It is with a mixture of sadness and gratitude that we announce Executive Director Heather Davis will be leaving LearningWorks at the end of this year. Heather has played a critical role in LearningWorks’ success. Although when she first joined the team in 2016, she initially only planned to stay with the organization for five years, she extended that timeline to see us through the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic. We are grateful for her dedicated leadership during that time.
During the COVID pandemic, we continued our critical work with local teens and young adults who left traditional high school and needed an alternative pathway to graduation and the workforce. With masks on and hearts full of hope, our culinary arts students continued their education at our commercial kitchen, receiving nationally recognized certifications, and preparing […]
Our LearningWorks YouthBuild (LWYB) program graduated 24 students on August 12, 2021 at the Deering Oaks Park Amphitheater in Portland, ME. LWYB serves teens and young adults who have struggled to find their way in the traditional education system. Since 1994, the program has helped young people aged 16-24 who need an alternative to traditional […]
Former Speaker of the House and candidate for US Senate, Sara Gideon announced $757,000 in donations of leftover campaign funds to 21 Maine nonprofits, a total of $1.1 million since the end of her U.S. Senate campaign. Sara said, “During my time as Speaker and on my Senate campaign, I had the opportunity to see […]
On any given day, The Mission Hill Community Garden can look pretty different. But whether a few green stalks are just starting to quietly push through the spring soil, or families are gathered to harvest their thriving flowers and veggies — at its roots it’s a place about connection. The small plot of land has […]
As a freshman at Bowdoin College, Jules enrolled in an Introductory course to Contemporary American Education. It was a broad class, examining the philosophy of public schooling. She found herself loving it, partly because of the incredibly inspiring professor (who would become her mentor) and also because she had spent many of her teenage years […]
When Niru was 12 years old, she and her family left their home in India, and moved to the United States. Both of her parents were educators, and Niru had been raised multilingual, so she fortunately had a solid foundation in English when she arrived. She went on to study optometry and practiced as an […]
When Justin was in elementary school, he and his family left Maine and moved to the Bronx. “I had a couple of friends, but I’ve always been the observer — quiet and walking behind everyone else – watching and listening.” School in a big city was tough for Justin — he remembers being bullied, often […]
When the pandemic hit, a lot changed for 7 year old Lillian and her family. School, which she loved more than anything, all of the sudden meant learning on a screen at home. It also meant that her mom, a single parent, would be away at work each day, while Lillian and her older sister […]
Virtual Event! LearningWorks Presents: Equity in Education, A Conversation with Side x Side & The Telling Room
Last year, LearningWorks, The Telling Room and Side x Side received a grant from the Maine Community Foundation to support professional development focused on antiracism work in our organizations and classrooms. As a cohort, these three educational organizations in Portland have been working with Cross Cultural Community Services to learn, grow and ensure that students […]
Virtual Event! Social Emotional Skills in Elementary School: A Conversation with Aim High AmeriCorps
Please join us for our next virtual spring event on Friday, April 9th, 2021 at 12pm. We’re hosting a Q&A with our Aim High AmeriCorps team, discussing social and emotional learning practices in an elementary school setting. The LearningWorks Aim High program places teams of dedicated AmeriCorps members in elementary schools to support each student’s academic, social, […]
LearningWorks seeks a technology company or consultant as creative, varied, robust, and imaginative as we are to streamline, integrate, and support our varying technology systems. LearningWorks aims to operate both in-person and remotely with a unified, high-quality technology support system that all of our employees, volunteers, and students can safely access and utilize to meet their goals.
Please join us for the first in a series of three virtual spring events on Friday, March 5th, 2021 at 12pm. We’re hosting a Q&A with our Service Works team, discussing ways in which we use community service as an alternative to suspension, expulsion and system involvement.
