs at their facility or are supported by the Association in their respective communities.

Wintergreen Arts Center hosted a poetry night where Poetry Busters prepared and presented their works of art, photography and poetry.  Joining the evening of arts event were Brian Mosher and Doug Cronkite, members of the band Common Crossing who played a variety of music. 

The event, which is being considered as an annual event, was an opportunity for experiential learning and research to gain knowledge of the arts.  Considering the popularity and enthusiasm from attendees, the event will likely be promoted in the community for future events.  Sally Burnell, co-coordinator of the event commented “feedback has been positive and ongoing since we held the event.  The committee did a tremendous job with planning and soliciting interest.  So much so, inquiries from the public have been very supportive and offered their participation.  We’re hoping that this event can be coupled with other downtown events that occur at various time throughout the year.”


May 9, 2017

Opportunity Training Center Summer Schedule for June 2017

    Monday 19                              Tuesday  20                           Wednesday  21                                Thursday 22                              Friday 23

Group 1 Movies                        Group 2 Movies                      Group 1 Mini Golf                            Group 2 Mantle Lake                      Group 1 Fishing

    Monday 26                              Tuesday 27                            Wednesday 28                                Thursday 29                               Friday 30

Group 2 Movies                        Goup 1 Movies                       Group 2 Mini Golf                            Group 1 Mantle Lake                 Group 2 Swimming (9:30-10:30)


Opportunity Training Center Schedule for July 2017

   Monday 10                              Tuesday 11                               Wednesday 12                                Thursday 13                                Friday 14

Group 1 Movies                        Group 2 Movies            Group 1 Goughan's/Blackstone Farms           Group 2 Haystack                   Group 1 Swimming (9;30-10:30)

   Monday 17                               Tuesday 18                               Wednesday 19                                 Thursday 20                                Friday 21

Group 2 Movies                        Group 1 Movies                      Group 2 Goughan's Farm                    Group 1 Haystack                  Group 2 Swimming (9:30-10:30)

No Program 24th -31st

  Monday 31

Group 1 Movies


Opportunity Training Center Schedule for August 2017

                                                      Tuesday 1                                 Wednesday 2                                   Thursday 3                                  Friday 4

                                                  Group 2 Movies                            Group 1 Bowling                                Group 2 Fishing            Group 1 Swimming (9:30-10:30)

      Monday 7                                Tuesday 8                                 Wednesday 9                                  Thursday 10                                Friday 11

   Group 2 Movies                        Group 1 Movies                            Group 2 Bowling                             Group 1 Family BBQ                 Group 2 Family BBQ




Maine State Council Knights of Columbus Supports Aroostook Special Olympics

The Knights of Columbus Maine State Council recently notified recipients of the 2017 Program for People with Disabilities Fund.  Among the recipients for a consecutive year was Aroostook County Special Olympics Area Management Team.

Maine State Council Knights of Columbus donated $500 to Central Aroostook Association for the Special Olympics Regional Games.   State Secretary Mark Bourgoin presented the check to assist in their endeavors for the upcoming event.  Bourgoin stated, “the coordination and dedication involved in the planning and implementation of these regional games does not go unnoticed.  We recognize your good work and wish all athletes the best of luck on competition day.” 

Accepting the funds was Special Olympics Area Management Team member Michele Blackstone.  Blackstone added “we’ve been overwhelmed by the generous contributions made by Maine State Council Knights of Columbus.  Their dedication to provide donations that enable our athletes to practice, compete, and excel in our Regional Games is sincerely appreciated.”

The Knights of Columbus donated $14,000 to 16 recipients throughout Maine and the Central Aroostook Special Olympics was one of two in in the County.   The monies come from the Program for People with Disabilities (formerly called Tootsie Roll Program) that the Knights of Columbus has coordinated for many years.  

Recipients must be organizations that assist in the well-being of the people of Maine with intellectual and physical disabilities of all ages.  



PIMS and OTC Collaboration A Continued Success

An ongoing partnership between Central Aroostook Association’s Opportunity Training Center and Presque Isle Middle School continued into its 12th year through the holiday season.  The relationship has grown to facilitate a connection between two educational institutions.  A collaboration that has seen great success with the excitement of students and effort of OTC Director Paula Perkins and Kevin Sipe, ELA and Social Studies teacher at PIMS.

Perkins and Sipe discussed ways to merge and support students with new opportunities that would diversify typical learning environments.  What started as units taught to both 7th grade classes in the areas of Greek mythology, Stonehenge, and England grew to the history and simulation of Olympic events and partnering to do community activities. 

Perkins expanded on the initiative stating “In addition to the ongoing teaching collaborative, we have incorporated a community component that reaches out to the Presque Isle Nursing Home, which we have done for the past four years.  We visit the residents, give homemade Christmas cards and ornaments to them, and entertain with holiday caroling at the facility.  Students of both classes practice together and their energy is contagious.”    

