Joseph McKeen
Center for the Common Good

2013 Community Matters in Maine Summer Fellowships

Story posted January 21, 2013

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 Friday, February 15, 2013 at 12 noon.

McKeen Center Community Placements for 2013

ArtVan (Public Art) -- Bath, ME

ArtVan is a mobile arts therapy program that brings the arts to low income children and teens in Bath, Brunswick, Lewiston, Auburn and Biddeford. This fellowship position is especially suited to someone with a strong interest in social media, video, fundraising, marketing and of course the arts, youth and community wellness. The fellow will assist ArtVan with its direct art making programs, support project planning, material collections, work as a team member sharing ideas and talents, and devote time working alongside the ArtVan Development Director to help build communications in social media, website and other fundraising efforts.

Projects include:

  • Document the summer program sessions and create a video to represent this work
  • Work alongside ArtVan Development Director on fundraising and social media efforts

Brunswick Housing Authority (Affordable Housing) – Brunswick, ME

Brunswick Housing Authority works to provide safe, quality and affordable housing for eligible persons in need of assistance and to promote opportunities for the growth and development of residents as well as the community. The fellow will learn about housing development, marketing and energy efficiency green building standards, and assist in monitoring and organizing the various tasks associated with developing and maintaining affordable housing.  These include developing written material such as bid specifications for the construction phase of development; drafting policies to govern participation in affordable housing programs; attending meetings with partners including attendance of Board meetings; and assisting in budget analysis. The fellow will create and compile materials including Excel spreadsheets and visual information using Adobe.

Projects include:

  • Create and/or edit written materials necessary for program compliance
  • Assist in ongoing development projects by following up with contractors, applicants, town officials, architects, suppliers and others to gather information and document activities to ensure the projects come in as scheduled and under budget.

Community Financial Literacy (Immigrant & Refugee Communities) – Portland, ME

Community Financial Literacy seeks to support immigrants and refugees in making sound money management decisions. CFL offers classes, workshops, and one-on-one counseling on basic financial skills. The summer fellow will assist CFL in expanding its offerings by assessing the feasibility for job training classes for refugees, and assembling the report into a curriculum. The fellow will also determine costs and capacity for a new course, and design a low-skilled Basic Money Management curriculum for adults who have limited English proficiency and minimal education. The fellow will gain knowledge of non-profit management skills, provide strategies for educating refugees and immigrants about financial literacy, enhance his or her cross-cultural communication skills, and get to know the diversity of the refugee and immigrant communities in Portland.

Projects include:

  • Put together job skills training materials after conducting research from companies offering this program national wide.
  • Work with the Executive Director to design English as a Second Language (ESL) Financial Literacy curriculum to expand offerings in Lewiston.

Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (Immigrant & Refugee Communities) – Portland, ME

The Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project is Maine’s only statewide legal aid agency dedicated to providing legal assistance on immigration issues to low-income immigrants, including gaining asylum from persecution, unification with family members, and citizenship and work authorization. Approximately one-half of her/his time will be spent in direct client contact, working in ILAP’s Immigration Clinic and assisting ILAP’s staff with “intake” of new clients (interviewing and assembling client documents and needed data entry follow-up).  The fellow also will assist ILAP’s legal staff in researching particular matters, obtaining court records and other case support, and will also work on website maintenance and with the flow of clients at the front desk. The fellow will learn to interview and engage with people of very different backgrounds and life circumstances, and gain insight into what immigrants experience in Maine, how the immigration system functions, and what attorneys’ jobs in these situations actually involve.

Projects include:

  • In ILAP’s Immigration Clinic, the fellow will meet one-on-one with immigrant clients to assist them in filling out basic immigration forms and applications (such as applications for a work permit or permanent residency (“Green card”) and then will follow-up on each case to finalize and complete the assistance. 
  • In support of ILAP’s legal staff, the fellow will work with legal staff to obtain court records, perform needed research on particular client matters, and otherwise provide case support.

