President's Page

Maine President and CEO Steven Rowe looks on as Zainab Almatwari and Doaa Albayati embrace on the final day of a workshop at The Telling Room. Both freshmen at Westbrook High School emigrated from Iraq. Other participants included sophomores Basera Faizizada, left, whose parents emigrated from Afghanistan, and Diana Al-Tameemi, who emigrated from Iraq. Photos: Thalassa Raasch/MaineCF

Welcoming words

On a visit to The Telling Room in Portland in late February, I spent some time with a group of students from Westbrook High School. The international, multilingual students were there for a weeklong Young Writers & Leaders literary arts program. The program helps improve writing skills and academic performance, as well as social and emotional well-being. I was inspired by the way these teens interacted with respect for one another, and the creativity, courage, and self-confidence they exhibited as they shared their poignant stories.

The Telling Room is a great example of a welcoming place that invites and inspires young people with diverse backgrounds to work together. The Maine Community Foundation supports The Telling Room because we know that the power of inclusiveness can transform communities and improve the lives of people. We also know that our collective prosperity depends on Maine being a place where creativity and innovation are broadly encouraged.

This Maine Ties highlights some of the ways we and our partners—including donors, nonprofit leaders, and professional advisors—are working to improve the communities we live in. We want to raise awareness of challenges, as Dr. Allan Johnson did on white privilege at our inaugural summit in November, but also want to highlight success stories. As always, we welcome your ideas and your partnership.

Steven Rowe is president and CEO of the Maine Community Foundation.

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