We Thrive Together

We can only succeed as a community when all of our children and families have access to nourishment, education, and wellness resources. Part of Friends of the River Valley’s work is to provide funding for programs that address these urgent needs. We couldn’t do this without your generous support.


John and Linda Pepin

Darby Beliveau

Severin Beliveau

John Beliveau

HM Payson

Betterment Fund

Jewish Fund of NY
Bob and Susie Peixotto

David Hines
Lisa and Bill Marr

Ware Butler


By partnering with us, we can create possible funding mechanisms to help you. We will assist you in bringing your vision to life through our contacts and website platforms. For more information about becoming a Leader-level donor, please email John Beliveau at info@friendsofrivervalley.org


Jolan and Jim Ippolito

Thomas Platz

William Johnson

By partnering with us, we can create possible funding mechanisms to help you. We will assist you in bringing your vision to life through our contacts and website platforms.For more information about becoming a Partner-level donor, please email John Beliveau at info@friendsofrivervalley.org

Matt Kaubris
Rich Beliveau

Christine Cloonan

Preti Flaherty
Jerry and Jennifer Cohen

Wanda Orino

Ed Paterson

Audrey Guay

Morgana Nielson

Bruce Kirn

Ricki Avant

Devin Beliveau

Matt Beliveau

Steven Baty

Julie Irish McDonald


Hear Our Stories
River Valley residents talk about why our work in the area is necessary, and what type of impact we've already had.
Crystal Dugay
Director of Western Foothills Regional Program

It is hard to find the words to truly express how significant this support is. These kids deserve the best of the best and sometimes the reality is that it can be hard to do with our budget and limited access to resources in our rural community. Friends of the River Valley has taken away those barriers for us. Our kids get to access the best and most current therapeutic treatments. I am so thankful Friends of the River Valley is helping us give these students every possible tool to heal and grow. I love seeing students proud of their accomplishments and excited to come to school to access these wonderful programs.

Hilary Harper-Wilcoxen
Executive Director of Team Long Run

We can’t do this work alone and significant, consistent partnerships are the key to success in this difficult work. We are grateful but, more importantly, the children and families we serve are grateful. As one little boy asked recently when we gave him a book to take home, “Forever??” Yes, he can keep that book forever thanks to donors like FRV. What a gift!

Cindy Dawson

My name is Cindy Dawson and I am the deacon of St. Barnabas Church, the Stone Church at the Rotary. I run the St. Barnabas Essentials Pantry out of the undercroft of the church. Once a month we offer products that cannot be purchased with snap benefits. These include personal hygiene products, laundry and dish detergent, and paper products. We currently have 36 households that are participating in our program. Last month we marked three years that our doors have been open. We have generously been supported by a grant from The Friends of the River Valley. It is heartwarming to know that we are providing a much-needed service for the community. Each month we are met with comments of gratitude as the bags are distributed. One patron who was leaving the program due to moving sent this email: “I want to truly thank you and all the people who put the bags together and volunteer time to pass them out. It has been very helpful. I’m sure people are able to do more in other areas of life by having these staples taken care of. Thank you for caring about and giving to the community.”

Samantha Cummings
Recovery Coach

I am thrilled to share my experiences working with students within the River Valley Area school systems in my role as a Recovery Coach. It has been an incredibly rewarding journey, and I am passionate about providing crucial support to students who are struggling with substance use and those who have family members dealing with similar challenges. I am deeply committed to my role as a Recovery Coach and consider it a privilege to work with the students in the River Valley Area school systems. It is my firm belief that with the right support and guidance, students can overcome the hurdles they face, make healthier choices, and build a brighter, substance-free future. I look forward to continuing this important work and making a positive impact on the lives of students within our community.

Miki Skehan, MPH
Director of Western Foothills Kids Association

On two of the coldest days in December, there were handfuls of students outside without hats, mittens/gloves, or boots-many reporting not having winter items at home to bring. Several items were collected from our clothing closet to hand out, but most were essential cotton gloves, thin hats, and uninsulated boots because that's all we had. Since working in the RSU 10 school system, I've observed this a common occurrence every year, where many of our elementary kids come to school without "the basics." After a conversation with John Beliveau at the Old School Food Pantry Open House, I decided to reach out to Friends of the River Valley for support to acquire donations of winter clothing and gear for our elementary students. John immediately responded and said that he would speak with the Friends of the River Valley Board to see what they could do. Within a few days, we had a check, and I was able to purchase an abundance of hats, mittens/gloves, coats, ski pants, and boots for our elementary students. We are incredibly grateful for the support of Friends of the River Valley, and I know that we have some appreciative kids who now have what they need to enjoy winter in Maine! Thank you, Friends of the River Valley!

Jeanne LaPointe
School Nutrition Director, RSU #10

We secured an additional van for meal delivery services with the support of Full Plates Full Potential and Friends of the River Valley. We are now able to serve more meals. The van can provide over 200 3-day meal packs each day in use. The Nutrition Program also uses it to transport food for our students. We plan to operate an after-school community meal program shortly in the Rumford area. Without this larger van, that would not be possible.