Sipe explains “My students come away from these exchanges more thoughtful, more understanding, more compassionate, and more confident in their relations with others.  It is important for them to see that they are part of a larger community than just their school and that they need to interact positively with everyone in their community.”  Sipe also added, “I feel it is so important for students to interact with lots of people as a way of developing social skills, interpersonal relationship skills, and compassion.   My students gain so much from these exchanges.  They are able to remove themselves from their own worries and concerns and focus on making someone else happy with no reward other than the good feeling of having done something nice for someone else.”

Plans for creating a spring 2017 activity are in the planning stage. ##



Aroostook Special Olympics Recipient of Maine Potato Board, Farm Credit East Donation

In conjunction with the Maine Potato Board, Farm Credit East’s Presque Isle, Maine, office hosted its second annual golf tournament this summer. Through its newly formed non-profit, Northern Maine Agricultural Foundation, the event was able to raise $6,900 for three local charities.  Special Olympics Aroostook will be one of three recipients of $2,300 to support the regional events.

Aroostook County’s Special Olympics program was established over 20 years ago with oversight by Central Aroostook Association and eventually grew to requiring its own organizing committee. State agencies, municipalities, and school districts provide valuable resources and strong volunteer involvement.  Certified activities include track and field, aquatics, basketball, and soccer. The “Snow dogs” basketball team has notably achieved state championship titles and continues to be a leader and competitive rival at state competitions.

Farm Credit East extends more than $6 billion in loans and has 21 local offices in its seven-state service area, including one in Presque Isle, Maine. In addition to loans and leases, the member-owned cooperative also offers a full range of agriculturally specific financial services, such as tax preparation and planning, profitability consulting, record-keeping and payroll, for businesses related to farming, forestry and commercial fishing. Farm Credit East is governed by a 17-person board of directors. For more information, visit FarmCreditEast.com.


October 28, 2016

Central Aroostook Association recently recognized longevity accomplishments for 17 staff who work as Direct Support Professionals and supervisors, Education Technicians, program managers, case managers, administrative assistants, and board certified behavioral analyst teachers. Their achievements were announced at the Association’s annual employee appreciation dinner held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Presque Isle on October 21st.

Celebrating 5 years of service include: Courtney Cote, administrative assistant; Becky Boucher, case manager; Brenda Latevola, direct support professional; Michael Doucette, education technician; Sharon McLaughlin, waiver home manager; and Gloria Labreck, direct support professional. Completing ten years of service include April Archer, home & community supports coordinator; Doug Steenwyk, direct support professional; Bryant Lewis, direct support professional; Sandra Hanscomb, waiver home manager; and Sharon Nadeau, direct support professional. Fifteen years of service are Dara Lagassie, education technician; Dianne Foster, M.Ed, teacher; Michele Blackstone, M.Ed teacher; and Patty Dean, director support professional. Twenty years of service is Scott Searles, work services manager/association trainer; and Kelly Gagnon, education technician, has reached 30 years of service.


October 14, 2016

On October 7th, members of the Opportunity Training Center (special purpose private school) attended a conference titled Arostook County Autism at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.  130 participants and 6 vendors converged in the Campus Center for a very unique learning experience.  The conference schedule included highly regarded and trained professionals within the field of Autism.  Among keynote speakers Larry Bissonnette and Tracy Thresher was guest Atlee Reilly of Disability Rights Maine.  Dr. Paul Johnson discussed Fostering home-school collaborations, a keynote on Coexisting conditions by Dr. Margaret Bauman and breakout sessions with Dr. Silvia Merida Copeland on medication management, Dr Ajay Rana addressing pediatric gastroenterology and autism, and Disability Rights Maine on supported decision making.  The full day event was sponsored by AASG.   


September 12, 2016 

From September 11-17 Central Aroostook Association will join organizations nationwide to pay special tribute to direct support professionals (DSPs) who assist individuals with developmental disabilities to live fulfilling lives. This 9th consecutive National Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week is in appreciation of the hands-on care and tireless effort set forth by dedicated, well-trained staff.

DSPs are the primary provider for people needing assistance in order to establish the highest quality of life and level of achievement. DSPs are responsible for a broad range of personal assistance including preparation of meals, cleaning, helping with medications, mobility, medical appointments, accessing community resources, safety in the community, among many other tasks.  DSPs provide a critical link to help keep individuals with disabilities connected to family, friends, and community. 

Central Aroostook Association’s board of directors and leadership team extend a sincere thank you to staff who, day after day, commit themselves to making life for others better with their assistance.  



