There are groups in both Portland and Lewiston that support people who have just arrived in Maine by helping them meet other people in their community, find things that they need, and become comfortable in their new home. Starting over in a new place is difficult, but these organizations were started to make the transition easier.
Boys and Girls Club
About: The Boys and Girls Club’s mission is to inspire young people, particularly those who most need support, and help them become responsible, productive and caring citizens. The Boys and Girls Club has a drop-in after school program with academic help, sports, games and more.
Phone: (207) 874-1070
Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigration Services Mentoring Program
About: The Refugee and Immigration Services (RIS) Mentoring Program matches young adults (ages 18-30) who have just arrived in Maine as refugees or asylees with volunteer mentors. Mentors support, guide and act as a friend while helping their mentee achieve his or her personal, academic and career goals.
Hispanic Ministry – Portland Diocese
About: The Hispanic Ministry supports Maine’s Hispanic community by offering a number of services, including pastoral attention, referrals to services, support for detainees’ families, connection to families in home countries in cases of emergency (when possible), visitation of detainees, and advocacy and crisis intervention.
For more information, contact Father Michael Sevigny at (207) 777-1200 or Jose Lopez at (207) 653-5609. You can also visit the Hispanic Ministry website.
About: Hopeful Links is a volunteer-based program that matches unaccompanied minors with potential guardians and safe housing. The organization also enlists a volunteer attorney to help file a guardianship petition in preparation for filing an immigration petition.
Maine Access Immigrant Network (MAIN)
About: The Maine Access Immigrant Network helps immigrants, refugees and asylees access health and social services by facilitating communication. The organization is meant to act as a “cultural broker,” which means that it helps people overcome language and cultural barriers when pursuing services.
Phone: (207) 552-1800
Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services (MIRS)
About: Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services is a community-based organization that was formed to educate, support and empower immigrant and refugee youth.
Phone: (207) 782-0260
Parkside Neighborhood Center (through Opportunity Alliance)
About: The Parkside Neighborhood Center offers educational, employment, and cultural opportunities that connect diverse neighbors and promote social and physical well-being.
Portland and Deering High Schools
About: Both Portland and Deering High Schools have school social workers who have extensive information about help that is available to the young people in their schools.
About: Project Bazia provides support and hosts events for members of the South Sudanese community. The organization also provides transportation for youth who are in jail but are getting released soon so that the youth can maintain jobs and make a smoother transition back into the community. Finally, the organization holds a weekly discussion group at Portland High School.
For more information, contact Bazia at (207) 615-8884 or Ann Smith at (207) 699-9649. You can also visit the Project Bazia website.
Welcoming Immigrants Network (WIN) of Greater Portland
About: The Welcoming Immigrants Network is made up of both individual people and organizations trying to help meet the needs of immigrants and refugees. The group meets monthly and is often able to direct people to assistance or use the network to help solve a problem.
Phone: (207) 577-1165
Visit the Facebook page.
Cavalry United Methodist Church
About: The Cavalry United Methodist Church advocates for equal rights and works to create a healthy, productive and welcoming community for all.
Phone: (207) 782-3221
Hope House Family Support Center
About: The Hope House Family Support Center offers a number of services, including a family thrift store, a farmer’s market, classes, support groups, and special events.
Phone: (207) 577-1165
Lewiston Auburn Islamic Center
About: The Lewiston Mosque offers services in Somali and Arabic, as well as support in finding other community services.
Phone: (207) 777-7733
Somali Bantu Community Association of Maine
About: The Somali Bantu Community Association of Maine helps the Somali Bantu refugee community with the transition to life in Maine.
Phone: (207) 784-5556
Immigrant Resource Center of Maine (IRCofMe)
About: Formerly know as the United Somali Women of Maine, the Immigrant Resource Center Of Maine (IRCofMe) helps to connect women with services and works to reduce gender-based violence and advocate for victims of domestic violence in refugee and immigrant communities in Lewiston.
Phone: (888) 568-1112