RANGELEY — A group of local business owners recently teamed up in an effort to support area children and the impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on them.
Sam Hight, of Hight Family of Dealerships, in collaboration with Skowhegan Savings Bank, Kyes Insurance, and Saddleback Maine raised $16,500 for four different non-profit youth programs throughout Franklin County: Rangeley Alpine Ski Club, Rangeley Health and Wellness Kids’ Program, Little Mountain School, and Titcomb Mountain.
Early in 2020, the Hight Family of Dealerships supported Main Street Skowhegan’s technical assistance program and spearheaded the newly formed Somerset Economic Resource Council to provide community grants to small businesses impacted by COVID. In total, $120,000 in grant funding was raised to help local businesses keep their doors open.
“In 2021, it is important to remember who ultimately and undeservingly takes the biggest hit in times like these, our children, the ones we can all learn from. Whether it is their kindness or acceptance of others, or doing their best, not knowing otherwise,” Hight said.
Beginning in late 2020 Hight along with other local businesses supported the ToyRiffic Toy Drive and Sweet Dreams project in Skowhegan— offering toys, pajamas and gifts to local children, local food programs, and gift programs sponsored by Rangeley Fire Department.
“We are pleased to team up with these businesses and organizations who are like-minded in developing initiatives that help make our communities a better place to live and work,” said David Cyr, president and CEO of Skowhegan Savings Bank. “Sam and The Hight Family of Dealerships really stepped up to drive these programs, supporting them is one more way that Skowhegan Savings can help our local communities during these difficult times.”
In September, Saddleback Mountain and the Hight Family of Dealerships announced a newly-formed partnership to help drive a growth in jobs and services for the Rangeley Community.
“Rangeley has taken my family in as one of their own, I’ve wanted to give back to kids’ programs which will offer better accessibility, learning opportunities, and focus on healthy outdoor lifestyles, no only to support but as a thank you. I am thankful to have partners that care and are willing to help support this initiative,” said Hight.
“Our youth are quickly becoming a “nature deficit” generation,” said Andy Shepard, General Manager at Saddleback Mountain. “This generation has prioritized time in front of a screen over time outdoors, and the implications that has for the emotional and physical health of our youth is concerning…Saddleback is committed to providing year-round opportunities for children to grow up surrounded by outdoor recreation and education.”
According to Leslie White, Executive Director of Rangeley Health and Wellness, “Our children’s programs are designed to promote holistic wellness and health of each child. We incorporate components of physical activity, creative expression, and nutrition into our programs which encourage growth and development in a proactive way. Now more than ever, we believe that encouraging healthy behaviors, curiosity and resilience within children is essential for them to become strong community members.”
“There are obviously many organizations that deserve the added support. We also cannot forget the local businesses and individuals that have supported these programs for many years,” said Hight. “We felt that now was a critical time to help the efforts. Our goal is to raise awareness of these wonderful programs to be good neighbors, and do what you can—give, volunteer, be part of the common good.”
Similarly, Kate Philbrick, from The Little Mountain School echoed these sentiments, “Little Mountain School provides an excellent educational foundation for the future of our children. The Rangeley community has been incredibly supportive of our organization, especially as we navigate through uncharted territory.”