Many people in Maine make helping others a priority. They do so by supporting such organizations as LearningWorks. The nonprofit, which is based in Southern Maine, helps children, immigrants, and low-income families—largely through educational services. The organization currently assists 3,000 people each year.
Families in need benefit from such offerings as after-school programs, English classes, and mental health services. Through LearningWorks, individuals can learn skills that will help them further their education and their careers.
I recently met with Executive Director Heather Davis to discuss the role of LearningWorks in the community of Portland. Davis said that the organization is “learning about what the community needs and what kinds of programs we can offer.”
ACCESS TO KNOWLEDGE
Helping students has always been a key mission at LearningWorks. Many kids attend after-school programs if they're having trouble learning in traditional schools. “For a lot of people, school is a really hard place to be,” Davis said.
In addition to offering opportunities for children, LearningWorks also provides high school programs. Students can attend classes at LearningWorks instead of a regular high school, earn a diploma, then get help finding a job.
“Once you can read and learn about all the ideas that are out there, you can begin to understand who you are, where you come from, where you want to go, and what kind of life you want to live,” Davis said. “Everyone should have access to that. Education is the basis of everything.”
LearningWorks specializes in helping people who are vulnerable. But, as Davis said, “At one time or another, everyone needs help.”