OUT Maine welcomes Will Ames, Vanessa Shields-Haas, and Cynthia Turcotte to its Board. The new board members bring their diverse personal and professional experiences to OUT Maine’s leadership.
Vanessa Shields-Haas is a forensic nurse examiner working with survivors of sexual assualt, domestic violence and child abuse in Waldo, Knox and Lincoln counties. She is nearly finished with her Family Nurse Practitioner degree and looks forward to being a gender-affirming and LGBTQ+-friendly primary care provider in Midcoast Maine. Shields-Haas lives in Rockland with her wife, two rescue dogs and a naughty cat. They are looking forward to welcoming their first human child in October 2020.
Will Ames grew up in Stonington, and graduated from Smith College in 2015 with a degree in Sociology. Now in Portland, Ames is passionate about uplifting the LGBTQ+ community and using his experience to make hospitality venues safer for everyone. Last fall, Ames volunteered for the first OUT Maine weekend at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, which was an intensive art-and-craft-making retreat attended by over 60 LGBTQ+ youth from around the state and taught by LGBTQ+ artists from around the country.
Cynthia Turcotte is a former high school teacher for over 20 years and Gay/Straight/Trans Alliance adviser for ten. She has worked with and supported LGBTQ+ youth throughout her teaching career. She loves volunteering at the Rainbow Ball, an OUT Maine annual weekend and safe prom that hosts 200 LGBTQ+ and allied youth in Maine, and has for many years. Since leaving teaching, she has been working with her husband, Tom Fair, at their business – Applewald Farm. They are helped at the farm by their two grown sons, one of whom is part of the LGBTQ+ family.
“The new board members have a strong dedication to the well-being of LGBTQ+ youth in Maine and the staff of OUT Maine is excited to work with them towards the shared goal of making Maine more welcoming and affirming for LGBTQ+ youth,” said OUT, in a news release.
OUT Maine works toward a welcoming and affirming Maine for all rural young people of diverse sexual orientations, gender expressions and gender identities. In partnership with their allies and families, OUT Maine supports, educates and empowers these youth in their journey from adolescence to adulthood. OUT Maine is a 501(c)(3) exempt organization. For more information, visit www.outmaine.org.