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State Honoree

Theodore Blaisdell

Maine

Theodore Blaisdell, 16, of Lewiston, Maine, a junior at Lewiston High School and a member of the Auburn-Lewiston YMCA in Auburn, designed and created an "Appreciation Garden" for the Good Shepherd Food-Bank in Auburn, complete with new trees, picnic tables, benches and inspirational plaques. Theodore embarked on his project after he visited the food bank, where his mother was a volunteer, and noticed that the facility's grounds were "in dire need of improvement," he said. He discovered that the food bank had no money for landscaping, and so met with officials there to propose an attractive garden that could welcome and inspire visitors and provide a place for volunteer workers to relax during breaks.

After consulting a local landscaper, Theodore developed a plan and drew up a list of needed materials. He contacted 40 local businesses to ask for supply donations, then recruited fellow Boy Scouts and organized them into work teams. When he was finally ready to begin, more than 40 volunteers helped Theodore weed and mulch the garden site, plant eight trees, assemble three benches, build two picnic tables, and install inspirational word plaques. Theodore also secured new roadside signs to make it easier for drivers to find the food bank. "There was not only a visible physical difference in the appearance of the Good Shepherd Food-Bank," said Theodore, "but it is my hope that my project freed up other resources that would benefit families in need."