Sunday, December 5, 2010

Gear Up College Prep and Scholarship Program

Many Jr high and high school students and their families who attend public schools are acquainted with the Gear Up college preparation and scholarship program for those that fall under the so called low income bracket. That said, there are likely those who for a variety of reasons such as homeschoolers for example who have never heard of its benefits.My son and I(Michelle) were homeschooling when we decided to use some of the public school services;that is when the junior high school counselor informed us about Gear Up.
Here is the US Dept Of Education Gear Up national guidelines link:
 Individual states do have their own links and individual policies. For example here is the Maine Gear Up page:
It is important to note that some colleges may not be familiar with the program. (A big reason for this is that many people are under the false impression that select schools are more expensive for low income families than select schools so  unfortunately academically qualified students  they simply do not apply The fact is select schools often have a much larger endowment than public universities. We learned about this fallacy from a Gear Up applying for college presentation)My son for example was admitted to a select college in ME as well as The University of Orono. Well, Orono was very familiar with the program but the private college was  not at all. They did do the necessary research and the funds went through.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Maine Assistance Programs

Hello all;
I (Michelle)just found a page that lists many financially related needs assistance programs within Maine.
I did not know that Maine had a Low Income Refrigerator Replacement program.  Many older refrigerators use up much more electricity than many of the newer models. 
The site didn't give links to all of the programs they mention such as the refrigerator program, however. We have mentioned some of them here. The refrigerator program has not been linked in the past so here so here it is now:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

United Way of Eastern Maine

I (Lauren) have always know about United way to see what the offer, they are partnered with several agencies in the area, such as:
The following 42 agencies are working with us to focus on the community's most critical issues and deliver quality health and human services to those who need it most.

Acadia Community Association
Amicus/Edward Bouchea Center For Learning
Bangor Area Homeless Shelter
Bangor Area Visiting Nurses
Bangor Y
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midcoast Maine
Broadreach Family & Community Services
Bucksport Area Childcare Center
Charlotte White Center
Community Health and Counseling Services
Downeast AIDS Network
Downeast Family YMCA
Downeast Health Services
Eastern Area on Aging­­
Eastern Maine Home Care­­
Faith in Action
Families and Children Together
Good Samaritan Agency
Greater Old Town Communities that Care
Healthy Acadia
The Housing Foundation
KidCare America
Legal Services for the Elderly
Literacy Volunteers of America-Bangor
Literacy Volunteers of Waldo County
Maine Mental Health Connections
My Friend's Place
­New Hope For Women
The Next Step
Old Town-Orono YMCA
Parents are Teachers Too
Piscataquis Regional YMCA
Shaw House
Shaw HouseSpectrum Generations
Spruce Run Association
Spurwink Services
United Cerebral Palsy of Northeastern Maine
University of Maine Center on Aging
University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Washington Hancock Community Agency
Wellspring, Inc.
Womancare/Aegis Association

Its great to see partnrships between different agencies! There website is seeing all of these agencies I know of many new things I want to look at and will post soon!

Mabel Wadsworth

I (Lauren) found this place for women's health! Their e-mail is they have many different services for women. There vision is: Knowledge about our bodies and our sexuality, Resources and clinical services offered in an environment of support and concern, A network that acknowledges our common experiences as women, A focal point for our energy in the enhancement and celebration of women’s lives, A feminist organization in Maine for the enrichment of all people .
This is great a place where women can go and receive help!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

College Programs and Note to all Visitors in Maine and Out of State

 First off we would like to welcome our first follower Camille,
A note to non Mainers including Camille: though many programs are just for Mainers, there are also many national programs listed here.

 Lower income parents of college bound students, did you know that college can be very affordable.
As an example, my son goes to a select private college that offers 100% need based aid. If my son(I;m Michelle) would have gone to the state university, it would have been $20,000 something more!Select schools are usually less expensive because they have larger endowments. Harvard for example offers free scholarships to all admitted students.
"Our new financial aid policy has dramatically reduced the amount families with incomes below $180,000 are expected to pay, and parents of families with incomes below $60,000 are not expected to contribute at all to college costs".
Yes, its extremely difficult to get in, that's why its important for students to apply to several schools.

