Midcoast Recreation Center seeks votes to launch programs in underserved communities

Sat, 09/10/2022 - 11:00am

ROCKPORT — The Midcoast Recreation Center is in the running for a grant award of up to $10,000 from WinterKids to launch a public skating and tennis program in nearby underserved communities.

Grantees will be selected by online community votes throughout the month of September. Each person may cast one vote per email address until September 30 by visiting WinterKids.org/D24Fund and selecting MRC on the website.

If MRC receives this award, it will launch a “Pay it Forward” program inspired by some of MRC’s young hockey players, Dexter and John Falla. In 2021, Dexter and John had an idea. They wanted all kids in their community to be able to skate anytime they wanted to.

For their ninth birthdays, they gave up gifts and instead asked everyone they knew to donate skates for their “Pay it Forward” program. In partnership with MRC and the St. George parks and recreation department, their family put a lending library/locker next to their community’s outdoor rink. All winter long, community members borrowed skates and spent time at the rink — all for free!

RELATED STORY: ‘I really want kids to know how to skate’: Dexter Falla collecting skates for town rink in pay it forward campaign

Now, MRC wants to expand their idea to provide skating and tennis equipment lending libraries in nearby underserved communities to give more people access to skating, hockey and tennis.

A donor has already come forward and volunteered to build the lending libraries, and the MRC is seeking grant funding to cover remaining costs. If the grant is received, MRC will also provide free or low-cost programming at each site to get more community members learning how to skate and play hockey and tennis – all lifetime sports. This program is part of MRC’s mission to promote healthy living in the community through fitness and sports program.

“MRC is grateful for all the support it receives from the community and asks that each reader takes a moment to support this exciting new project and venture that will benefit many in Knox, Lincoln, and Waldo counties,” said Jesse Simko of the MRC. “John and Dexter are also excited to see their idea turn into a larger ‘Pay it Forward’ community movement giving everyone a chance to skate and play hockey and tennis outdoors.”