Westbrook Community Center’s activities mirror the diversity of the people they serve. Adult-enrichment classes bring together crafty and inquisitive minds, teaching participants to knit mittens, take digital photographs, or understand veteran burial benefits. Youth programs center around hands-on exploration and movement. In Rock Star Cooking for Kids, locally renowned chef Josh Gelston teaches elementary-aged pupils how to cook a meal that doesn’t involve yarn and Skittles. Yoga, belly dancing, and swimming round out a long list of sports and fitness classes that serve participants of all ages. The calendar keeps track of the seasonally changing athletic, artistic, and educational opportunities.
For more than 150 years, Maine Audubon has championed Maine's wildest inhabitants with educational, engaging programs and wildlife and wildlife habitat advocacy. Members join the statewide nonprofit’s fight to maintain the population of native plant and animal life while interacting with furred and feathered planet mates through discounted access to activities such as the Eyes on Owls program ($5 for a child; $10 for an adult). Maine Audubon visitors can explore centers and sanctuaries such as the Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary and the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center, whose kayak rentals ($15/hour) allow paddlers to view off-duty ice sculptures and snowmen taking summer holidays. Maine Audubon's headquarters, Gilsland Farm, also unite members with 65 acres of trails, community gardens, and discounted wildlife-friendly gifts in the nature store.
The kitchen crew at Sahara Mediterranean Bar & Grill shaves tender layers of their popular chicken shawarma from the spit of a traditional vertical broiler, helping them earn the title of Detroit’s Best Middle Eastern restaurant from Local 4 viewers in summer 2011. Vegetarian options range from a falafel sandwich to the smoothly textured adas lentil soup, with beans that chefs carefully crush with an announcement that none of them made their high school’s baseball team. The menu also includes house specialties such as the potato chop—seasoned beef stuffed inside a golden-brown, deep-fried potato shell.
Sips from specialty drinks and smoky hookahs add a sweeter dimension to meals as diners perch on dark hardwood seating. The furnishings contrast visually with butter-yellow walls on which murals appear to emerge from behind crumbling stone.
For more than 25 years, the maritime enthusiasts at The Lighthouse Preservation Society have worked to maintain the endangered lighthouses of the United States, some more than 200 years old. Their efforts have sponsored National Lighthouse Day, helped create the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act and the National Lighthouse Museum, and raised nearly $6 million toward more than 160 lighthouse-restoration projects. Day to day, they lead lighthouse tours and present lighthouse-related presentations, gather historic documents and artifacts, and manufacture replica replacement parts.
They also ignite lighthouse-centered enthusiasm through special events and private dining at the Newburyport Lighthouse. Lauded by Yankee Magazine, the intimate multicourse meals pair sea- and land-focused dishes with views of the town harbor and historic waterfront buildings. The small circular room, nestled at the top of the lighthouse, surrounds diners with padded benches and panoramic windows.
After many hours of hard, dirty work, clearing out debris and installing new flooring at the Salem Animal Rescue League, Project Pawsitive Foundation president Jill Sullivan Grueter looked at her team's completed project with pride. "I could picture the rescue getting more people in to adopt because the place looked clean. It looked safe," she gushed in a YouTube chronicle of the project, "It was an awesome feeling." Animal shelters devote themselves to caring for neglected animals until they can be placed into loving homes, but a lack of funding or natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy can leave facilities damaged and potentially unsafe. That's where the construction experts and business professionals of the Project Pawsitive Foundation team come in, volunteering their time and abilities to help shelters stay open and continue their work of saving animals in need. Project Pawsitive Foundation relies on donations and sponsorships, and strives to renovate four or more animal rescues each year.