Jamie Silvestri
Program Director and Founder of ArtVan

Rumford community members approached ArtVan, a mobile Art Therapy nonprofit organization, to bring an art therapy resource to the Rumford community youth. All spoke to the lack of social services and creative resources available after school and during the local Youth's summers. John Beliveau, of Friends of the River Valley, Jamie Silvestri, Program Director and Founder of ArtVan, and Julianna Nelson, ArtVan's Therapeutic Arts Assistant, met and discussed bringing ArtVan to the community. They concluded it could provide a viable resource to Youth at local schools and other locations. John arranged a tour of the Rumford – Mexico area and a meeting at the RSU10 Elementary School that included: Jeanne Lapointe, Food Service Director, Kim Fuller, Elementary School Principal, Miki Skehan, After-School Program Director, Brent Bachelder, Elementary Art Teacher, as well as representatives from the Rumford Library and Food resources. We discussed the specific needs of the Youth, location for services, number of Youth to be served, and duration of services. With much excitement and dedication from all attendees, ArtVan began serving the Western Foothills Regional Program (WFRP - alternative school), primary to 12th grade, with a total of about 36 students. Crystal Duguay, LCSW/Director of WFRP, stated, "we have been wanting to bring an art therapist here for years." Crystal enthusiastically arranged with her teachers three 60 minute art therapy sessions every Tuesday beginning January 2022. ArtVan has successfully led programs for one month and plans to begin at Rsu10's Middle School on March 1st for an afterschool program. We are deeply grateful to The Friends of River Valley for making this happen for all involved! Thank you!

Chuck Wilcoxen
Team Long Run Founder

Team Long Run is very grateful to be partnering with Friends of the River Valley in our early literacy and active play work with kids and families in Rumford and Mexico. Team Long Run is a Maine-based nonprofit working with kids in western Maine since 2017. Our programs use active play and running to help kids discover their abilities and potential. We've also learned how critical early literacy is to a child's learning development and worked with area educators to get books to kids who need them. Two of our most dynamic and forward-thinking partner schools are Rumford Elementary and Meroby School in Mexico. We've piloted some programs with them, as they understand that active kids are better prepared to learn. We've also learned so much from them regarding what kids need to thrive as readers. As we've grown together with these partners, we ran up against a barrier with resources. We needed a partner to help fund our work, and Friends of the River Valley stepped up at just the right time to generously support our programs at RES and Meroby. Very simply, Friends of the River Valley have made our continued work in Rumford and Mexico possible. We've got great partners in the schools and great programs to share with them, but none of it happens without philanthropic partners like FRV. On top of that, they've worked on our behalf to connect us with other financial supporters. They truly are friends of Team Long Run as well as Friends of the River Valley.

Reinette Chenard
RSU 10

To fully understand the needs of the students in our RSU 10 community, it’s important to be cognizant of the demographics of our student population. Our October 1, 2020 certified enrollment, based on a population of 1738 students, indicates that 62.3% of our population is economically disadvantaged (receives free/reduced meals), and 27.4% of the population receives special education services. To compare these numbers to other Public Schools in Maine, 39.9% of students in publicly funded schools serving grades PK-12 are economically disadvantaged and 18.5% of students receive special education services. RSU 10 percentages are well above the state average. Not only are our students economically disadvantaged, but 25.8% of RSU 10’s students are also considered chronically absent, based on our 2018-2019 (prior to COVID-19) attendance certification. Chronic absenteeism occurs when a student has missed 10% or more of days enrolled. Reviewing truancy percentages from 2018-2019 (prior to COVID-19), RSU 10 had a 12.9% truancy rate, while the state’s truancy rate was 7.7%. It is clear that a significant group of our student population is experiencing need. Need for food, need for guidance and support.

Jill Bartash
Principal Rumford Elementary School

Rumford Elementary has been fortunate to partner with Team Long Run and Brown Bag Books. Both of those organizations are helping us to provide an equitable and positive environment for our students and staff. That work was bolstered by their partnership with Friends of the River Valley this year. It certainly takes our entire community to educate our students, and we are grateful for our community!

Friends of the Rumford Library

The Directors of the Friends of the Rumford Public Library would like to thank Friends of the River Valley for donations which benefit library programs. Through these generous donations, the library has greatly increased the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) resources available at Rumford Public Library to area youth. Much of the library’s STEAM programming has been financed through Friends of the River Valley founders and benefactors.

Ginny Todd, President, Friends of the Rumford Library

Jane Shuck, Vice President

Jennifer Cohen, Secretary

Jerrold Cohen, Treasurer

Rumford Resident

Area law enforcement and school resource officers report that the number of criminal activities and disputes have risen during the past decades in spite of 43% population loss. The area now ranks at the top in these categories in the state of Maine. They perceive that the major problem is a lack of parenting.

Drug addiction, physical and emotional abuse, and lack of a healthy family environment lead to many runaways, truancies, and delinquencies. Although there are some area community and recreational activities, they are unable to meet the needs of the families and children. Too many children are left on auto-pilot.

Apply for a Grant
Are you an organization in the River Valley with a program or an idea that we can help fund? We provide funding through grants, sponsorships, and direct donations, and would love to get these funds into the hands of people looking to make a difference.
Volunteer with Us

FRV is often a funding vehicle for many of our projects working with our local partners. We also strive to connect volunteers with partner organizations needing help delivering their services to the River Valley Community. How you can help:

  • Please spread the word about our organization through social media and word of mouth to raise funds.
  • Let us know if you wish to volunteer your time and how you want to help (delivering food, children’s literacy).

We will be happy to make an introduction to any number of organizations in need of assistance.

Contact Us
Partner with Us

By partnering with us, we can create possible funding mechanisms to help you. We will assist you in bringing your vision to life through our contacts and website platforms.

Our primary focus is to address the needs of the River Valley in the areas of food insecurity, child and family issues, addiction, education, and recreation.

By assisting in funding like-minded entities, we should enhance being able to reach meaningful and realistic goals.

Our hope is to make the River Valley communities healthier and safer.

Contact Us
Drop Us a Line
Alternatively you may…
Email us directly
Mail us

Friends of the River Valley
PO Box 175
Rumford, ME 04276

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