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Intercultural Program

“I have learned that although I have gone through a lot, the Center is always here for me and I can tell them all my feelings.”

Creating Healing Communities for Children

Since 1997, the Intercultural (formerly Multicultural) Peer Support Program has collaborated with local schools and others to serve children who have resettled in Portland from countries that experienced war, conflict, and natural disaster.  Intercultural Peer Support promotes healing from grief and contributes to school success by increasing children’s coping skills, building positive peer relationships, improving self-confidence and supporting the acquisition of English language skills.

At the Center, with trained community volunteers using a peer support model, children express their feelings relative to the loss and changes in their lives. Creative expressions through artwork, theater games and music help our participants create a healing community with opportunities for meaningful contributions. The result is greater emotional balance, healing and confidence, which can enhance school performance and positive youth development.

Today the program serves over forty children each year from an array of countries including Honduras, El Salvador, Kenya, Somalia, Nigeria, Congo, Vietnam, Sudan, Iraq, Uganda and Haiti.  The program is offered in collaboration with Portland Public Schools.

Community Collaborations:

The program is enhanced by a variety of collaborations with artists, musicians, and other youth serving organizations.  Thank you to everyone who has worked with us over the years.

Training and Consultation:

Drawing from 15 years with this program, we are available to provide training on collective loss and healing and supporting children from different cultures through grief and loss. Click here to learn more.

Listen, Watch, Learn More:

The middle school program has created two original songs which explore themes of the children's choosing.  In 2010, the children's song Love Makes Things Better explored the power of love. In 2011, Amazing People was a response to racism and bullying in school.

Walk a Mile in my Shoes is a video documentary of the Multicultural program created by media studies students at the University of Maine.

To learn more about the Intercultural Peer Support Program or how you can help, please call Marie Sheffield at (207)775-5216 or email her at


Upcoming Events

Join Us for our Family Appreciation Nights!

Transportation, Interpreters, and Dinner provided

A night to come together and celebrate families through storytelling, sharing a meal, and understanding more about the Center.

When:  Friday, November 2
             5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Where: the Center for
             Grieving Children
             555 Forest Ave.
             Portland, ME 04101


When:  Thursday, November 8
             5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Where: Memorial Middle School
            120 Westcott Rd
            South Portland, ME 04106


All family members are invited!

Please email Deqa at the Center , or call 207.775.5216 and include the number of people in your family
who will be attending.