In the News: Extensive search leads LearningWorks to new HQ

LW in the News

The following article by Laurie Schreiber was published by Mainebiz on January 12, 2024 LearningWorks, a Portland education nonprofit, has found a new location for its facility in a 6,300 square-foot lease of office and retail space at 190 Riverside St. in Portland. The nonprofit has been at 181 Brackett St., a 13,020-square-foot building on Portland’s West […]

Support LearningWorks This Giving Season


A message from Thomas McLaughlin, LearningWorks Executive Director: Since July, I have been both humbled and honored to serve in my position as Executive Director. Throughout these months, every day has included chances to witness the life-changing learning experiences that we offer to a diverse array of students in Cumberland and York counties. I am […]

LearningWorks Celebrates 24 Graduates from YouthBuild

LearningWorks YouthBuildLW EventsLW in the News

On Thursday, June 22, 2023, LearningWorks hosted its annual YouthBuild graduation ceremony at Deering Oaks Park in Portland. Twenty-four students celebrated their successful completion of the program in one of the largest graduation ceremonies in recent years. Graduates represented three different cohorts from the 2022-2023 program cycle. YouthBuild is an alternative high school and job […]

Tom McLaughlin Chosen as New Executive Director of LearningWorks

LW in the NewsStaff

LearningWorks is thrilled to announce that Tom McLaughlin has been chosen as the agency’s new Executive Director. Having conducted a nationwide search led by Starboard Leadership Consulting, the Board of Directors selected McLaughlin to assume leadership of LearningWorks. “Tom will be a wonderful asset to LearningWorks,” shares Eben Jose, the Chair of LearningWorks’ Board of […]

LearningWorks’ YouthBuild receives $1.38 million federal grant

LearningWorks YouthBuildLW in the News

LearningWorks’ YouthBuild program has been awarded a $1.38 million grant through the U.S. Department of Labor.

New Opportunities for Teaching Artists with LearningWorks Afterschool!

LearningWorks AfterSchool

Do you or your organization have a talent that you’d love to share with your community?  Are you a visual, musical, or performing artist?  A writer, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) professional, or creator of any kind?  We’re seeking community partners who can provide a resident instructor to join our LearningWorks Afterschool team […]

LearningWorks Welcomes Leslie Tremberth as Interim Executive Director


The LearningWorks Board of Directors hired Leslie Tremberth to serve as the LearningWorks Interim Executive Director. Her term as interim began on January 2nd, 2023.

LearningWorks Executive Director Search


The board of directors of LearningWorks in Portland, Maine, seeks a proven leader to drive this well-established, highly regarded nonprofit to new heights. LearningWorks responds to educational needs in the community by providing tutoring, mentoring, and alternative education opportunities designed to ensure the success of learners whose needs are not met by traditional systems.

Heather Davis Stepping Down as Executive Director

LW in the NewsStaff

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. 

The LearningWorks YouthBuild Farm Dinner & Cookbook Celebration

LW Events

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 […]

Governor Janet Mills Featured Speaker at LearningWorks YouthBuild Graduation

LearningWorks YouthBuildLW EventsLW in the News

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 […]

Sara Gideon Donates $10k to LearningWorks

LearningWorks YouthBuildLW in the NewsLW Supporter

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 […]

Brighter Days Story: Service Works and the Mission Hill Community Garden

Brighter DaysService Works

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 […]

Brighter Days Story: Jules and Davina from Aim High AmeriCorps

AIMS HIGH AmeriCorpsBrighter Days

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 […]

Brighter Days Story: Niru and Marie from English Language + Literacy Program

Brighter DaysEnglish Language + LiteracyLW Events

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 […]

Brighter Days Story: Justin from LearningWorks YouthBuild

Brighter DaysLearningWorks YouthBuildLW Events

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 […]

Brighter Days Story: Lillian from LearningWorks Afterschool

Brighter DaysLearningWorks AfterSchoolLW Events

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

LW Events

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

AIMS HIGH AmeriCorpsLW Events

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, […]

Technology Services RFP for LearningWorks

LW in the News

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.

Virtual Event! Restorative Practices: Community Service As an Alternative for Youth

LW EventsService WorksStaff

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.

COVID 19 Agency Updates

Due to increased COVID 19 cases in Maine, LearningWorks has moved all five of our programs to full remote status until Martin Luther King Jr. Day, at which point we will reevaluate.  Please contact with any questions.

COVID 19 Agency Updates

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 […]

Virtual Event!: Opportunities for Maine’s High School Students in the Time of COVID

LearningWorks YouthBuildLW Events

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 […]

Virtual Event! Could You Repeat That Please? Learning English in the time of COVID

English Language + LiteracyLW Events

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.

