December 29, 2013

Young Augusta professional honored by chamber

Amanda Bartlett, raised by a single mother in a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Augusta, has been named the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce Young Professional.

By Susan McMillan
Staff Writer

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YOUNG PRO: Amanda Bartlett, the new director of the Augusta Housing Authority and winner of the Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professional Award, at her Augusta office.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

As an offshoot of a project that she worked on in the Chamber of Commerce’s Kennebec Leadership Institute, Bartlett is also one of the co-founders of Literacy Lane, which recently gained nonprofit status and will soon start distributing books to low-income children.

Working in housing, Bartlett said, she has realized there are children that many programs don’t reach — they’re “invisible” because they don’t get out of the house. So programs that give books to children at the doctor’s office, for example, won’t work for children whose parents don’t take them to the doctor.

Literacy Lane will see other avenues for getting books to kids, such as housing authorities, public health nurses and other social service agencies.

When Bartlett was a child, she and her mother could always walk to Lithgow Library even when they couldn’t afford to go anywhere else. She’s devoted to the library and as president of the Friends of Lithgow Library is leading the capital campaign to raise money for the library’s expansion.

Bartlett said the books, programming and staff at Lithgow changed her life.

“I think that, no matter what our personal circumstances, whether you’re looking at poverty or middle-class suburbia, those circumstances really form a box that defines our sense of normalcy,” she said. “And for me, Lithgow cut holes in that box and allowed me to see the world outside my circumstances and imagine all the possibilities for myself.”

Susan McMillan — 621-5645smcmillan@centralmaine.comTwitter: @s_e_mcmillan
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