More Than a Home Away from Home

Families who host students as part of the Castine Sponsor program touch lives in many ways.

At the home of Carol Adams and Rick Armstrong, as many as 20-25 Maine Maritime Academy students may show up for a special open house dinner.

“Every time I ask the kids, ‘What do you want to eat?’ they say, ‘Really good steak,’” Adams says with a laugh. “That’s our most well-attended event.”

A good home-cooked meal is just one of the benefits available to students through MMA’s Castine Sponsor program. Armstrong and Adams are long-time participants of the program, which pairs local families with one to two incoming students from out of state each fall.

The program provides new students, many far from home for the first time in their lives, with a substitute family, so to speak.

Sponsors are happy to introduce students to the area, invite them into their homes for meals, provide transportation to the airport at vacation time, bring students along on grocery runs, invite them for family activities such as sailing, fishing, or attending local events, or just allow them to hang out.

The relationships are available to the students throughout their time at MMA, so long-time sponsors might have 8 to 10 students on their roster.

One thing about Maine Maritime—they have incredible resources to help students who are struggling in any kind of way, academic or otherwise,” says Armstrong. “We’re a little cog in that wheel, and we’re pleased to do it.”

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