Portland Meet Portland offers unique two-way cultural learning and diversity training opportunities through thoughtful family and individual mentoring connections across cultures. Our educational and professional mentoring services build the trust and capacity for integration among immigrants and refugees while simultaneously, and consciously, fostering cross-cultural learning and diversity training for longer-term residents/mentors from the greater Portland area.
Customized English Tutoring and Citizenship Education
Portland Meet Portland understands that learning English and feeling comfortable communicating is essential to newcomers’ confidence building and success for in school, work and community. Immigrants and refugees arrive in Portland with varying levels of English and with a range of educational backgrounds: some have university and graduate degrees and others have never been in a classroom. Most newcomers work in jobs that have shifting work schedules and mothers often have significant childcare responsibilities limiting their mobility and schedules. We therefore offer custom tailored and flexible English and Citizenship ESL learning opportunities, ranging from classroom instruction, to small in-home group sessions, and one-on-one tutoring specialized to a student’s level or professional language needs.
Youth Leadership and Cultural Resilience
The children of immigrants and refugees have a unique adjustment experience that places them in a special world between the cultural traditions of their parents and the existing social context of their new “American” friends in school, on the playground on sports teams and in other youth-based activities. Portland Meet Portland (PMP) offers a Young Speakers and Leadership Program that mentors immigrants and refugees, ages 15-25, to advocate for and share their cultural assets in the wider community. An example is The East African All Stars (click here for more), a Somali Youth Basketball Team, focused on fostering leadership skills on and off the basketball court for personal empowerment and community safety. PMP prides itself on its positive youth development expertise – both for immigrants and refugees as well as for ‘mainstream’ youth looking for cross-cultural learning, service, leadership and volunteer opportunities. “Spend a day in the life of…” creates one-on-one exchanges through shadowing opportunities that center around family, cultural celebrations, school, sports or professional learning.
Work Skills and Micro-Enterprise Development
Portland Meet Portland recognizes the wide range of educational, work, and creative life skills that refugees and immigrants bring with them to their new homes in the United States. Making these culturally diverse assets of resilience, tenacity, entrepreneurialism and creativity more visible and viable in our local economic landscape requires building relevant and specific language, technological and professional skills. Portland Meet Portland offers one-on-one mentoring to assist newcomers navigate the complex range of educational, vocational and professional venues for re-skilling in ways that leverage and maximize their unique backgrounds. We specifically focus on opportunities to match professional mentors with immigrant and refugees, especially stay at home mothers, who have fantastic, yet unrealized potentials to create in-home mico-enterprise or on-line businesses.
Stories from Our Village
In 2013, the Stories of Our Village project emerged as an opportunity to share stories of one of the most diverse communities in Portland = New Columbia. The mission of the story project was to capture in their own words a variety of voices from the New Columbia world. You can read the full Stories from Our Village right here.