Founder Connor Archer continues to fulfill one of his missions of the Courageous Steps Project: educating people about the challenges of Autism, along with other challenges in the community. "It has been great to be able to continue educating those about the challenges of Autism, as well as other challenges" said Connor Archer in a brief statement recently.
Archer continued his speaking engagements recently at the Brewer Community School where he spoke to the Brewer School Department's Special Education staff on Thursday June 16th, consisting of staff from the lower levels all the way up through senior year of high school. There were some even familiar faces to Connor that used to work with him.
The founder focused on sharing his story first, which lead to the creation of Courageous Steps. Connor also invited his mom to share her 24 years of experience as an educator who has experienced the challenges of Autism, as well as other challenges.
Connor hopes to continue these speaking engagements this summer, as he will continue to build that part of the project up. Soon Connor, will be having a fee for those speaking engagements. This will help with funding of materials for the Courageous Steps Project, along with other loose end items that help the project run successfully. "This was an important thing for me to think about, but I think having that money go towards that, is the best option, as it's not a donation" said Archer.
Recently, the Courageous Steps Project founder Connor Archer, has made it a goal of his since the sensory gardens at the Green House were created, to expand the gardens, and get more support for the sensory gardens, which have been established now for 5 years.
Earlier this week, he heard back from Black Bear Lawn Care in Orono, who jumped on board with the cause and donated soil, as well as mulch for the gardens. "This was the biggest donation we've had for the sensory gardens" said founder Connor Archer, who already got flowers and vegetables donated earlier in the week from Bagley's Green House and EverMay Nursery.
Archer hopes to have the gardens completed by Monday morning, when the Green House Nursery School's summer camp begins. A sign is also being created by Sarah Shorette who has students at the Green House Nursery School. "I'm excited to see how the staff and students react to the gardens" said Archer. "I'm hoping for a good outcome, and for the next two days to move in a smooth fashion" added Archer.
On Thursday June 16, the Veazie Community School Special Education department for the second year in a row received a donation from the Courageous Steps Project. This time, the donation was for $700.
The Veazie Community School has been a big contributor to the Courageous Steps Project's success kicking off the Courageous Steps Project's 'One Word' Challenge, accepting a box of school supplies from last year's back-to-school drive, and much more.
In the past two years, the school has received $1,200 from the Courageous Steps Project.
Here today taking the picture with founder Connor Archer are some staff members of the Veazie Community School Special Education Department.
If it were two years ago, you couldn't convince Connor Archer that a double digit figure would be possible. "Achieving that much money is a challenge, and it takes a lot of support from the community" said Archer.
Since the project's establishment in 2014, the total is now over $28,000, and close to approaching $30,000. $18,600 has been donated to local programs that help young children with challenges. Several other project's have taken place with the other funds, and the growth of the scholarship fund is impressive.
Archer wants to thank the local businesses for their tremendous support. The first year, there were 13 sponsors. Last year, there were 26 sponsors. This year, the project has collected 52 sponsors, and continues to seek businesses to support the project in other ways.
The project is not only about donating money to organizations. Projects such as the Green House Nursery School Sensory Gardens started in 2012, the technology initiative project at the school, 'One Word' Challenge videos with local schools, and so much more. This has truly demonstrated what the project is all about, and why the Courageous Steps Project continues to grow.
On Tuesday June 14, founder Connor Archer went to visit Brewer High School to deliver a check for $200 towards their unified basketball program. This comes after the amazing support from the surrounding communities in the Bangor area, for the Courageous Steps Project's 3rd annual walk-run event.
Pictured with Connor Archer, is a Unified Basketball athlete at Brewer High School, and Athletic Director David Utterback.
In the past two years, the project has given donations to special education programs, and non-profits that help these young children with challenges. This year, it was important to expand those efforts to programs that help children with challenges in the high school level in regards to athletics.
"I hope to continue to support more unified basketball programs in the Bangor area" says Connor Archer, who has now initiated the project's support for two unified basketball programs.
Next year, Archer does plan on supporting more of these programs. He says it's crucial for businesses in those communities to support the project, so these donations can happen.
Since 2012, the Green House Nursery School Sensory Learning Gardens have been growing every year. This has been made possible by green house's in the Orono area, and surrounding communities.
Today, Bagley's Green House donated vegetable plants for the garden, and Evermay Nursery donated plants for the sensory garden.