There are also numerous scholarships programs that many college bound students and their parents simply are not aware of:

Quest Bridge is a national program that offers full scholarships at top notch colleges and universities to very high achieving low income students. Here is the main site: is the link to the National College Match Program:
They also have college prep programs:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

HomeSchooling Supplies Program and Visitor Request

 Hi visitors,
We have a request for you all- to please throw a post in the comment section. Are you looking for info on a particular service? been helped by a program? Know of programs yet to be mentioned ect?
The moderators☺

Are there any homeschoolers or would be homeschoolers out there? In addition to The Maine Children's Scholarship Fund I (Michelle) posted on Oct. 12, there is also The Book Samaritan,a national program, that provides homeschooling materials for homeschooling families in financial need.

Website's for Dad's to

I (Lauren) found these websites on Maine.gove for dad's: This website has many things for first time dads filled with information, articles, video's, a magazine and an ask a dad part. National Center for fathers for dads who are raising children with specail health care needs and developmental disabilites. great site for stay at home dads

WIC not just for mom's

WIC provides information about feeding children, shopping and cooking tips, parenting ideas, recipes and more. We can also help you find resources in your community or area.

You can apply for your children under the age of five and bring them to their appointments. You can be a single dad or a married dad. You can be a working dad - ask your local WIC office about early morning, evening or lunchtime appointments.

This is the link to see all the different locations of WIC offices and contact information

Found by Lauren

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Penquis Cap

I (Lauren) wanted to let everyone know about different services that Penquis offer because some people do not realize this. There web site is and you can also find them on faceboook at
Here is a list of some services

LiHEAP also know as Low-income Hom Energy Assistance Program this is to help with fuel assistances for families who need it, also if you qualify for this program you could also qualify for the Weatherization Program where they would help improve your home.

Family Development Account (FDA) this is a program where every dollor you save is going towards a purchase of a house, eduction or to start a business and the FDA Coalitin matches it with up to four additional dollars.

Penquis Community and Family supposr case managemtn services are available to help you find resources to help people through difficult times.

Head Start is available for free of charge to income eligibe families and they have different sites though out the state.

Assisted living services are located in Bangor, Millinocket, and Camden, 24 hour attendants in case of an emergency.

Journey House is a transitional housing program for pregnant an parenting young women ages 16-21 who are experiencing homelessness, at risk of homelessness or are in unsafe living situation. They have 24 hour support, case management, parenting and life skills traning, access to health care, childcare, and educational opportunites as well as job training.

Pathway Project no cost training opportunity will provide green construction skills, with support in apprenticeship, college credit, on job training and job placement support.

Parents are Teachers too, is a home visitng program that provides information, suppot, encouragement and ongoing play groups to first -time parents and teen parents.

Reverse Mortgages to homeowners age 62 and older.

Lynx Transportantion for individuals who need rides to medical and social sercice appointments fees depend on where you reside and where you are going.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hello visitors!
Just want to mention that The Gear Network here in Maine in addition to offering many parenting classes, (info on those can be found on our event calendar at the bottom of the page, Gear also offers monthly support groups around the state, to discuss  children's behavior and emotional concerns. Child care is provided during the meetings.
 Local groups can be found by clicking on the country in which the town is in.

Friday, October 15, 2010

New Link for Free/Very Low Cost Medical Insurance

 Hi everyone!please note that the search bar at the top of the blog page serves for finding topics. For example, if you are looking fro free  to Very Reduced Fees medical insurance programs, by typing in medical insurance, the posts on that topic will come up.

 I (Michelle)have  added a couple more resources for free/very lost cost medical  insurance programs to the post with Inland Hospital's Free Care Program  so that  the medical insurance programs are together.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Freecycle Network

There is a world wide program called Freecycle.  is an online message board for  local subgroups all over the world.The rules  for different subgroups may vary slightly-one rule is the same across the board- no money exchanges hands.]
Freecycle is a resource for members regardless of income to be able to request times and to give items if desired or possible. I (Michelle am a members of a few local Freecycle groups. One time, I received a full box of  Mothering Magazines.
 Just one in my local area requires members to post an offer, that is something they would like to give away before they post a request.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Maine Dental Clinics

Is anyone looking for dental care that costs less than typical dental fees.
In Maine, there are several dental clinics that offer reduced fees.
I (Michelle) have gone to the Bangor University College Clinic for cleaning where dental hygienist students work under the supervision of supervisors. I received excellent dental cleaning  there.I live about 45 min. away but even factoring in the gas prices, its much cheaper for me to go there rather than go to a dentist here for a cleaning.
The appts. do take longer than traditional dentist cleaning visits. The students are required to do an extensive question and answer intake. The visits can be broken up into 2 visits instead of just one.
 Here is a Maine state directory of dental clinics.

