Collaboration to Meet Needs

by Kemper Tell

Kemper Tell

The need for safe and quality housing has been discovered as a key to academic success for all children. This is especially true for new immigrants to the United States who face more barriers in becoming productive in society. Some barriers are learning a new language, facing a new culture, and activities as simple as knowing how to shop in a grocery store. As a State and National AmeriCorps member, I am serving with the affordable housing non-profit Avesta Housing in Portland that is addressing both of these needs by combining quality housing and academic resources.

At Avesta, I am creating and executing an after-school program at several properties throughout Portland and Westbrook. I am providing homework assistance and constructive play for residents, many of whom are immigrants brought to the United States because of various conflicts around the world. The accessibility to academic assistance located where students live allows for many children to participate in out-of-school-time activities they would not be able to access if it was located elsewhere. It also creates a greater sense of community for the residents when they have a common meeting space every week they know they can come to for homework help and play.

As humans we all require basic needs to be met in order to be successful and one is shelter. Avesta Housing is working to meet that need, and in partnership with AmeriCorps, working to create a successful academic environment for its residents.

Kemper Tell is serving with Goodwill’s Multilingual Leadership Corps, an AmeriCorps program funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service through the Maine Commission for Community Service. She is blogging in celebration of 2013 AmeriCorps Week.

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