This summer, founder Connor Archer wants to add soil into the garden, along with mulch.
Besides that, it's just maintaining the plants that are already there. "This was the first part of the Courageous Steps Project, so continuing these gardens even when the project is expanding, is pretty cool" said Connor Archer.
Since the establishment of the gardens, children have learned to water the plants, remove weeds from the garden, and harvest vegetables for use in the school.
Archer hopes to continue the gardens in the coming years, as this is an important thing to do for the school.
On Monday June 13th, founder Connor Archer went to visit the RSU #26 (Orono) special education director Sharon Brady, to present her department with a donation of $1,000, made possible by the Courageous Steps Project's 3rd annual walk-run event in May.
This is the second year in a row that the department has received a donation from the Courageous Steps Project. In just two year's the department has received $2,000.
They've used the previous donation to buy a piece of adaptive P.E. equipment for the Asa Adams School playground. This year, they want to add a handicap swing on the Asa Adams School playground. For founder Connor Archer, giving to this program and knowing that they are using the donation for a cause like this, just allows you to relax and know that you are giving to the right places.
The special education office will notify us when they have installed the piece of equipment.
On Monday June 13th, founder Connor Archer visited the RSU #34 Special Education director Kimm Kenniston to present a check for $1,500 to their program.
This is the third year in a row that the program was benefited from the efforts of the Courageous Steps Project's 3rd annual walk-run event. In just three years, the program has received $3,500 from the Courageous Steps Project.
In the previous years, the department has used the funds to purchase iPads for young children with challenges up at Old Town Elementary School. Once they know what they've used the funds for, they will notify the Courageous Steps Project on what they used our donation for.
Green House Nursery School receives $5,000 from Courageous Steps Project grant sponsored by Prudential & NASSP
In May, founder Connor Archer took a trip to Washington D.C., where he was recognized for his state honoree award. He then was selected as one of America's Top 10 youth volunteers. Archer was selected out of a pool of 29,000 applicants from around the country.
Archer came home with a $1,000 award for the state honoree selection, and a $5,000 award for the national honoree award. He will use both of those awards for his education which will benefit the Courageous Steps Project in the future.
He also was given the task of selecting a non-profit to accept the $5,000 grant sponsored by Prudential finance and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Today, founder Connor Archer stopped by at the Green House to announce this great news to the parents, students, and faculty. This comes after a $2,000 donation to their program made possible by the work of the 3rd annual Courageous Steps Walk-Run fundraising campaign.
"I knew right when I received the national award, on who I was going to select for my organization" said Archer.
The founder will meet with the faculty about how to use these funds best. The plans for this summer include maintaining the gardens, and installing a storage shed, which will not affect the grant at all, according to Archer.
"I will continue to find the best possible way to use this grant, and how to make every cent count, said Archer, who will be a graduate of Old Town High School after tonight. "It's just incredible how this happened. Six years ago, I made a wish that the Green House would always be here, and i'm making that happen right now" said Archer. "It's an incredible feeling for not only myself, but for my family and the staff at the school" added Archer.
3rd annual Courageous Steps Back to School set for early August; other fundraisers set for this summer
The 3rd annual Courageous Steps Back-to-School Drive is coming up later this summer. Last year's fundraiser collected boxes for 12 area schools in the Eastern Maine region. This year, Archer hopes to make it better.
"The whole year has been better than the past two years combined" said founder Connor Archer, who is excited for the back-to-school drive and other fundraisers.
The date for the 3rd annual Courageous Steps Back-To-School Drive will be Thursday August 4th with a rain date of Friday August 5th, once again held at the Old Town Governor's Restaurant. "Last year, Governor's was the perfect location to have this drive, especially when it came to easy access for people to drop stuff off" said founder Connor Archer.
Archer hopes to see a better turnout for this year's back-to-school drive, as he hopes to donate to more than 12 area schools this year, and donate to more schools possibly. "This fundraiser is not so much about money as it is giving schools the resources to allow students to succeed" said Archer.
Along with the back to school drive, Connor will be having a Courageous Steps Benefit Dinner at the Old Town Governor's Restaurant on Tuesday August 9th. Time will be from 4pm to 8pm. This date may be changed so please stay tuned onto our website and facebook pages for updates.
As always, you can email Connor Archer at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any questions or comments?
Courageous Steps Project fundraiser held at Governor's - 8/9/16