It’s November and, with COVID cases in Maine on the rise, we’ve altered our policies and procedures to meet the current situation. We have adopted a hybrid model in which some programs continue to be fully remote while some are operating in person with an abundance of safety precautions. For each program, we’ve measured the […]
Do you want to learn more about how Maine’s high school students are being impacted by the pandemic? Are you interested to know how your community is adapting? Please join the staff of LearningWorks and our special guest speakers to learn how Southern Maine nonprofits and local schools are helping students get to graduation day […]
Join us on Thursday, October 15 at 12 p.m.
Do you want to learn more about how New Mainers are being impacted by the pandemic? Are you interested to know how your community is helping? Please join the staff of LearningWorks and our special guest speakers to learn how Southern Maine nonprofits are leveraging technology to help adult New Mainers learn English and stay on track with their goals during this time of remote learning.
On September 2, 2020, The Portland Press Herald covered this summer’s socially distanced Youth Building Alternative’s graduation ceremony in their School Notebook section.
Parents, families, and teachers: please join the staff of LearningWorks and our special guest speakers to learn more about supporting our community’s PreK and Kindergarten students entering school for the first time during the COVID pandemic. This virtual event is FREE and takes place on September 9th from 6 to 6:45 pm.
All LearningWorks offices and in-person programs are suspended until further notice.
As of April 27th, 2020, our offices will remain closed and our programs will continue to operate virtually. We are closely monitoring the situation and will update our community regularly.
Dear LearningWorks Community, Last week, I wrote to you all to announce that we would be closing our programs and offices temporarily as part of our state’s effort to protect the community from COVID-19 by staying home and practicing social distancing. Shortly after that, I began fielding a surge of requests from our team. They […]
Dear LearningWorks Community, The health and safety of our families, staff and community is my greatest priority. Effective March 16, 2020, all programming is canceled for the next two weeks due to the continued spread of COVID-19 in Maine. The best information we have at this time indicates that social distancing is a critical strategy to […]
Victoria (Tori) Morrill joined the LearningWorks team in 2014. She currently serves as the Academic Program Coordinator of Youth Building Alternatives (YBA). However, if you ask her or the young adults in the program, Tori is their “Vice Principal.” Tori graduated from UMaine Farmington, where she earned a degree in Elementary Education. Before joining the […]
Please join us for coffee and pastries at 8am on the second Thursday of each month for a tour of our Portland headquarters and an inside look at our mission and programs. Each month, we host a gathering of community members for a one hour tour that includes a visit to our English Language + […]
Please join us from 5-7pm on Monday, October 7th for a delicious night of food and drink with our pals at The King’s Head in Portland. A portion of all proceeds from the evening will directly benefit our free programs for 3,000 students in Southern Maine.
LearningWorks is seeking proposals from experienced consultants to lead a new strategic planning process that will guide our operations for the next three years. We would like to find a consultant who will help us grapple with some big questions related to our finances, programs, physical space, and more. We also want to create a […]
LearningWorks AfterSchool and Summer partner, Ukuleles Heal the World, was profiled on News Center Maine’s 207 segment on July 23rd. Find the link below to watch our Presumpscot School students learning to play their instruments! Here is an excerpt from the story: “Convinced that the ukulele was a perfect way to connect kids to music […]
Maine will receive $2.8 million in federal funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service, Maine’s two U.S. senators announced on Monday. The grants will support 249 AmeriCorps members serving five organizations including the Maine Conservation Corps in Augusta and LearningWorks in Portland, which provides free community-based education programs throughout southern Maine. “For more […]
By day, Will Kilbreth organizes teams of tech savvy people to create behind the scenes systems that manage data and information using technology. His background as a student of philosophy informs his tech skills, positioning him to lead overall strategy for a large organization. Currently, he is the Chief Information Officer at Maine Community Health Options, responsible for the organization’s overall technical strategy. For the past ten years, he has also served as a LearningWorks board member and for many years, as our board chair. Will’s unique blend of skills – big picture thinking, a strategic mindset, and a capacity for asking the right questions – have served LearningWorks well.
