Event Raises over $45,000 for new Evergreen Child Development Center
May 2, 2008
Front row from left: Maureen Goudreau, FCHN Development Director;
April Guagenti, EBS Executive Director; Dr. Lourdes Soto-Moreno. Back from
left: Richard Batt, FCHN President; Marcia White; Becky Grant-Widen; and
Rolande and Clem Begin.
Recently, Clem and Rolande Begin of Carrabassett Valley generously hosted a successful fundraising event at their home to help launch the Evergreen Child Development Center, a new medical program to help children with special needs and their families. Sixty enthusiastic people attended the event catered by Franklin Memorial Hospital dietary staff, director Sharon Searles and chef Bruce Smith. Several parents of children with autism spoke at the event, as did Franklin Community Health Network (FCHN) president Richard Batt, and child psychiatrist, Dr. Lourdes Soto-Moreno. The event raised over $45,000.
"In just a few short months," said Batt, "Evergreen Behavioral Services (EBS) and FCHN will create the new Evergreen Child Development Center. Dr. Iris Silverstein, board-certified by the American Academy of Pediatrics and also board-certified in developmental-behavioral pediatrics, has accepted the offer to lead this program. Dr. Silverstein recently worked and studied for several years at the internationally acclaimed Boston Children's Hospital. She is presently the co-director of the Autistic and Children's Developmental Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Dr. Silverstein will bring exceptional medical knowledge and skills in developmental pediatrics to this area."
Dr. Silverstein, already respected in this community, practiced general pediatrics for more than fifteen years in Farmington at Pine Tree Pediatrics and Franklin Memorial Hospital until about six years ago, when she left to pursue medical practice and advanced studies in the area of developmental pediatrics. Pediatric developmental medicine is one of the greatest areas of shortage of medical specialists in the country.
The Evergreen Child Development Center will open in August, 2008 at the Mt. Blue Health Center in Farmington, next to Franklin Memorial Hospital. The Center will be a part of EBS and affiliated with Franklin Memorial Hospital and the Child Development Program of the Barbara Bush Center at Maine Medical Center. The new program will diagnose and treat children with autism and autism spectrum problems, Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD, and other developmental and behavioral problems.
Patients and families involved in the program will also benefit from other child behavioral services presently available at EBS, led by Dr. Lourdes Soto-Moreno, a child psychiatrist. The program will supplement other services already available to children with special needs by working closely with Child Development Services in Farmington and with local schools. Additional services available at Franklin Memorial Hospital, such as physical, speech, and occupational therapy will be available.
"There is a huge unmet need for medical diagnostic and treatment services for children with special needs in our communities," stated Dr. Soto-Moreno. "More than 800 children in Greater Franklin County have special needs. On average, 1 in 150 every children born develops autism."
The Evergreen Child Development Center will provide an important service for a growing vulnerable population. "The wait locally and throughout Maine is often more than a year for families needing to see a specialist for a diagnosis," said Batt. "Incredibly, families often have to wait yet another year after the diagnosis is made before treatments can begin."
The absence of timely quality specialized services can lead to a lifetime of greater difficulty for children, their parents and siblings. Delay of diagnosis and treatment can cause irreparable life-long complications, and the stresses on families are great. Eighty percent of parents with autistic children eventually divorce, while the stress on families and loved ones of children with ADHD affects the harmony and function of the entire family.
In order to support and sustain this essential new program, Franklin Community Health Network has launched a vibrant community-led fund raising campaign. Aaron, Jennifer, Norm, and Janice St. Pierre and their families have also helped with the campaign by organizing a recent basketball tournament, sponsored by RaNor and the St. Pierre family, which raised $7,000 for the program.
Many others in the community are stepping forward to express their support and offer assistance. "We appeal to others in the community to help with the startup of this vitally needed program," said Batt. People interested in helping to support this Center can contact Maureen Goudreau at 779-2471.
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