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Active Hope

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Programs & Events | Recommended Reads | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Art & Culture | Government

Active Hope : A facilitated conversation

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Spring — a season of renewal, a season of mud.  April seems to me to be a perfect time to engage in reflection about what sustains our civic engagement when the cold persists, the mud tracks in, the rain falls.   We keep at our community projects in part because we believe that the sun will shine on us again and that the outcomes will be meaningful and worth our time and attention. However, we also keep volunteering or keep on with activism because the alternative is to give up a sense of optimism and connection and even identity…. Activism is an antidote to despair about civic problems, but even the most intrepid activist experiences discouragement, frustration and burn-out at times.

This 2-part workshop stems from work by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone and their book Active Hope,  but it is not necessary to read the book to participate! We will also draw on many other resources, included some shared here.

We are offering two distinct sessions – come to one or both!

Saturday April 12th 10:15am – 12:00pm — Meeting Room 5 –> explore the spiral of the work that reconnects including our biggest concerns for the future and our greatest hopes.

Tuesday April 29th 3:30 -5:00pm — Meeting Room 5 –> explore exercises designed to help sustain hope during dark times and to promote individual and collective self-care without encouraging a turning away from social problems.

Both of these public conversations are intended as starting points – an opportunity for developing and sustaining an Active Hope group will be considered by the group.

Free and Open to the Public - Preregistration is requested to help us plan.


Science of Character – March 20th

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Programs & Events | Recommended Reads | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Art & Culture | Health

On March 20th, a national project organized by Let It Ripple will launch community conversations about the “Science of Character” all over the country.  PPL’s Choose Civility Initiative is pleased to screen the 8 minute video.

Thursday, March 20 – 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Location: Main Library – Rines Auditorium
Bring your lunch!
  • What character traits do we value the most in ourselves and in others?
  • What kinds of character building experiences do we offer our kids, ourselves, and each other?
  • What kind of projects might we support as we build the character of individuals and our larger community?

If you can’t make it to our public conversation, consider participating online through social media (#CharacterDay), by reviewing Let It Ripple’s online resources or check out a book from PPL’s Choose Civility collection!


March – Women’s History Month

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Recommended Reads | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Government

March is Women’s History Month and invites us to celebrate the unique contributions that women have made to American History while also considering the ways that sexism has shaped our collective history.   There are many resources for learning more about women’s history and women’s role in political life.  Among them:

To engage with others, consider attending a Women’s History Month event:

  • The University of Southern Maine’s Women and Gender Studies program highlights many community events happening in March and beyond.
  • The Maine Jewish Film Festival and community partners offer a Women’s Filmmakers event.
  • Maine Law School’s Justice for Women lecture takes place on March 18th and is free and open to the public but registration is required.

Portland Public Library offers a huge array of materials so support more learning including this book list of picture books and this list of books and films related to women’s suffrage serve as starting places!

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