Please join us on Portland’s beautiful downtown waterfront for community and pizza at Flatbread Company. On Tuesday, February 19th from 5pm t0 9pm, a portion of all dine in and takeout flatbread orders will be donated to LearningWorks. This money will go directly to support our five, free educational programs. We will have tables set […]
By seeing our students as they truly are and sharing their stories with the world, Lesley helped amplify our mission and make it visible in the community. It’s not easy to share compelling information about young people struggling in the traditional education system, but Lesley made it possible. She brought in countless friends, family, and supporters to see what she saw – hope, safety, support, and possibility – and created a community of donors, volunteers, and staff at LearningWorks that we will benefit from indefinitely. Thank you, Lesley, for all you have done to make LearningWorks what it is today.
Billie and Dave Kull are a retired couple who are in their second year of teaching in the English Language + Literacy Program (EL+LP) at LearningWorks. When they moved to Portland from Arizona a few years ago, they began looking for volunteer opportunities. They had a long history of collaborating on projects, so they wanted to do something together and were interested in serving their community utilizing their areas of expertise. They found LearningWorks.
Three years ago, Lee Urban – a former lawyer and elementary school teacher – decided that he wanted to spread the joy that he feels when playing the ukulele. He saw the potential for the instrument to do good in his community. He formed the non-profit Ukuleles Heal the World and, through a common connection, […]
Have you ever walked by our building on Brackett Street and wondered what’s inside? Have you heard about LearningWorks and wanted to know more about what we do and how you can help? LearningWorks hosts regular tours that give you an inside view into our mission, our staff and students, and our Portland headquarters. We […]
One of five local non-profits will win $5000 from Machias Savings Bank’s Portland Branch. Vote for us by texting the word “GivePRT” to 33898 and choose LearningWorks when prompted. It only takes a minute! This gift would help to support our free education programs that serve Mainers of all ages. View results here.
Please join us at the 225 Congress St. Otto on August 28th to eat pizza a raise money for our free education programs! A percentage of all sales made between 5 – 9p.m. will be donated directly to LearningWorks. We are so thrilled to partner with Otto on this event and can’t wait to see […]
We were fortunate to join forces with Kelly McConnell in 2011 through a collaborative partnership between the Maine College’s of Art’s (MECA) Masters of Arts in Teaching program and our LearningWorks Afterschool program for elementary school students. Kelly is currently the Director of Art Education Outreach and an Associate Professor at MECA. Her work involves […]
Julia Ridge has been tutoring LearningWorks student Francina Jordan through our English Language + Literacy program since 2011. Francina came to LearningWorks after her son encouraged her to find a tutoring program. He said, “You’re never too old to learn.” Francina, who has dyslexia, says, “I worked all my life not knowing how to read, […]
LearningWorks has issued a Request for Proposals for a full-time Career Preparation Specialist to be embedded in the Youth Building Alternatives program. Organizations and individuals with extensive experience in providing work readiness, youth leadership, and soft skills education for workforce development programs serving young adults are invited to apply. Proposals are due by no later […]
On March 28, 2018 students from our Youth Building Alternatives program attended JMG’s annual Career Development Conference at Thomas College. They joined more than 500 seniors and juniors from across the state to compete in areas like job preparedness, teamwork, and leadership. We’re so proud to announce that our students won several trophies, including multiple 2nd […]
The Portland Press Herald published a wonderful feature on LearningWorks’ collaboration with Lee Urban’s Ukuleles Heal the World program which brings free music lessons to elementary school students in our afterschool program. “As much as he loves playing ukulele with other adults, Urban wanted to involve more children from the community. After leaving his job […]
At LearningWorks’ 50th Anniversary Bash in November 2017, the Portland Press Herald’s Scene and Heard Columnists were on hand to capture the merriment! Click here to read their story.
We’re celebrating 50 years of dedicated service at our Anniversary Bash! Join us November 15th for delicious food provided by Black Betty’s Bistro, remarks from U.S. Senator Angus King and LearningWorks alum Liz Leddy, and an exhibition of photographs from our 50 Stories Project.
