Community Matters in Maine Summer Fellowships

CMM site visit 2013

The Community Matters in Maine Summer Fellowships provide students the opportunity to work and serve in the local community by way of a placement in a specific organization to address community issues while strengthening campus-community partnerships. 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.  

This 10-week fellowship includes a $4000 stipend, and fellows are eligible for on-campus housing. In addition to their placements, students convene regularly with other fellows for reflection and problem solving. Most fellowship placements go from early June to mid-August.
McKeen Community Fellows work with organizations addressing issues of social/civic concern.  Placements are designed for students interested in public service with experience in community service and/or service learning courses.
Psi Upsilon/Logan Environmental Fellows work with organizations addressing issues related to the environment at the local level and are primarily for students majoring in Environmental Studies.

Applications will be available in January and due in February. Interviews with agencies will be scheduled for March and all accepted fellows will be notified before Spring Break.

Read about past McKeen Community Fellows and their placements:
2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006

McKeen Community Placements for Summer 2015

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 would divide their time to work alongside ArtVan Program staff and ArtVan Development Director to support both direct service and organizational development. Working as a team member and alongside arts educators, art therapists, the financial administrator, and the director of development, the fellow would have the opportunity to stretch both their creative, business and entrepreneurial capacities.

Projects include:

  • Assist in the design of, and lead neighborhood arts projects.
  • Help with ArtVan’s organizational development with a focus, depending upon the fellow’s interests/skills, on capacity building, development or arts therapy research.

Bath Housing Authority (Affordable Housing and Housing Policy) -- Bath, ME

Bath Housing works to enhance housing stability for seniors, those with disabilities, and families in the greater Bath area. Established in 1969 to address the shortage of safe affordable housing available to low income households, Bath Housing now serves over 325 households in the area through affordable apartments and housing choice vouchers. Each day, families with acute housing needs seek help from Bath Housing. The summer fellow will work with staff to further the understanding of the needs in this area and research programmatic options to address those needs. The fellow will also assist Bath Housing in evaluating resident satisfaction of those we already serve.

Projects include:

  • nalyze data gathered from housing intake surveys conducted from May 2014 to present.
  • Conduct research on programmatic solutions to housing issues in the area, including programs related to aging in place, tenant education, and financial literacy.

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 fellow will assist CFL in expanding its mission by gathering data on funding education for immigrants and refugees and on workforce development, including talking to current workforce development providers about challenges and costs related to providing these services. In the process the fellow will gain knowledge of nonprofit management skills, enhance his or her cross-cultural communication skills, and get to know the diversity of the refugee and immigrant communities in Portland.

Projects include:

  • Collect and compare data on facilitating funding for higher education and workforce skills development to refugees, immigrants and other disadvantaged families immigrant skills with workforce corporation needs.
  • Research micro enterprise, workforce development, and small business management best practices to assist CFL in new initiatives in these areas.

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:

  • Assist clients in Immigration Clinic in filling out basic immigration forms and applications (e.g., for work permit or permanent residency “Green card”) and then follow-up on each case to finalize and complete the assistance.
  • Work on applications for individuals who qualify under President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform.

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

MECEP’s MECEP researches, analyzes, and writes about the need for better economic opportunities and policies for low and middle-income Mainers (jobs, fair taxes and budgets, quality education and worker training, and accessible child care and health care), and the growing divide between Maine’s wealthiest and poorest families. 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 that makes a difference in the lives of low- and moderate-income Mainers. Using research results, the fellow will write a policy brief and media pieces for both traditional and social media 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:

  • Policy analysis on any of the following: Maine’s livable wage model and strategy; publicly-subsidized low-wage work; the flow of federal funds in Maine; or the economic contribution of immigrants and refugees.
  • Media and communications or advocacy work, or economic research, depending upon fellow’s interests and skills.

Maine Migrant Health Program (Public Health) – Augusta, ME

The Maine Migrant Health Program (MMHP) is a unique safety net provider in Maine, providing mobile medical care to Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers (MSFWs), one of the country’s most underserved and invisible populations facing barriers to health care, including limited transportation, poverty and lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate services. MMHP provides services in the evenings on-site in migrant housing areas, and also offers case management, medical interpretation, transportation, and health care navigation. The fellow would work in the Augusta office providing support in the development of health education materials and needs assessment/strategic planning tasks. Depending on language proficiency, the fellow will also spend time in the patient setting assisting staff in the mobile medical unit.

Projects include:

  • Maine migrant and seasonal farmworker needs assessment and follow-on strategic planning support.
  • Development of culturally appropriate health education resources and materials targeted to Maine’s migrant and seasonal farmworker population.

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 summer fellow will focus on researching and quantifying the value of the services that MCHPP provides to the community for publication in grant applications, volunteer and donor newsletters, press releases and the annual report. In addition, s/he will continue the Constituent Feedback program successfully started by last year’s Bowdoin fellow. If interested, he or she could also learn how to develop grant proposals and agency mailings. The ideal candidate will enjoy interviewing people, have strong written and verbal communication skills and be proficient with Microsoft Office and Publisher.

Projects include:

  • Working with the Food Security Coalition of Mid Coast Maine, the fellow will create a detailed analysis of food sources, donated and purchased, available to identified food pantries.
  • Research and quantify the value of a non perishable food box, a pantry visit, a backpack distribution and a food mobile visit. This information can be incorporated into our communications to foundations, volunteers, staff, the press and donors.

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 Project 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 data on national and state education indicators; research promising practices in encouraging student aspirations; and conduct an annual college student and alumni survey using Excel and Access databases. He/she will attend meetings and conferences and connect with partner organizations in the process of learning about nonprofit management.

Projects include:

  • Conducting an annual college student and alumni survey and distributing college enrollment data to Maine high schools.
  • Collecting data on a variety of education indicators and helping to update the Indicators report.
  • Researching promising practices in encouraging student aspirations.

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.
  • Supporting and implementing the USDA Summer Food Service Program Summer Meals for Kids in underserved communities in nine Maine counties, including identifying eligible sites and finding potential community partners and site locations.

More About Our Program:

As part of the program, fellows are required to:

  • Participate in an orientation to the program during the first week of June;
  • Convene regularly with other fellows and staff for discussion, reflection and problem solving and to identify common themes among participating agencies that might be addressed in the future;
  • Present a summary of the experience to participating agencies, students, faculty and staff at the end of the summer;
  • Participate in an evaluation of the program at the end of the summer to help craft future program components.

Interest in public issues, academic record, and financial need are all important criteria for fellowship applicants, although students not receiving aid are eligible if a paying summer job is a necessity. Preference is given to rising juniors and seniors.