Forum to address childhood poverty

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — One of three regional forums planned for the state to discuss community solutions to advance economic opportunity and address childhood poverty will be held Wednesday, March 29, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle.   

The event, Invest in Tomorrow: Solving Child Poverty is Everyone’s Business, will also be the venue for the public release of a recently completed and comprehensive community assessment for Aroostook County.

The community is invited to participate in the forum, which will feature state and regional experts leading discussion on what can be done to improve the future for Maine kids, the community and the economy.

“Taking steps to create opportunity and reduce barriers to employment for Maine families will improve their lives and contribute to the strength of Maine’s communities and our economy,” said Dana Connors, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and former Presque Isle city manager.

“The County was selected as one of the three places in Maine to hold one of the forums because of the region’s unique attributes and innovative spirit. Our goal is, with the feedback we receive in Aroostook — and at our two other forums in Piscataquis and Androscoggin Counties — that we will start to answer questions and develop solutions to challenges that demand our collective attention and action,” Connors said.

The Maine State Chamber of Commerce is one of 10 state and local organizations that have come together to host the regional forum in Aroostook County. Other partners include the John T. Gorman Foundation, Maine Children’s Alliance, Maine Community Action Association, Maine Community Foundation, Maine Equal Justice Partners, Aroostook County Action Program, Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce, Northeastern Workforce Development Board and United Way of Aroostook.

The newly completed analysis of community needs and assets will help add to the discussion. The assessment was conducted by consultant JSI, Inc., on behalf of ACAP and collaboratively with key stakeholders and the community at large. More than 1,000 Aroostook residents were engaged in the assessment process from completing surveys to participating in focus group discussions.

County residents are encouraged to participate in the forum. Refreshments will be served and copies of the Aroostook Community Assessment will be available. Financial assistance for childcare and transportation is available.  For more information or to request assistance, contact Gloria Duncan at ACAP at (207) 764-3721 or

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