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Author Archives: Kristin Harmon

  1. Statement on Afghanistan.

    Maine Multicultural Center

    Statement on Afghanistan

    We at the Maine Multicultural Center have watched the withdrawal of US armed forces and evacuation of US citizens and allies from Afghanistan these past weeks with great concern.  Many of Maine’s citizens have served in Afghanistan in the last 20 years, some sustaining life-altering injuries and some even losing their lives.  Although we will no longer have a military presence in Afghanistan, it is imperative that we do not turn our back on the country or the Afghan people. 

    We call upon our government to continue efforts to evacuate both the US citizens still in Afghanistan who wish to leave, as well as Afghan citizens who provided critical support to our military or USAID programs while we were there.  All Afghans who hold valid VISAs must be allowed to relocate to the US immediately, and all VISA applications currently in progress must be expedited.  We believe that we are also duty-bound to provide support for those Afghans left behind.  We implore our government to use all diplomatic means and humanitarian aid available to ensure the health and safety of those who remain and to help preserve the advances made over the last 2 decades – especially for women and girls.

     We call upon the State of Maine, and members of the greater Bangor community to welcome the resettlement of our Afghan friends and allies in our communities, and to provide the support necessary for them to successfully integrate into those communities.  We believe that these New Mainers have the potential to breathe new life into our dwindling workforce and to enrich us culturally.  Maine Multicultural Center stands ready to provide a professional welcoming and integrative services to any immigrants who might choose to relocate to our area.

    The Maine Multicultural Center (MMCC) is a network of educational, business, and cultural stakeholders designed to promote community enrichment and economic growth by attracting, retaining, supporting, and integrating people of diverse cultures and backgrounds to the greater Bangor area. MMCC fulfills this mission through the provision of professional welcoming services to immigrants and the promotion of the racial, cultural, and ethnic diversity that already exists in the greater Bangor area.

  2. AmeriCorps/VISTA Member Job Description

    PROJECT OVERVIEW:

    The Maine MultiCultural Center (MMCC) is a new, volunteer-based nonprofit organization formed in 2017 to help make Bangor a welcoming place for all.  We are a network of educational, business, and cultural stakeholders designed to promote community and economic growth by attracting, retaining, supporting and integrating people of diverse cultures and backgrounds to the greater Bangor community.

    MMCC employs two basic strategies to achieve its mission:  1) community outreach and education to help create a hospitable environment for new Mainers and to celebrate the diversity that already exists within the community; and 2) referral services that assist new Mainers in accessing the resources and training they need in order to successfully integrate into the community.

    Many new immigrants, particularly refugees, require some assistance when they first arrive.  For instance, refugees here less than 5 years have an average annual income of $22,000 nationally (New American Economy, “From Struggle to Resilience: The Economic Impact of Refugees in America”).  Interventions in these early years can help position new Mainers for social and economic success in subsequent years.  The goal of this project is to expand MMCC’s capacity to help connect low-income immigrants new to the area to the social services, economic resources, and educational and job training services they will need to successfully integrate into their new community. 

    MMCC’s clients are immigrants to the greater Bangor area.  MMCC also offers professional development for area public school teachers (to enable them to teach more effectively to a multicultural class), and community members (to help increase knowledge and appreciation of the many cultures found in the greater Bangor community).  In 2017 the 17,870 immigrants living in Maine’s 2nd district comprised 2.7% of the districts population (The New American Economy https://www.newamericaneconomy.org/).  From 2009 – 2013 In the Portland, ME area immigrants were found to be 3 times more likely to be living in poverty than native born Americans.  With a median income of $24,537 versus $46,821 for native born Americans, 40% of immigrants were living in poverty compared to 10% of non-immigrants (Dickstein et. al. “Building Maine’s Economy” a report for CEI, 2015). Poor English language proficiency is often a major challenge to successful integration and positive economic outcomes.   62% of new refugees struggle with poor English language proficiency.  While this improves over time, 50% still experience difficulty with the language several years on.  Capp et. al. “The Integration of U.S. Refugees:  Success & Challenges” Washington D.C. Migration Policy Institute, 2015).

    By expanding MMCC’s asset map of the community, supporting the design of a set of processes and procedures for providing high quality services, supporting the development of strategic community partnerships, managing and expanding MMCC’s presence on social media, and supporting the community outreach and education efforts of MMCC’s Education Committee, the project will improve and strengthen Maine MultiCultural Center’s infrastructure and thus expand its ability to provide services.

    MMCC’s work is currently dependent on the volunteer efforts of its Board of Directors and of the members of its various standing committees.  The AmeriCorps VISTA member will support the Board’s efforts to improve and expand the organizations infrastructure, and to develop strategic partnerships within the community.  MMCC’s ultimate goal is to hire a full-time Director to direct and manage these efforts.

    JOB DESCRIPTION:

    Objective 1  The AmeriCorps VISTA member will work to expand MMCC’s capacity to connect low-income immigrants in the Greater Bangor area with services and resources that will facilitate integration into the community and improve economic prospects, particularly in helping them seek jobs or start their own business:

    1. The AmeriCorps VISTA member will collaborate with other service delivery organizations such as Eastern Maine Development Corporation, Maine Stream Finance, and Welcoming Immigrant Neighbors (WIN), in service delivery efforts

    Objective 2  The AmeriCorps VISTA member will support efforts to expand MMCC’s capacity to connect low-income, new Mainers with the integrative services they need by:

    1. Updating and refining MMCC’s asset map, and using it to create a resource guide for MMCC’s clients
    2. Developing policies and procedures for client intake and service delivery

    Objective 3  The AmeriCorps VISTA member will work to create and sustain strategic community partnerships:

    1. Reach out to area organizations and agencies that provide services immigrants might need to:
      1. Inform them about the Maine MultiCultural Center mission and the needs and challenges of area immigrants
      1. learn about their intake process and establish reliable contacts
      1. explore potential collaborative activities
      1. keep the organizations and agencies informed about MMCC’s activities and immigrant issues

    Objective 4  The AmeriCorps VISTA member will manage and expand MMCC’s presence on social media and communications

    1.  Work with MMCC Board to develop a strategic communications plan.
    2. Manage Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, and update notices and events as needed on the webpage
    3. Develop brochures, flyers, press releases, etc. to promote the organization and its activities
    4. Reach out to area radio and TV stations as well as local print media to explore avenues for promoting the organization and its services/activities
    5. Prepare a monthly e-newsletter

    Objective 5  The AmeriCorps VISTA member will support MMCC’s Education Committee community outreach & education efforts:

    1. Provide technical support for virtual teacher workshops
    2. Provide technical support for monthly community forums
    3. Work to publicize Education Committee events

    SKILLS DESIRED

    The candidate should have the following background and interests:

    • International studies, social services, immigration law, equity and inclusion (income, racial, gender, religious), economic development and immigration.
    • Must have a demonstrated commitment to MMCC’s mission to serve immigrants and diverse populations.
    • Outstanding attention to detail with strong organizational, analytical, logical and problem solving skills. 
    • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, both written and verbal.
    • Sound time management and organizational skills, with an ability to coordinate complex activities and prioritize conflicting demands and deadlines.
    • Computer proficiency and experience, including, spreadsheet, word processing, and presentation software.

    TO APPLY

    Send résumé with a simple email message of 1-2 paragraphs on your interest for the position to Pamela Proulx-Curry, mmccBangor@gmail.comby Monday, May 17. 

    To learn more about AmeriCorps/VISTA, visit Maine’s sponsor organization, Goodwill Northern New England:  https://goodwillnne.org/jobs/americorps/

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