PORTLAND — The Maine Education Association has honored The Game Loft of Belfast with its Golden Apple Award.

MEA’s Golden Apple Award is given to someone or an organization that exemplifies outstanding service in a variety of areas, including volunteer service to schools or work with youth organizations. MEA’s board of directors, which is made up of educators from across the state, chose the award recipients this year.

At the award ceremony, the MEA presenter said the following about The Game Loft in its decision to choose the organization as a winner of its award:

“The Game Loft is a free youth development program focused on building strong community members through non-electronic games and community involvement. The Game Loft, located in Waldo County, understands the uniqueness of Waldo county and is fully dedicated and focused on addressing issues that arise when our students are marginalized due to socio-economic factors.

“The Game Loft helps kids develop social skills and build relationships while making them better communicators, more confident learners, and better friends in their school communities. MEA knows how much organizations like this are needed for our students, and is pleased to honor it with our Golden Apple Award.”

Patricia and Ray Estabrook, co-founders and executive directors of The Game Loft, and Mount View eighth grader and I KNOW ME program member Aden Hargrove accepted the award.

The Game Loft’s I KNOW ME program explores 19th century international history. Here, four diplomats representing Japan, Russia, Italy and France in the 1890s discuss the state of the world with a member of the press corps (Patricia Estabrook of The Game Loft). The diplomats are, from left, Wyatt Manieri, AmeriCorps member playing Russia; Damian Whitmore of Belfast Area High School as France; Sylis Littlefield, Mount View High School, as Italy; and Ethan Marietta as Japan. Courtesy of The Game Loft