The Midcoast Outreach and Peace Center will host an open house to launch the new Center May 4, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Quaker Meetinghouse, 77 Belvedere Road in Damariscotta.

The opening includes an Ice Cream Social with tours, games for children, Maine-made ice cream and fruit desserts.

The Center, a project of Midcoast Monthly Meeting of Friends (Quakers), will be open throughout the year on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. The outreach program features workshops, dinners and events for families, as well as lectures and programs on peace and environmental issues, films, art exhibitions, discussion groups, special topic lectures for seniors and gardening activities. The facilities include indoor spaces for community classes and projects, a peace library, outdoor play equipment for young children and Wi-Fi services.

Susan Rockwood, the Center’s new Outreach Coordinator, has extensive experience creating programs for kindergarten-through-eighth grade students and with administering programs for adults. For more than 15 years, she was a classroom and media information teacher at the Greenwood Friends School in Pennsylvania. In this capacity, she designed hands-on, experiential learning activities, and programs in science and technology. Rockwood worked as the director of a law firm library and as a supervisor for undergraduate college students in the field of education. She also helped to develop architectural and space plans for three libraries and a computer laboratory in Pennsylvania. She holds a B.A. in English and a Masters in Education from Bloomsburg University.

James Matlack, the new head of the Center’s Program Committee, will help with the development of the Center’s programs. Matlack, who is a lifelong Quaker, taught at colleges and universities for 15 years. He also served for more than 20 years as the director of the Washington, D.C. office of the American Friends Service Committee, an international organization that offers projects on peace and justice issues at sites around the world. Matlack has wide experience working on both foreign and domestic issues.

As the Outreach Coordinator, Rockwood assists with developing and oversees the implementation of the programs and coordinates activities with other organizations in the region. In addition, this summer she will be conducting Internet classes, workshops on blogging and a course on how to be “media savvy.” This spring and summer, programs for children will include nature walks, afternoon game times, movies and water play events. “We are also planning family barbeques and dinners,” said Rockwood, who notes that the Center will supply the games and food.

The Center was established to serve people who are interested in learning about and participating in activities that emphasize values, concerns about peace and ways to build strong communities. “This is a place where individuals and families can come for meaningful discussions, caring activities and for fun,” says Rockwood. “The Center is here for people who want to find the light in themselves and walk gently on this Earth.”

The Midcoast Outreach and Peace Center’s spring Ice Cream Social is open and free to the public. Please contact Sue Rockwood at 350-2256 or email, with questions or for additional information.