Some dental clinics have income guidelines while others like the Bangor University College Clinic do not.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Events Calendar

Dear visitors, just to point out, there are a couple of parenting workshops going  on in the next few days(evenings).

We here at the blog ask you visitors to please contact us. You can say hi letting us know you popped in, let us know if  if there is a particular type of program you are looking for:we will do research to see if  such a program exists.tell us any listing  has been personally helpful, or let us know about other resources that could help others.Lets pay it forward ah!☺

Private and Homeschool Funding

For parents out there who are seeking public school alternatives but feel it it is not financially possible, well as I (Michelle) like to say, there's always a solution to a so called problem.

 For those here in Maine, there actually is a private school fund for people who financially qualify.Here The Maine Children's Scholarship Fund's application page: fund does not just provide scholarship money  for children to attend for traditional private schools. Homeschoolers are also eligible to receive finds.
Applicants do not have to really every year as  the scholarships are" renewable annually at the sole option of the MCSF".

The applications

A few years back, I wrote an article on school choice affordability for a national audience at The Dollar Stretcher. The link is here:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Woodfords Family Services

This is a wonderful company that helps families with special needs. They have offices located in Westbrook, Topsham, Waterville, and Rockport. Woodfords helps those of every age, from toddlers to adults. The list of programs they have are:
They also offer training classes for anyone to sign up for. Forms are located on their website. 
The website for Woodfords is:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Free/Very Lost Cost Medical Insurance Programs

 I (Michelle) just learned of a new free insurance program offered by Waterville Maine's Inland Hospital. It is for people who do not qualify for Maine Care but can not personally afford the sky high out of pocket expense of other insurances.

One can fill out an application prior to receiving care or in the case of needing to go to the ER, one can receive care prior to filling out the form. If approved for the program, the cost will be covered.According to the website,the 2009  upper income guidelines for a family of 2 was $29,140.
Wendy Wing is the   program's  financial adviser;she can be reached at 861-3025.

 Eastern Maine Medical Center (The hospital is in Bangor which Inland in Waterville is  actually part of, has a free or reduced rate insurance care program:

Maine General  at both  their current Augusta and Waterville locations has two free to low coast insurance Programs and also have financial counselors::

Sabasticook Valley Health (Their hospital is  in Pittsfield, physicians are in surrounding towns) also has a Free Care Program:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Housing Affordability

.Many people do not realize that it can be less expensive per month in many cases to own a home than to rent and apartment. And the savings in the long run is enormous. I (Michelle) know from personal experience.
Here is one example  that is from  the Central Maine area at The Kennebec Valley Community Center(KVCAP KV Homes and Housing Service)
"KV HOMES & Housing Services, a Kennebec Valley Community Action Program, provides individual counseling, group education and supports home ownership opportunities in Kennebec and Somerset Counties"
Here is the list of all the Maine Housing Cap programs:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Youth & Family Services

I (Stephanie) found this website that has a variety of different services for individuals, families and children. Nurturing Programs, Therapy (in home and out), Substance Abuse treatment, Youth Shelters, I was amazed at how much they have to offer. They are a Central Maine organization, with their main offices in Skowhegan.

Here is the website. They are very organized, listing criteria, eligibility, online referral forms, and contact information.

Free Diaper Program

Diapers cost at least several $100s of dollars annually per child. There are programs that provide them to families that meet certain financial guidelines.
Here's a national program that provides disposable diapers:

Here is their income guidelines chart:

There is also a national cloth diaper program.
This one sometimes closes applications because of so many applications, they have to rebuild their diaper supply.
Check in in often or signing up for their online newsletter will reveal when their diaper applications are reopen. Their Join Our Mailing List is about halfway down the page on the right.

Families and Children Together

I (Lauren Dicker) found this website, a program in Maine that does several different things.
Maine Kids-Kin- A program to help grandparents,aunts and uncles, along with other family members who are stepping in to raise a relative's child.

Treatment Foster Care-provides a safe, supportive and nurturing home for children in the foster care system that face behavioral and emotional struggles in daily living.

Supervised Visitation- provides a nurturing and secure environment
for children in the foster care system, kinship placements or private
court situations to visit with their birth parents or other relatives.

