TBT: Refugee Resettlement in Maine

Tom and Hassan

Hassan Mahmoud, future physician. Photo courtesy of Catholic Charities Maine.

 Higher’s February 2014 newsletter featured several innovations and program successes from Maine.  Here are a couple of updates and fresh perspectives for our own version of Throwback Thursday.

1.   Catholic Charities Maine’s Mentoring Program in Portland

Hassan Mahmoud and Sean Lena were one of the initial 21 mentor matches in CCMaine’s first cohort of an employment mentor pilot program.  Both were  working toward becoming Doctors of Osteopathic medicine.  Hassan and the program have made amazing forward progress in just a few months.

Hassan  has passed the first of three Board Exams required for certification – a major milestone in realizing his dream of becoming a doctor.  Sean and Hassan are still in touch although the formal time frame of their program commitment has passed.

CCMaine has added 28 new mentor-mentee relationships and made several program adjustments based on what works best for clients and their community.  They’ve expanded the focus to include academic goals, offered several group activities and reduced the time commitment from a year to six months with more frequent meetings during the shortened time frame.

Ashley Storrow, the Americorps volunteer who got the program started has been promoted into a full-time position at CCMaine.  Bethany Sack, also an Americorps volunteer, is now taking the program even farther and a third Americorps volunteer will begin the third year of this successful initiative in a few months.

2.   New American Sustainable Agriculture Project (NASAP) Fresh Start Farm in Lewiston

We outlined the growing, marketing and small business components of this innovative model program.  Watch There Is My Home: Somali Bantu Farmers of Lewiston Maine, a 26-minute documentary film to hear more about the power of this project from the perspective of two Somali women farmers. Thanks to Halima A. Adams, Program Specialist at Church World Service headquarters in New York for sharing the film link.


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