WATERVILLE — The Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers has named Richard Dorian as the successor to longtime Executive Director Sharon Abrams, who will retire in January after more than 40 years at the nonprofit organization.

“I am so very pleased to begin work shortly here at the Maine Children’s Home,” said Dorian, 50, of Skowhegan, at a news conference Tuesday morning. “I am honored to have the opportunity to train with Sharon and to work with the staff and outstanding board of directors here and to get to know the many wonderful donors, family and friends of the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers.”

Dorian is scheduled to start work at the organization Monday and will work alongside Abrams before she retires Jan.1.

The Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers is a nonprofit organization that runs a number of programs, including an early childhood education and daycare program, the Teen Parent School Program, counseling and adoption services and an annual Christmas gift box distribution.

Abrams, 66, has been executive director for the past 23 years and has worked at the children’s home for more than 40 years, starting as the first teacher at the Teen Parent School program in 1973.

She said the search process for a new executive director has been an “emotional roller coaster,” but “I am confident in the unanimous decision of the board (to appoint Dorian) based on his leadership and nonprofit management experience.”

Before being selected as the executive director of the Maine Children’s Home, Dorian was executive director for 16 years at Life Enrichment Advancing People, or LEAP, a nonprofit group in Farmington that provides residential and community services for disabled adults. He is also a part-time pastor at the Centenary United Methodist Church in Skowhegan and said he will continue to work there while serving as executive director.

John Stanley, president of the board of directors at the Maine Children’s Home, said Tuesday that Abrams first told the board three years ago that she would be retiring, and they have spent the last year searching for her replacement.

Abrams’ contributions to the organization have been incredible, Stanley said, and include her overseeing the organization’s transition from a small building on Gilman Street to its current campus on Silver Street, the building of the Teen Parent School program and the forging of its relationship with the Waterville school district, and achieving an international Hague accreditation for the adoption program.

Growth of its Christmas program, which last year distributed more than 1,700 boxes of gifts and clothing to economically disadvantaged children throughout Maine, also occurred under Abrams’ leadership.

“This organization is changing the world for the better, one child and one family at a time,” Dorian said. “I’m thrilled to be part of this community, and I’m excited to carry on the legacy Sharon has left here.”

Abrams also said she plans to stay involved with the Maine Children’s Home as a volunteer and licensed social worker. She also will be working with families who are interested in adopting through the group’s adoption home study program.

She said Tuesday that she is looking forward to spending more time with her family, including her husband, Don, and her 10 grandchildren.

“I fully plan to not have to say ‘no’ to any of their events or activities,” she said.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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