Volunteers at Hope Acts have processed more than 500 work permits during the pandemic
When asylum seekers started arriving in Maine in larger numbers than usual in the summer of 2019, Maine’s local immigrant-led associations, their nonprofit allies, and supporters around the state stepped up to address their needs. One of those needs was helping newcomers apply for work permits.
Demand was so great that Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP), Maine’s only state-wide immigration legal advocacy organization, couldn’t keep up with it. So Hope Acts, a nonprofit used to helping asylum seekers in a number of ways, including with paperwork, offered assistance and created a Wednesday program to help asylum seekers fill out work permits. Word spread quickly, and despite the pandemic, demand continued. So Hope Acts found ways to adapt, and kept the Wednesday program going despite COVID-19.
Now Hope Acts is planning to thank its volunteers with the virtual event Hope Rising – An Evening Celebrating and Supporting Hope Acts, on Thursday, June 3, from 7:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. Registration is required here or visit hopeacts.org
Amy T. and Cadeau A. are two of the volunteers who will be honored. They completed more than 500 work permits during 2020. Cadeau is an immigrant who feels strongly about giving back to the community. Amy works for Welcoming the Stranger, a grassroots project that matches mentors with asylum-seekers to help them integrate into the Greater Portland community. The event will also honor Rep. Victoria Morales (D – South Portland ) for her work addressing the housing crisis, as well as other volunteers for extraordinary work in service of asylum seekers and other immigrants during the pandemic.
Hope Acts is a Portland nonprofit that serves New Mainers with transitional housing, ESL classes, and social services, including assistance completing Employment Authorization Documents (EADs).