MEIRS programming and informed outreach provides tools that help Maine immigrants and refugees by delivering services that positively integrate individuals and families into Maine culture. Through a variety of programs, MEIRS has the resources and experience to help new Maine families become familiar with, comfortable in, and contributory to their new environment.
MEIRS Behavioral Health Services
Many immigrants and refugees have experienced deeply traumatic events that continue to affect them. Our Behavioral Health Services, which are designed to specifically assist this population, include:
- Case Management Services: Case management services are provided by competent and qualified staff from the immigrant and refugee community who serve as cultural brokers. They help clients connect with available services and assist them as they transition into life in the United States.
- Outpatient Counseling: Behavioral Health Services also include individual and group counseling for both adults and children. MEIRS counselors are licensed clinical professionals who are trained to work with people from diverse backgrounds.
- Home & Community Treatment Service (HCT): This state-initiated program is available for at-risk children who are struggling at home, in school or in the community. It requires family involvement. Services are provided by a two-person team that includes a cultural broker/Behavioral Health Professional and a Master’s level clinician who create a treatment plan and work directly with the parents and the child.
If you would like to refer someone for one of our programs,
please use the link below to fill out our referral form.
MEIRS youth programs are designed to help young people live more meaningful lives on a social, educational, and cultural level. Young people, particularly immigrant and refugee youth who are still learning how to survive in a new country, need guidance and positive reinforcement. YouthBridges, currently available in our Lewiston location, is here to provide that and much more. The goal is to replicate these programs in Portland. They include:
- Youth Leadership Program: YouthBridges leadership program provides culturally competent community integration programs and services to both boys and girls. Its goal is to create a new generation of leaders for Maine’s future.
- Girls Empowerment Program: Girls are promising leaders in politics, the arts and sciences, civil society, and all walks of life. Immigrant and refugee girls suffer from many of the same problems as the boys, but they also need specialized support and confidence-building. The Girls Empowerment Program is meant to raise girls’ self-confidence, help them establish achievable and meaningful life goals, and prepare them for a successful future.
- Sports & Athletic Program: From 36 youth participating in its soccer program in 2008 to more than 250 in 2016, MEIRS is making a real difference in the lives of youth. These athletic programs serve boys and girls. Sports helps keep young peoples’ “Eyes on the Prize,” and helps keep them out of trouble and involved in the larger community. The program also teaches leadership and teamwork and gives great pride to the City of Lewiston. MEIRS collaborates with the City of Lewiston Recreation Department in these endeavors.
- Afterschool Program: This program, which runs throughout the school year, provides academic assistance, social and cultural skill development, and recreation.
- Summer Enrichment Camp: This summer opportunity offers youth morning sessions that focus on academics, social and cultural skills, and integration activities. Afternoon sessions are dedicated to recreation and team sports.
- Juvenile Justice Program: MEIRS programs are intended to raise aspirations, improve outlook on life, generate energy and vision for a successful future. However, the organization also focuses on educating youth and their parents about the juvenile justice system and how they can improve judicial system outcomes by understanding the process. MEIRS does this through yearly seminars and other events in which we partner with local police forces. MEIRS also provides direct services to assist with the reintegration of youth transitioning back into the community from detention centers and group homes. While this is a small portion of the people we serve, for these families, it is an important educational process because our laws and law enforcement system are typically foreign to them.
- BridgeMentoring: The most effective way to learn successful behaviors comes from engagement with others who are leading by example. MEIRS has created such an environment by designing a mentoring program intended to bridge the gaps between cultures by pairing mentors with eligible youth. BridgeMentors are members of the larger community who are willing to commit time and support to immigrant and refugee children. They help MEIRS children have fun, engage in healthy activities, go new places and see new things, learn new skills and most of all, benefit from having caring adults in their lives. This is support they can trust and mentors they can talk to when they need special guidance, reassurance, and comfort. BridgeMentors are trained to be culturally competent to work with immigrant and refugee community families and undergo extensive background checks. BridgeMentors are role models and are expected to set good examples. They help our youth build healthy relationships with their peers, their parents and extended families, and the community at large.
Adult and Family Programs
MEIRS Adult and Family Programs provide direct assistance to immigrant and refugee families, which includes:
- Basic needs management (food, housing, healthcare)
- Helping immigrants and refugees with their naturalization applications.
- Assisting with social and cultural adjustment.
- Providing literacy and citizenship classes for parents and youth with limited English.
- Providing financial literacy classes for parents and youth to help them gain financial
independence and competency.
- Providing parenting classes.
- Senior citizen services.
- Providing interpretation services.
- Training and supporting immigrant and refugee youth and parents so that they can achieve employment.
Administration and Behavioral Health
Youth and Family Programs
Portland Office Behavioral Health
© 2017 Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services