Maine has many organizations and programs that provide support and assistance to New Mainers. The following organizations provide a wide range of services and resources to students of all ages.
Gateway Community Services
Gateway Community Services, Maine (GCSM) is a non-profit organization created to support the wellbeing of immigrants and refugees in the Greater Portland and Lewiston areas. GCSM offers support while creating opportunities for connection between immigrant, refugee, and asylee community members and their neighbors. Program offerings include include youth mentoring, tutoring, workshops, community health outreach, and more.
Hope Acts provides housing, English classes and other resources that support immigrants in transitioning to life in Greater Portland and in achieving their goals for a successful future.
The Asylum Seeker Assistance Program (ASAP) is open to any asylum seeker needing help accessing services or understanding/completing documents. ASAP services include preparation of work authorization documents (EAD or form I-765).
The Hope House English Language Program (HHELP) offers the opportunity for beginner and intermediate adult English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students to develop and practice their reading, writing, listening, and spoken English language skills in small, supportive classes.
LearningWorks responds to educational needs in the community by providing tutoring, mentoring, and alternative education opportunities designed to ensure the success of learners whose needs are not met by traditional systems.
LearningWorks YouthBuild (LWYB) program serves teens and young adults who have struggled to find their way in the traditional education system. Through an alternative education model that includes HiSET exam preparation, construction and culinary skills training, leadership development, work readiness instruction, case management, and life skills, YouthBuild members can obtain important certifications (NCCER, OSHA-10, ServSafe, and more), and almost all advance toward postsecondary education or career-oriented employment. In addition to the program itself, LearningWorks also provides LWYB graduates with one year of follow-up services to support their transition to continuing education and/or the workforce.
English Language + Literacy Program (EL+LP) provides immigrants and refugees free one-on-one tutoring and life-skills-based conversation classes. EL+LP serves adults from diverse backgrounds and experiences from all over the world, including Angola, Belarus, Burundi, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Rwanda, Russia, Somalia, South Korea, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Vietnam.
Maine Adult Education Programs
Maine has approximately 70 adult education programs throughout the state. These programs provide instructional services to help adults develop the skills for further educational opportunities, job training, better employment, and more. Course offerings cover a variety of topics including literacy, adult basic education, high school completion, English language acquisition, academic and advising support for transitions to college and career, workforce training, and enrichment. To find a Maine Adult Education program near you or to explore offerings at a variety of locations, see the Adult Education Provider Listing on the Maine Department of Education website.
Maine Youth Action Network
Maine Youth Action Network (MYAN) is a statewide network of adults and young people who believe in the transformative power of youth leadership to create more equitable communities and just systems. MYAN strategically collaborates, convenes, and partners to build young people’s leadership on issues of social justice, restorative practices, and public health; and the capacity of adults, organizations, and systems to use positive youth development and social-emotional learning principles in their work with youth.
My Place Teen Center
The My Place Teen Center is a free, year-round, after-school program (five hours/day) for kids, ages 10-18 designed to foster interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, self-esteem, social and emotional development, and leadership skills. The curriculum complements school day learning and reinforces key academic concepts. Activities focus on character building, civic engagement, academics, and life skills.
Additionally, My Place Teen Center operates the Restaurant Job Training Program (RJTP) which provides teens a unique, real-world opportunity to train as cooks, servers, bussers, hosts, hostesses, and dishwashers in a restaurant-like environment.
New Mainers Resource Center
The New Mainers Resource Center (NMRC) is a Portland Adult Education program serving immigrants, refugees, and employers in the Greater Portland area.
The NMRC provides skilled professional programs, employment and case management, intensive classes focused on job readiness skills, employer partnerships, networking opportunities, workshops, and other services designed to help New Mainers of all professions overcome barriers to enter the US workforce.
NMRC also provides advice and support for the credential evaluation process to skilled professionals who need assistance understanding and navigating the professional licensing process.
Additionally, NMRC is affiliated with the Welcome Back Initiative, a national program committed to building a bridge between the pool of internationally trained health workers already living in the United States and the need for linguistically and culturally competent health services in underserved communities.
Portland Adult Education (PAE)
Portland Adult Education (PAE) is a wide-ranging community program offering job and workforce training, English learning, and personal enrichment courses. PAE’s mission is “To inspire lifelong learning in a culturally diverse environment.”
Portland Public Schools: Multilingual and Multicultural Center
Make It Happen! (MIH) is a college readiness program that helps multilingual students build competitive academic profiles for college admission and financial aid. Make It Happen! AmeriCorps Site Coordinators help students take challenging classes, improve their standardized test scores, develop competitive college applications, and engage in leadership, community service, and professional development opportunities. To provide academic and language acquisition support, MIH! pairs English Language Learners in grades 9-12 with volunteer academic coaches. Volunteer academic coaches work with students from countries all over the globe.
The Family Welcome Center accommodates the unique needs of immigrant and refugee families in Portland by providing a centralized system of student registration to ensure data information accuracy, student English language proficiency assessment, and health screening.
Through its talented team of bilingual and bicultural Parent Community Specialists, Language Access provides assistance to limited English-speaking parents in the Portland public schools through translation and interpretation services, Parent Advisory Council (PAC) meetings, citizenship classes, cultural brokering, and referral to agencies and services.
ProsperityME is a non-profit service organization dedicated to helping Maine’s immigrants and refugees build successful, rewarding lives in their new homeland. Programs include financial education, career and small business development, housing assistance, and college scholarships. Services are open to all refugees, immigrants, asylees, and low-income individuals in Greater Portland and Lewiston/Auburn, Maine.
The Root Cellar
The Root Cellar is comprised of an ever expanding group of neighbors, volunteers, staff, and donors who are dedicated to cultivating social, economic, and spiritual wholeness, and building neighborhoods where all are welcome, valued, and experience true peace. Serving their neighbors in Lewiston and Portland, The Root Cellar provides mentoring, English language learning, after school programs, the Friends and Neighbors Networks (FANN), and more.
Tree Street Youth
Tree Street Youth is a Lewiston-based community of youth and adults creating youth-centered programs and partnerships that encourage leadership, learning, exploration, and growth. Programming takes place year round in six core program areas: college prep, teen leadership, elementary program, arts and cultural enrichment, girls empowerment, and boys empowerment.
Youth & Community Engagement
The Youth & Community Engagement (YCE) Gateway to Opportunity (G2O) program connects young people (primarily rising juniors and seniors from local public schools) with paid, work-based learning projects where they hone and develop 21st century skills.