Feeling concern for children and families who may have trouble buying groceries, or may live in unstable situations, or find other stressors at home, is commonplace among citizens of a first-world country like ours. But imagine living in a place where the sound of gunfire and the fear of kidnapping or persecution were familiar to your children, so much so that you made an arduous journey to bring them to a safer, but entirely unfamiliar, country. Among many other concerns, you’d be worried about how well they did in their new schools.
That’s what the second annual "A Community Conversation," hosted by the Center for Grieving Children’s Intercultural Advisory Council and made possible by support from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, is about. It will be held in the Rines Auditorium at the Portland Public Library (5 Monument Way) on Wednesday, June 22 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Mayor Ethan Strimling will welcome participants to a discussion about educational challenges and opportunities for new Mainers, especially children and teens, who have experienced loss, grief, violence and family changes in their original homelands. Emphasis will be placed on the ways and means for community members to support these families’ well-being and success.
Speakers, including members of the Advisory Council, representatives from Portland Public Schools, parents, and students, will bring their unique perspectives to the discussion. The conversation will focus on education (specifically success in school for children and teens), family, emotional and social support, and the role of schools and communities.
"When families have experienced a loss of culture, language and community, adults are under tremendous pressure, and the children and teenagers often feel misunderstood and isolated," said Anne Heros, Center for Grieving Children executive director. "The Center's Intercultural Program, in partnership with Portland Public Schools, helps support those students in expressing their feelings of loss and change while reconnecting to community supporting their school success. We are pleased to be able to bring more people into an intercultural conversation about how we together create acceptance and healing in our community."
- Published in Kids