Portland Press Herald: Youth Building Alternative program students celebrate graduation

LearningWorks YouthBuildLW in the News

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.

Virtual Event! Welcome to Kindergarten: Pandemic Edition

LearningWorks AfterSchoolLW Events

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.

Agency Updates & Program Highlights

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.

LearingWorks Is Here For You

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 […]

COVID-19 Agency Updates

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 Morrill

50 StoriesAIMS HIGH AmeriCorpsLearningWorks AfterSchoolLearningWorks YouthBuildStaff

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 […]

LearningWorks 101 Tours

LW EventsVolunteer

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 + […]

King’s Head Fundraiser to Benefit LearningWorks!

LW Events
October 07, 2019

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 Issues RFP for New Strategic Plan

July 25, 2019

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 […]

LW and Ukuleles Heal the World on 207!

LearningWorks AfterSchoolLW in the NewsSummer Programs

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 […]

LearningWorks Receives Aim High AmeriCorps Grant

AIMS HIGH AmeriCorpsLW in the News

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 […]

Will Kilbreth

50 StoriesThe Board

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.

Flatbread Fundraiser Night!

LW Events

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 […]

Lesley MacVane

50 StoriesLearningWorks YouthBuildThe Board

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 + Dave Kull

50 StoriesEnglish Language + LiteracyVolunteer

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.

Lee Urban

50 StoriesLearningWorks AfterSchool

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, […]

Julie Stone

50 StoriesLearningWorks YouthBuildStaff

“There is something refreshing about working with this group of young adults. Many of the students have overcome some of the greatest challenges and barriers, yet they continue to shine and overcome their obstacles.”

LearningWorks 101 Tours

LW Events

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 […]

Help us win $5,000!

LW EventsLW Supporter

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.

Otto Fundraiser Night

LW Events
August 28, 2018

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 […]

Kelly McConnell

50 StoriesLearningWorks AfterSchool

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 and Francina Jordan

50 StoriesEnglish Language + LiteracyVolunteer

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, […]

Youth Building Alternatives Issues RFP for Career Preparation Specialist

LearningWorks YouthBuildStaff

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 […]

YBA Students Take Home Trophies at the 2018 Career Development Conference

LearningWorks YouthBuildLW in the News
March 28, 2018

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 […]

LearningWorks Afterschool Students Learn the Joy of Ukulele at Riverton Elementary

LearningWorks AfterSchoolLW in the NewsSummer Programs
February 26, 2018

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 […]

LearningWorks Marks a Half Century of Helping Kids

LW EventsLW in the News

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.

50th Anniversary Bash!

LW Events
October 13, 2017

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 Hall

50 StoriesEnglish Language + LiteracyStaff
October 02, 2017

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

50 StoriesEnglish Language + LiteracyStaff
September 26, 2017

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.

PJ Sanguedolce

50 StoriesService Works
September 14, 2017

Since participating in our Service Works program, PJ’s days in the corrections system are behind him. He remains connected to his community, is currently working, and hopes to start a new job in construction.

Karla Salamanca

50 StoriesAIMS HIGH AmeriCorpsStaff
September 20, 2017

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

50 StoriesLW Supporter
September 01, 2017

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.

Missouri Alice Williams

50 StoriesLearningWorks AfterSchool
September 24, 2017

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.

David Tucker and Sebastian

50 StoriesLearningWorks AfterSchoolVolunteer
September 01, 2017

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.

Emily Thielmann

50 StoriesAIMS HIGH AmeriCorpsStaff
September 06, 2017

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.

Andy Meyer

50 StoriesVolunteer
September 09, 2017

“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

50 StoriesLearningWorks YouthBuild
September 15, 2017

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-Davy Mambanza

50 StoriesEnglish Language + Literacy
September 16, 2017

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

50 StoriesService Works
September 13, 2017

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.

Grace Wiley

50 StoriesLearningWorks YouthBuild
September 10, 2017

“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 Emelo

50 StoriesEnglish Language + Literacy
September 07, 2017

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

50 StoriesLearningWorks YouthBuild
September 09, 2017

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 […]

Wilfreid Plalum

50 StoriesLearningWorks YouthBuild
June 16, 2017

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.”

Donna Galluzo

50 StoriesThe Board
July 18, 2017

Donna Galluzzo was a LearningWorks board member from 1999 to 2006 and significantly shaped who we are today. 

“LearningWorks awarded grants for after-school programs in Portland and Biddeford.”

LearningWorks AfterSchoolLW in the News
June 10, 2017

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.

“Portland organization celebrates 50 years of helping those on the margins.”

LW in the News
May 17, 2017

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.