Opportunity Training Center Summer Schedule for June

                    Monday 20                                       Tuesday  21                                   Wednesday 22                            Thursday  23                            Friday 24    

            Group 1 Movies                 Group 2 Mini Golf                    Group 1 Fishing           Group 2 Horticulture        Group 1 Horticulture

                Monday 27                                Tuesday 28                          Wednesday 29                     Thursday   30                  Friday July 1     

           Group 2 Movies                        Group 1 Movies                         Group 2 Fishing             Group 1 Horticulture            Group 2 Horticulture/Swimming


 Opportunity Training Center Summer Schedule for July


             Monday  11                         Tuesday 12                          Wednesday  13                               Thursday 14                         Friday 15

Group 1 Movies                         Group 2 Haystack                    Group 2 Goughan's Farm      Group 2 Horticulture/Swimming     Group 1-Horticulture/Swimming

           Monday 18                          Tuesday 19                             Wednesday 20                               Thursday 21                         Friday  22

Group 2  Movies                      Group 2 Haystack                    Group 2 Goughan's Farm        Group 1 Horticulture/Swimming    Group 2 Horticulfure/Swimming


    Opportunity Training Center Summer Schedule for August


                                       Monday     1                      Tuesday 2                    Wednesday  3                   Thursday 4                              Friday 5

                          Group 1- Movies                       Group 2 MiniGolf               Group 1-Bowling    Group2 Horticulture/Swimming    Group 1 Horticulture Swimming

                                     Monday    8                       Tuesday   9                     Wednesday   10               Thursday    11                         Friday  12

                          Group 2-Movies                      Group 1-Movies                Group 2-Bowling    Group 1 Horticulture/family BBQ   Group 2 Horticulture/family BBQ




                                                      Aroostook County Special Olympics Receives K of C Donation

The Knights of Columbus Maine State Council recently notified recipients of the 2016 Program for People with Disabilities Fund (also known as the Tootsie Roll Fund). Among the recipients was the Aroostook County Special Olympics Area Management Team. 

Mark Bourgoin, State Treasurer of Knights of Columbus presented a check for $500 to recognize the efforts of and financially contribute toward Aroostook County Special Olympics. Accepting the funds was long-time Special Olympics Area Management Team member Steve Richard, Executive Director of Central Aroostook Association.  Bourgoin stated “We recognize the good works your organization has been doing for Special Olympics in Aroostook County.  We hope these funds continue to assist you with future endeavors.”

Aroostook County’s Special Olympics program was established over 20 years ago with oversight by Central Aroostook Association and eventually grew to requiring its own organizing committee. State agencies, municipalities, and school districts provide valuable resources and strong volunteer involvement.

Certified activities include track and field, aquatics, basketball, and soccer. The “Snowdogs” basketball team has notably achieved state championship titles and continues to be a leader and competitive rival at state competitions. The $500 donation by the Knights of Columbus has been earmarked for summer program’s equipment and supplies. 





County Box & Pallet Celebrates 4 Years of No Lost Time

Less than one year after receiving their national safety and health achievement recognition program (S.H.A.R.P) designation, County Box & Pallet is celebrating the achievement of 4 years no-lost-time due to injury. The major milestone was achieved on February 26th. 

County Box & Pallets (CBP), a program of Central Aroostook Association, operates from a leased building located at 96 Houlton Road in Presque Isle Maine. The building consists of 9600 square feet of which approximately 9200 square feet is used for the production area.  The remaining footage consists of an office, break/lunch room and two bathrooms. The work space is used for dismantling, repairing, manufacturing and storing new and refurbished pallets. A dismantler is used to tear apart any used pallets deemed not feasible for repair and the parts will be used for the refurbishing of used pallets that can be repaired.  The assembly line consists of two rail systems surrounded by work table stations that staff use to either repair or build new pallets.  CBP manufactures or repairs approximately 80,000 pallets per year and makes 50,000 construction stakes annually.  All workers are required to use personal safety equipment including but not limited to, eye, ear, feet and hand protection.

From its inception CBP has always had an acute focus on safety. The employees of CBP see safety not only as a critical component to their workplace but also as a culture necessary to be productive and competitive in the current pallet market.



3/16/2016                                                                  Expansion of Adult Program Offers More Space for Services

The Central Aroostook Association Board of Directors, Administration, and Staff celebrated the completion of a construction and renovation project to the facility to benefit one of its largest programs. Adult Day Services Program for individuals having intellectual disabilities has been occupied and open for services.  

Central Aroostook Association has evolved into 8 programs that employs 150 staff throughout central Aroostook County. After stabilizing through growth and retention over recent years, Executive Director Steve Richard and Adult Services Director Pam Powers conducted an assessment and soon thereafter entered planning mode to create more usable space for services.  The effort has nearly doubled usable space and has improved the scope and efficiency of care including day room, audio and video technology, private medication room, physical/occupational therapy room, large activity areas, and deck. 

“It’s common to hear of the term quality in the service delivery world these days. We have been a long-time regional leader in providing a variety of person-centered service through the years and we’re confident this investment will exceed expectations of the individuals who attend our program.” Powers stated.

In addition to the program expansion, Central Aroostook Association also built a storage facility to house vehicles and equipment. The 30-acre facility has been home to Central Aroostook Association since 1967 following a government subsidy to provide opportunities to individuals diagnosed with physical and developmental disabilities. 




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