Adoption program- offers pre-placement home studies,
updated home studies, domestic adoptions of infants, and post adoption supports.

Kindred Way- is a unique and intensive group care program
that serves two female residents with developmental disabilities.

They are located right in Bangor.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Local Family Type Programs / Classes in Maine Calendar

Hello visitors! For those that live in here in Maine, there is now a events calendar at the bottom of the page.

To see a vertical list of the programming just click agenda.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Since this free clothing store listing is not yet listed under 211 Information, I will post it here.

Town of Fairfield, Maine

Lamb's Clothing Shop Fairfield First Baptist Church 12 Newhall Street, Fairfield, ME 04937. Tel: 453-0170. Open Thursday 10 am-2 pm. The clothes in this store are of good quality. Some are even new.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Transportation Alternatives

A few years back, I wrote the following article for the Maine Employment Times Transportation alternatives are of importance to many families these days for benefits such as environmental activism and monetary savings.
A note to non Maine visitors,though the links in the article specifically apply to Mainers, at least some of the basic ideas on alternative transportation can apply to anyone in any locale.

Michelle Giroux
Published in Employment Times
December 12th, 2005

Transportation Alternatives for the Daily Commute
By Michelle Giroux

Out of the various elements of employability, transportation ranks high on the list of essentials. Employers understandably expect punctuality and a limited number of call-ins form their employees. However, many workers, especially those with few resources, struggle daily to find affordable and reliable conveyance to and from their place of employment. Even members of the work force that have ready access to a vehicle and no significant financial restraints may still wish to have more control over the fluxuating automotive fuel costs and still arrive at work in a timely manner. Alternative methods of transport generally are not widely advertised, but with a little research, and a whole lot of creativity, successful transportation procedures can be a reality.

Walking and biking or any other human powered transport methods allow commuters to get to work virtually expense free and complete their exercise regime in one fell swoop instead of being reserved as a last resort. Although the practicality of auto-less travel is dependent on daylight hours, temperate weather conditions and solid back ups, it has the potential to fit into a comprehensive transportation plan.

A shared commuting situation such as carpooling can cut down on individual expenses and lengthen the life of participating automobiles by combining resources and sharing burdens such as driving and schedule planning. Probably the most common reservations to this type of option is concern over individual driver responsibilities and reliance on other drivers; concerns about scheduled driver no-shows and subsequent courses of action to follow in the case of such a scenario. Careful planning is vital for a workable carpooling venture and requires close communication between participants, such as early notification of schedule changes and emergencies to allow time for everyone to make other predetermined arrangements. Many carpooling opportunities are posted on community bulletin boards such as at places of employment, colleges and universities as well as at professional commuter service organizations.

Public transportation in Maine including bus, rail, train, and ferry, generally consists of scheduled fixed route pickup services for intercity and even interstate commerce to the general public at a nominal cost, which spare change will probably cover for a one way trip.
While the majority of Maine’s transit systems that offer extensive services in terms of hours of operation are located within the larger cities, it definitely is an option worth looking into in smaller towns as well, as fees may be even lower and can work in conjunction with other services. Taxicabs, the most common type of public transportation for vehicle-less employees proves to be expensive on a regular basis, but for those individuals seeking alternative and affordable types of transportation, taxis stand to serve as one potential backup as part of a comprehensive transport plan.

Professional agency type programs and incentives are offered to commuters in Maine who utilize alternative type transportation services.

GO MAINE Commuter Connections ( provides extensive transportation alternative links, as well as offering benefits to registered users such as a carpool match program and an emergency ride home guarantee?, which applies to carpoolers and bus riders as well as walkers and bikers.

Fuel costs continue to be an issue for traditional commuters as well as carpoolers. Gas price comparison Web sites such as provides current price per gallon for local gas stations throughout Maine so all motorists, including members of the work force, can be as well informed as possible and ultimately have a little more control over transportation expenses.

For further information visit the following Web sites:

Maine Family Networks

I (Lauren) found this website is run by parents in Maine. It has links to other web-sites with helpful information and also activities for the kids! I thought it was neat to see this a local run web-site by parents.

Maine Home Visiting

I (Lauren) found this in part of my research This website shows where new parents and parents to be can turn to for help. Trained visitors come to there homes and share helpful ways to parent. Then depending on our area it shows you the programs are available to you. It also shows a section with different family activities.

