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Remembering Cassidy Charette's legacy of kindness

The "ShineOnCass" farm event celebrates the life of Cassidy Charette, an Oakland teen who died in a hayride accident almost 7 years ago in Mechanic Falls.

ALBION, Maine — On Sunday morning, families joined the annual ShineOnCass community event to celebrate the life of Cassidy Charette, an Oakland teen who died in a hayride accident almost 7 years ago in Mechanic Falls. The event was held at Hart to Hart Farm in Albion, a place Cassidy enjoyed going to for summer farm camps.

This year's theme was a pajama party. Kids and goats had their pajamas on for a day filled with activities.

"Educating them about how we work with animals, the care and pride we have in raising these animals, they are part of our family," said Linda Hartkopt, owner of Hart to Hart Farm.

About 100 children joined the event that included goat yoga, milking cows, petting lambs, holding baby chicks, and fetching eggs.

"Her legacy is really the kindness that she shared with other people, and so that's what we are doing, we are trying to shine a light on community service, giving back to others!" said Monica Charette, Cassidy's mother.

This year, the event's "pay it forward" included collecting donations from families for the Humane Society Waterville Area in memory of Cassidy, who was a longtime shelter volunteer. 

To follow social distancing, event organizers limited registration numbers this year and held two shorter 50-person sessions instead of one large event. Masks were required, as well as hand washing and sanitizing between stations. 

The event this year was organized in four stations. Children were able to hold, and have photos taken with newborn baby animals.

"They are meeting the lambs that were just born two weeks ago!" added Monica Charette.

Hart-to-Hart Farm is a family-owned and operated organic dairy farm that offers a variety of educational programs for children, adults, and families. 

"Cassidy Charette, an Oakland teen who died in a hayride accident in 2014, was a long-time summer camper there. In 2015, farm owners Linda and Doug Hartkopf and the community helped build Cassidy’s Kitchen -- an outdoor, three-season kitchen for educational programs," said Monica Charette.

Who will be the sixth recipient of the Messalonskee High School ShineOnCass Scholarship recognizing kindness and service...

Posted by Shine On Cass on Tuesday, February 16, 2021

"Every year that we get further away from when we lost Cass, it just holds a special place knowing that we can continue to do the work that she would have lived her life doing," said Shawna Lachance, a friend of Cassidy's and board member of ShineOnCass.

For more information on the 'ShineOnCass' foundation, click here.