Teyonda was our English Language + Literacy Director from 2011-2017. She was equally at home in the board room presenting, in the classroom teaching adult English Language Learners, and in the elementary school hallways, where students referred to her affectionately as “Miss T.”
Constant Kabuyenge, an immigrant from Burundi, began working with other new Mainers by volunteering as an assistant teacher, and then lead teacher, in LearningWorks’ English Language + Literacy program. He was inspired by how courageously students were fighting to learn English without complaining about their similar fates.
When Karla Salamanca graduated from Portland High School in 2016, she knew she wanted to attend college, but she decided to take a gap year to learn more about herself. She became an AmeriCorps member and joined the LearningWorks team.
Susan Abt is one of the many individual donors who make our free services for the community possible. “It imbues me with a feeling of relief to know that there is support available for young people who may not have succeeded in the education system or who have had run-ins with the law,” she says.
When Missouri was a kindergartner at Reiche Elementary, she participated in a LearningWorks summer Story Camp for six weeks. She struggled with comprehension, but being able to participate in one of our free literacy programs helped her get the best possible start in school.
Texas Instruments employee David Tucker volunteers in our LearningWorks Afterschool (LWAS) program two afternoons each month. “I am privileged to help young students begin to reveal their potential as creative problem solvers,” he says.
West End resident Emily Thielmann started her career at LearningWorks as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in the summer of 2009, coordinating volunteers and starting a mentoring program for adult English Language Leaners and Youth Building Alternatives students.
“LearningWorks plays a key role in finding and training volunteers like me and matching us up with students like Fatima who we can help,” says Andy Meyer, Residential Program Manager at Efficiency Maine. “Thanks to LearningWorks, I have found meaningful volunteer work, and Fatima has been able to advance her career.”
Joe Dubail, a current student in our Youth Building Alternatives program, is making the most of opportunities that eluded him in high school. “I stopped going to school when I was a senior. I was not motivated because I was having a difficult time in class, and I didn’t have goals for my future.”
Arnaud arrived from Congo after being forced to separate from his wife and children due to political unrest. Despite having degrees in both chemistry and petroleum engineering, Arnaud is currently unable to work in Maine. Through our English Language + Literacy Program, he is gaining proficiency in hopes of reuniting his family and re-establishing his career.
Derek Pierce is the principal of Casco Bay High School. His commitment to innovative, inclusive, and student centered learning have been a perfect match for our Service Works program, which gives kids in trouble at school a chance to reflect on their mistakes and make amends.
“If not for YBA, I would probably be at home doing nothing with my life,” says Grace Wiley, a current student in LearningWorks’ Youth Building Alternatives Program. A talented artist, Grace has a painting in exhibit at Regional High School Art Show at Casco Bay Artisans Fine Art Gallery in Portland.
Othniel became a student in our English Language & Literacy Program in September 2016, shortly after arriving in Portland from the Democratic Republic of Congo. His uncle told him that there was a place nearby where he could learn English for free, and since then, Othniel has dedicated himself to becoming proficient in speaking and comprehending English.
Liz Leddy’s resume is impressive. She’s a two time national Golden Gloves Champion; owner of her own hair styling business, and a personal trainer. Back in the mid-1990s, this kind of success and stability was something that seemed far beyond Liz’s reach. After dropping out of high school, Liz found herself homeless. She struggled with […]
Over twenty years ago, Wilfreid Plalum found himself in the right place at the right time. He was 20 years old, and had just arrived in Maine with his family from South Sudan. “I was playing soccer with some friends across the street from LearningWorks, when two staff people stopped over and informed us of a new program at LearningWorks called Youth Building Alternatives.”
PORTLAND PRESS HERALD: LearningWorks has received grants totaling nearly $1.5 million over three years to support after-school and summer learning programs in Portland and Biddeford.
FORECASTER: LearningWorks, which started out as a grassroots neighborhood advocacy group 50 years ago, has grown into an organization dedicated to helping young people on the margins reach their full potential.