MAINE, Maine — Our Mary Rines Thompson award winner, who epitomizes the spirit of volunteerism, is Jan Strout. 

For more than 20 years, Jan has made a commitment to supporting kinship families, the raising of children by grandparents, other extend family members and adults with whom they have a close family-like relationship because biological parents are unable to do so for whatever reason. 

Jan, herself a kinship caregiver, is the facilitator of the Kinship Families of Central Maine, which meets monthly in Augusta and Waterville. Jan has, and is, working with legislators to bring awareness to the needs of kinship families who need more resources to care for their children. 

Jan gives kinship families a sense of comfort as she guides them through the process and uncertainties of kinship care. She provides direction, support, caring, and most of all, guidance and reassurance that no family is alone.  

Jan has learned the probate and family laws, and she attends training and seminars at her own expense, all to help better the lives of kinship families. Through the good and the bad, Jan stands with her kinship families and assists in any way she can to help them on their journey.