This is a great thing for first time parents, or a single mother doing this for the first time someone who is there to support here and guide her in the right direction

Book Swapping Clubs

This post and its links are intended for book-lovers and scholars  and or book-lovers and scholars you know. Books and high costs do always have to go hand in hand. These type of clubs have book options for members of the whole family.
I, Michelle, have personally used paperbackswap with great results.  They have  CD and DVD sister sites.
It is a free club. Shipping costs only are incurred when the shipper sends out a book. Receivers pay no shipping costs. For those who don't have any books to swap,book credits can be bought for $3.45. That covers all hard and softcover books including textbooks!

I'll write more about other swapping sites I have found through my search on them.☺
Well, I'm back to post other online book swapping clubs. Please note, that I, Michelle, personally am only a member of paperback swap whom  I have received personal reading as well as text book from.
If anyone has any experience with any book swapping club, please tell us in the comments section right under this post.
Well, here's some online book swapping clubs that exist: (there's no credits involved- a certain amount of books must be sent in before trading can begin. Each trade in separate and can be conducted anytime.) (Books and videos are traded according to equal value)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lifeline/ Safelink Cellphone Service

Could you or someone you know use a  no cost cellphone and  talking minutes  each month? Well, for those income eligible, the is a program called Safelink/Lifeline.

Note to those that receive Lifeline from a non cellphone. Lifeline is only offered ever as a landline or a wireless(cell phone).
Here is the program's qualifying guidelines.
 Here's link to state specific questions including what states  offer the program and what states  plan to in the near future. Maine does offer the program.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ask Questions and Get a Hand with Building Projects

Hi. The comments feature is now enacted so that you can send a message our way. To do so, just click on Post a Comment just below the post text.
I f you are in need of a particular service but have not been able to find it, ask us. We will investigate. The thing is , many helpful  free to low cost  programs and services have very little advertisement.  The ones we know of,we will advertise for them!

Do you or others you know need some help with a home fix it project without a costly bill?  Well, there is a growing nationwide program called It is an online community where people sign up to help others and to receive some themselves all without money exchanging hands.  Services performed and received can include such projects as fixing a roof, to moving furniture or just to borrow project required tools.
Here is an NBC Nightly News video of this program.
 If any visitors get involved with giving and or helping in this program we'd love to hear   personal  experiences.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

211 Information

211 Information and Referral Search is a non-profit telephone call line and internet information portal that has coverage in at least parts of 46 states as of August 2010. At least some of the states provide 24 hour a day phone coverage.I called it at 11:15 PM and spoke to a live representative!
By phone, callers call dial 211 to find local contact information on everything under the sun,  sort of speak, in terms of  social service/ nonprofit agencies. In other words, places to get help. Just a very few  examples are info on  local fuel assistance agencies,  low income housing, homeless shelters, food banks ad no cost meal programs  that are sometimes called  called soup kitchens.

211 has a web-page as well. To find needed programs; first, type 211 into the internet search box.211 Call Center Search will show up.Clicking that bring the national 211Information and Referral Search home page.
Here's a step by step account of how my(Michelle) recent search session went like. I typed in the zip-code for  my town  and then a nearby city. There is a search box  for typing in towns and cities as well as clicking on state names.
211 Maine link then came up and I clicked on that. Towards the top of the the Maine 211 page, there's  several categories to choose from,. I chose Find Help and then clicked on  the top choice:Search the 211 Directory.In the search-box, I  typed free clothes. A bunch of search results came up. There is actually a free clothing store in my area that was not listed however.  There is a contact info link at the top of the page.
The info on their program page  encourages people to send them an email about known available programs that  aren't listed.  I also strongly ask others to do the same so that more people can be helped. I found the email for my state and just  sent one their way.

I also looked for and  found  area heating assistance, ASL interpretive services, an area dental clinic, child care referral. I had to scroll down a bit to find what I wanted for that cause the referral agency is in a larger city and the results for a general search like come up as closest to  the what has been typed in for your city or zip.

There is also a 211 in parts of Canada now:


Welcome to That Family Services Friendly Blog which is a project of Lauren, Stephanie, and Michelle.
This site is dedicated to social service, non profit and no cost to very low cost program type listings and links that are especially  of benefit to families, children as well as to  individuals. We will highlight  programs that help families nationwide and abroad in some programs,  make ends meet as well as list some local Maine programs that encourage positive familial relations.