Joseph McKeen
Center for the Common Good

2012 Community Matters in Maine Summer Fellowships

Story posted January 23, 2012

The McKeen Community Summer Fellowships provide students the opportunity to work and serve in the local community through a placement in an organization addressing community issues. Meant to capitalize on students' interests, the fellowship allows students to explore work in the public sector while developing an understanding of issues at the local level — what they are, and how to solve problems related to these issues by working with a broad spectrum of community leaders. In addition to their placements, students convene regularly with other fellows and students from the Psi Upsilon Environmental Fellowship for reflection and problem solving. All fellowships are 40 hrs/week, include a stipend of $4000 and run from early June through early August.  Applications are available here and due Monday, February 13, 2012 at 12noon.

Read about Amar Patel's independent research project that came from his Community Matters in Maine summer fellowship connection here.

McKeen Community Placements for 2012

ArtVan (Public Art) – Bath, ME
ArtVan brings free art therapy to children, teens and adults who have the fewest social services or after school/summer activities available to them. They carry out programs in public housing developments, corrections facilities, schools and group homes, engaging underserved populations in making art to explore and enrich their lives. The summer fellow will work with the Artistic Director and Program Coordinator on the planning, implementation and follow up of ArtVan sessions, and will take a lead in designing a project. In addition, the fellow will maintain a visual and written record of the program. The fellow will also assist in administrative, marketing, fundraising and other related activities, and, in the process, experience how to manage a small nonprofit. This placement will provide the fellow an opportunity to work with people from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, and to learn a variety of art techniques used in the healing and discovery process.

Brunswick Housing Authority (Affordable Housing) – Brunswick, ME
The Brunswick Housing Authority provides safe, quality, and affordable housing for eligible persons in need of assistance and promotes opportunities for growth and development of residents. BHA serves as a landlord and a developer creating new opportunities for affordable housing in the region by working with all levels of government, clients, local business, and the public at large. The summer fellow will have the opportunity to learn about housing development, marketing, and energy efficiency green building standards. The role of the fellow will be to support BHA’s development activities related to several current projects by assisting with written material; creating and disseminating marketing material; attending meetings with partners and the Board of Directors; and assisting with budget analysis. The work requires knowledge of computer software programs such as Excel and Adobe, both written and verbal communication skills, and the ability to multi-task.

Community Financial Literacy (Immigrant and Refugee Communities) – Portland, ME
Community Financial Literacy (CFL) seeks to support immigrants and refugees in making sound money management decisions. CFL offers classes, workshops, and one-on-one counseling in basic financial skills. In this placement, the fellow will have the opportunity to assist CFL in developing curriculum related to Financial Literacy for new Americans through CFL’s Savings to Build Wealth Class and Microfinance Finance; and updating the current Basic Money Management curriculum. The fellow will also develop a Career Skill Builder workshop to assist immigrants and refugees with job training materials. Further, the fellow will help research the cost and staffing needs to add more programs. This placement will help the fellow gain knowledge in non-profit management, strategies for educating refugees and immigrants about financial literacy, and skills to enhance cross-cultural communication.

Independence Association (Individuals with Disabilities) – Brunswick, ME
Independence Association assists adults and children with disabilities in having a full and inclusive life in their chosen community. In addition to supporting individuals with mental retardation, the agency increasingly assists individuals with other disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, and mental illness. The agency also acts as an advocate for individuals so that they can achieve recognition and acceptance in their communities and in their life’s activities. The summer fellow will assist with the assessment, development, standardization, and implementation of therapeutic interventions across all settings. This will include working with a team to develop meaningful objectives that facilitate success in education, vocation, activities of daily living, and advancement in language skills. The fellow will also work directly with the Executive Director to help develop training DVD’s for staff and clients.

Maine Center for Economic Policy (Economic Policy) – Augusta, ME
The Maine Center for Economic Policy advances public policy solutions that help Maine people prosper in a strong, fair and sustainable economy through high-quality research, analysis, citizen education, and coalition building. MECEP focuses on issues of livable wages; family support; affordable healthcare; fair budget and taxes; and sustainable development. This placement offers a student the opportunity to work with MECEP staff to conduct research and analysis on one or two policy issues that culminate in the publication of a report produced by MECEP. 2012 areas of focus include Maine Hunger Initiative, Stand Up for Working Families and Policy Impacts in Rural Maine. In addition, fellows participate in other aspects of the organization’s work which include writing op-eds; hosting State of the State, a weekly television show on Maine news and events; attending meetings with coalition partners and policymakers; participating in staff and board meetings and assisting with communications activities. Fellows are expected to stay abreast of Maine news and events during their fellowship in order to help identify other connections between MECEP’s work and current events. Students with experiences from an Economics background are encouraged to apply.

Mitchell Institute (Educational Policy) – Portland, ME
The Mitchell Institute works to increase the likelihood that young people from every community in Maine will aspire to, pursue and achieve a college education. The Mitchell Institute provides a college scholarship each year to one graduating senior from every high school in Maine and engages these scholars in leadership, professional development, community service, and mentoring activities. Additionally, the Mitchell Institute Research Program seeks to learn about the obstacles that stand between Maine students and higher education. This placement provides opportunities for a summer fellow to engage in policy-oriented research and data analysis. Working with the Mitchell Institute’s Director of Research on a number of projects, the primary focus for 2012 will be distributing college enrollment reports to all Maine high schools and updating an annual report on Maine education indicators. Working with a small, collegial staff, the fellow will be involved in compiling and performing calculations with state and national data; creating tables, charts, and maps with data; and attending and presenting at advisory group meetings of Maine educators and policymakers.

Preble Street (Food Security) - Portland, ME
Preble Street is a 24/365 service hub for hungry and homeless people struggling with issues including abuse, chronic illness, language barriers, and unemployment. The summer fellow will work with the team responsible for northern New England’s largest emergency food program, including nine meals a day at three soup kitchens and a food pantry that provides approximately 8,800 nutritious meals a week to homeless and low-income residents of Greater Portland. The fellow will help prepare and serve meals; assist with record keeping; and participate in agency activities such as advocacy, trainings, and community meetings with private and public partners. Additionally, the summer fellow will assist with research for identifying strategies to improve program capacity and develop and replicate best practice that promotes effective distribution of food – especially to children – throughout the State. Through this community organizing work, the Summer Fellow will develop a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness and complexity of local emergency food response systems and state, regional, and federal efforts to address hunger.

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