Access to Essential Services
Immigrants and farmworkers often experience barriers as they lay down roots in Washington County, Maine. Lack of transportation, social and cultural capital, as well as limited English fluency compound the difficulties of navigating a social system that is slow to adapt to demographic changes. For instance, of the 526 different service requests received by Mano en Mano in 2015, 88% involved a language barrier. To address these needs, Mano en Mano’s main office serves as a drop-in resource center, where bilingual staff provide community orientation and the connections to local language, legal, educational, housing, and public services to unite and empower Latino, immigrant, and migrant farmworker communities in Downeast Maine. For example, the Julia Robiola Gigena Scholarship helps make college affordable, providing financial aid for a graduate of either Sumner or Narraguagus High Schools who self-identifies as Latino.
Mano en Mano has adapted to better serve its community members by also providing home visitation and case management. We strive to cultivate self-efficacy and confidence so that—in time—community members are able to access the resources they need without assistance from Mano en Mano. The daily and ongoing access to essential services work informs the focus and scope of our Advocacy Program, improving the broader structures in place in Downeast Maine that affect community members. The relationships formed through providing services and our work with the resident leaders group Nuestra Voz en la Comunidad (Our Voices in the Community) ensure that Mano en Mano is both responsive to community needs and driven by community vision.
A student enrolled in 1-on-1 English language classes receives a certificate of achievement from their teacher at a community potluck.
Access to Essential Services News
Blowing bubbles at a community potluck.