Founder and Executive Director
Dawn Degenhardt has been dedicated to bringing children and families together through adoption for more than 30 years. While living in Cleveland, Ohio, she co-founded the Ohio chapter of COAC (Council on Adoptable Children) and was a pioneer in changing the foster care/adoption system. Dawn also co-founded Spaulding of Beechbrook, which is still in existence today placing special needs children. After moving back to her home state of Maine, she founded an internationally recognized adoption agency, which has placed more than 4,000 children. Dawn's concern for children still in orphanages around the world prompted the development of many humanitarian aid projects. Wanting to devote her energy to this issue after retirement, Dawn, with family and friends, created The Degenhardt Foundation, now known as Aid for Kids. Dawn and her husband Ed are the parents of nine adopted children, now grown with their own families. To read more about Dawn, see our Press section.
Email Dawn at AidforKids
Phone: 207-532-4107 Office | 207-538-7899 Cell
Joy My Lien Degenhardt
Director - Vietnam Programs
Joy My Lien Degenhardt came to the United States in 1972 as an adopted child of Ed and Dawn Degenhardt. She grew up in Houlton, Maine and graduated from the University of Hawaii. In 1992, she returned to Vietnam with her mother to visit “her”orphanage. Overwhelmed with the desire to help other Vietnamese children in need, she directed the creation of an adoption and humanitarian aid program which continues today. Joy has successfully initiated and personally overseen many humanitarian projects for orphans, ill and handicapped people, and victims of natural disasters. Joy now lives in Vietnam, is fluent in Vietnamese and is the mother of three girls (one adopted). Joy’s role in Aid for Kids is to continue the humanitarian aid projects and develop new ones. For more about Joy, see our Press section.
Email Joy at AidforKids
Western Regional Director
Nancy is the adoptive mother of two daughters. Her oldest is from China and her youngest daughter was born in Soc Trang, Vietnam. After participating on an Aid for Kids Motherland tour and meeting Rachel’s birth family through a service offered by Aid for Kids, she and her family returned home with vivid memories of being led through a maze of dikes separating commercial shrimp ponds, jungle and a monkey bridge. They saw first hand the poverty of Rachel’s birth family and the dangers they face every day having no other choice but to cross monkey bridges to go anywhere with many tributaries of the Mekong River in their area. With Joy’s insight, the Schultz family came home and embarked on a project to replace a critical monkey bridge with a safe concrete bridge for this community. They raised the money needed for this project and then found more projects that were immediately needed. They enjoyed the support of so many who stepped up and supported those needs.
Nancy is honored to be able to continue to volunteer her time with Aid for Kids as their Northwest Director. After returning to Vietnam to dedicate the bridge and seeing first hand the effective work Aid for Kids has done in Vietnam for the past twenty years she is excited to continue to be involved with this organization, helping meet the needs of the most vulnerable in Vietnam.
601 Briar Ct, Newberg, OR 97132
Dannette Ellis has been a volunteer for various community organizations for many years. As coordinator of the “Other” Maine Project and the Maine to Mississippi program she serves as the designated point of contact and is someone to whom questions about either project can be directed.
In addition, she oversees the procurement and distribution of donated items to both programs. She also manages the resources and organizes volunteers as needed.
Dannette: 207-532-4107 Office | 207-521-6489 Cell | email
Assistant to the Executive Director
Marilyn volunteers in numerous capacities throughout the community of Houlton, Maine. She is educated in archaeology and has continued her education in many areas such as astronomy, history and geology. In 1999 she and her husband were awarded the Community Champion Adult Good Samaritans Award from the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Houlton. Before retirement, Marilyn was coordinator of the War or Peace: 1976 Project, University of Pennsylvania museum, directed by Buckminster Fuller. She was also coadministrator of the International Classroom Program in Philadelphia. Dedicated to peace in the home, community and world, Marilyn lives her beliefs in all that she does. Her children and grandchildren live in the Bangor, Maine area.
Robyn M. Smith
Robyn is the one who puts this site together and takes care of various technical and graphic issues for us. She brings her wide variety of experience to Aid for Kids. Among her careers are 10 years with the U.S. Air Force, counselor, photographer, artist, desktop publishing, and office management. Her personal projects include Dubbah Design and Silvana Cenci - The Dynomite Lady. She works as Maintenance Manager for Academic Web Pages and also volunteers her web skills to the Halfway Home Pet Rescue in Caribou, Maine.
Desirée Ellis is a recent graduate of the university of Maine at Presque Isle with a degree in secondary education. In her free time she volunteers with Aid for Kids with the “Other” Maine Project.
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Aid for Kids
18 Market Square
Houlton ME 04730
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Visit our Donation page.
Vietnam Photo Journal
by Don Funk