Maine Center for Economic Policy (Economic Policy) – Augusta, ME

The  Maine Center for Economic Policy specializes in economic policy analysis, using its research capacity, analytical ability, and advocacy to raise awareness of needed policy changes in education and work training, child care, health care, etc., to lift Mainers out of poverty and to promote economic justice. Opportunities at MECEP can be tailored based on the fellow’s interests in learning about public policy, economics, nonprofit management, advocacy, or communications. The fellow will conduct in-depth analysis of a particular policy issue of interest that culminates in a report or issue brief; write op-eds or blog posts on their conclusions; host a State of the State (MECEP’s weekly cable television talk show); and present findings to coalition partners and policymakers. The fellow will also participate in staff and board meetings and assist with communications and outreach activities.

Projects include:

  • Research policies that impact working poor families such as privatization of the GED
  • Work with the Start ME Right nonprofit coalition to provide an overview of existing early child care laws and their application
  • Develop a model to assess the effectiveness of public and private funds previously invested in tourism economic development and identify the ones that provide the biggest bang for the buck.

Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program (Food Security) – Brunswick, ME

The  Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program works to reduce hunger by providing food assistance, sustainable living education and referral services to households living at or below poverty in Brunswick, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Durham,  Harpswell, Lisbon, Lisbon Falls, and Topsham. The fellow for the Food Security Coalition of Mid Coast Maine will help Mid Coast area food pantries and soup kitchens work more effectively.  After visiting food pantries and interviewing people to learn about hunger in this area, the fellow will develop a basic food pantry operation manual that can be adapted to each individual food pantry.

Projects include:

  • Work with the Food Security Coalition of Mid Coast Maine to create a basic operating manual for small food pantries in the Mid Coast area.
  • Develop a communication plan for the 10th anniversary of MCHPP’s existence in our current location, including analyzing hunger in the state of Maine and at MCHPP, reviewing archives, interviewing clients, current and former board members and staff. The communication plan will include press releases, posters and a social media plan.

Mitchell Institute (Education Policy) – Portland, ME

The Mitchell Institute works to improve the likelihood that young people from every community in Maine will aspire to, pursue and achieve a college education. The summer fellow works as a Research Assistant on several Maine-focused, policy-oriented education research projects, using a blend of quantitative and qualitative research methods. The fellow joins a small, collegial staff in the office in downtown Portland. The fellow will collect and distribute data on a variety of education indicators using Excel and Access databases, creating infographics and maps with data, and advising staff on social media, design, office technology, etc.

Projects  include:

  • Aggregating and distributing college enrollment data to Maine high schools
  • Collecting data on a variety of education indicators
  • Helping to conduct an annual college student and alumni survey

Preble Street (Food Security) – Portland, ME

Preble Street and the Preble Street Maine Hunger Initiative advocate for solutions to end hunger in Maine and help low-income households move toward greater economic self-sufficiency.  The fellow will help expand access to USDA federal nutrition programs such as the Food Supplement Program and the Summer Food Service Program in Maine.  The fellow will also support the work of Preble Street soup kitchens and food pantry—the largest emergency food service delivery operation in northern New England—distributing 550,000 nutritious meals three times daily through soup kitchens and emergency food boxes for individuals and families who are homeless or living in poverty.  The fellow will develop an understanding of the causes and effects of hunger and poverty, the emergency food system and public policy around hunger including government benefit programs, as well as volunteerism, community organizing, and group facilitation. 

Projects include:

  • Increasing Food Supplement Program participation among seniors and working families through outreach and application assistance at food pantries and senior housing facilities, and recruiting and training volunteers to further this work.
  • Supporting and implementing the Summer Food Service Program in underserved communities by: identifying eligible sites and finding potential community partners and site locations; researching best practice models; and providing recommendations. 

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Applications are due Friday, February 15, at 12 noon.