The Grand Lodge of Maine has elected two Augusta area men to leadership roles within the Grand Lodge that has 186 Lodges and 18,000 Masons throughout Maine. They also serve as officers of the Maine Masonic Charitable Foundation, according to a news release from the organization.

William Layman, of Augusta, serves as senior grand warden, the third ranking officer, and is one of three Masons spearheading an effort to help schools address at-risk children in Maine. Don Pratt, of South China, serves as junior grand warden and is leading a Grand Lodge initiative to encourage Maine youth to volunteer their time in service to others.

The foundation supports efforts of local lodges to work with schools and libraries to encourage schoolchildren to develop positive reading habits through the very popular Bikes for Books program. At a cost of more than $100,000, some 2,500 bikes were distributed this year to book readers. Maine Department of Education statistics show material improvement in student reading scores where the Bikes for Books program is welcomed into the local schools, according to the release.

The foundation provides Project Graduation grants to high schools that offer chemical-free graduation celebrations. It also financially supports the Young Maine Volunteer Roll of Honor, which is part of the Governor’s Awards for Service and Volunteerism initiative.

Maine Masons are presently working with the Maine Department of Education and hopes to begin offering the Masonic Model Student Assistance Program to Maine school districts at no cost to the local schools.

The assistance program is an intensive workshop for educators to learn how to identify, intervene with, and create appropriate referrals for students that may be at risk for substance abuse, depression, suicide or violence.

This workshop trains a core team of five to eight educators and support personnel from a school building in how to intervene early and effectively with students that display patterns of behaviors that threaten their success at school and in life.

For more information, contact Dan Bartlett at [email protected] or 843-1086.

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