A change in perspective.
Portland Adult Education (PAE), a center for learning in Portland, Maine, started in 1848 with a budget of $120 and 60 students. While the Center serves all populations in need, immigrants have always been a part of the Center’s community and account for almost half of the current enrollment. (Photo pre-COVID of some PAE students and their teacher.)
In November 2020, Maryann Murray, a new IVC SCM in Portland, began work with the Center, using her knowledge of marketing and nonprofit development to help the Center with their outreach efforts. “With the pandemic, all our classes moved online. What the Center needed most from me was help in continuing to communicate with everyone they touch: students, staff, donors and others,” Maryann explains. “While I am not working directly teaching immigrants, I am helping to facilitate what they need to continue learning. I’ve gotten to hear some of their stories and am amazed and humbled by their gratitude and positive attitudes.”
One woman had a particular impact on Maryann, Mysette from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a housekeeper at Maine Medical Center. Working on her English and writing skills at PAE, Mysette was asked for a paragraph about what she had learned from the pandemic. Mysette wrote she wasn’t a doctor or a nurse but she could do her best and offer a clean room and a prayer for their recovery.
“Her response was so beautiful, it touched my heart,” said Maryann. “I could imagine her going room to room doing what she was able for the sick, dying, and isolated COVID patients. Her compassion and commitment, and her gratitude for being able to do this work changed my perspective,” Maryann shares. “Rather than feeling sad Mysette had to clean hospital rooms, I saw how proud she was to offer this important service, even while attending PAE to improve her language and job prospects. What a privilege to be able to help her and other students like her get what they need to keep working toward their goals.”
Maryann is so grateful to IVC for providing her with a supportive, spiritual community and for this service opportunity that has deepened her awareness and expanded her heart!