As a continued effort to better connect with the “new Mainers” in Biddeford, the Biddeford School Department is hosting a third Biddeford Rising gathering on Thursday, November 1st from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at John F. Kennedy School, 64 West Street, Biddeford. The event is open to the public and will include a free community meal.
“The first gathering focused on listening to ‘New Mainers’ concerns and working on future events that address those needs,” stated Superintendent Jeremy Ray. “The second event brought in a dozen organizations so new immigrants and refugees could easily access resources in an informal setting. This third event will have an emphasis on civic engagement, housing and available employment.”
Some of the organizations who will attend include: York County Career Center, Maine Education Opportunity Center, Biddeford Adult Education, League of Women Voters, FEDCAP, Pine Tree Legal, City of Biddeford, People Ready Recruitment, Southern Maine Health Care, Anchorage by the Sea, Manpower, York County Community Action, Casco Bay Molding and United Way of York County.
Biddeford School Department believes that strengthened relationships with the EL community will reap positive benefits for all. Some of the goals of Biddeford Rising include: improved school-to-home communication; improved cultural understanding for administrators and staff; increased support for summer programs, with an eye towards full-year programming; connecting our refugee, migrant, and immigrant populations with much-needed community services to increase access to medical and dental care, legal support, financial help, housing and nutrition services, and more; and fostering a sense of trust between skeptical refugees, migrants, and immigrants (especially the large number of asylum-seekers in Maine).
Biddeford Rising is mirrored after Portland Empowered, a successful school-to-home program for non-native speakers. Meetings will continue to be held on a bi-annual basis with translators available and free transportation provided. The event is subsidized by a grant from Catholic Charities of Maine. For more information, visit biddefordschools.me or contact Kerrie Edgerton at 207-282-8280.