Multicultural Program's "Inner Strength" Album
"Inner Strength," a seven-song album created by children from 10 different countries with assistance from Billy Libby and his Your Song, Your Story program as well as other local musicians and songwriters. The songs express the children's feelings about loss, isolation, war, and racism as well as their recognition of the power of love and community to heal. The Studio in Portland, and the Grammy-Award winning staff at Gateway Mastering donated their services to record and master the CD. Purchase your copy here.
To learn more about the Multicultural Peer Support Program or how you can help, please call Marie Sheffield at (207)775-5216 or email her at
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.
The Lerner Foundation
The Sam L. Cohen Charitable Foundation
The Multicultural Program, at the Center for Grieving Children, established in 1997, uniquely serves children who have relocated to Portland, Maine from countries experiencing war. When children, who have experienced a collective loss such as war or natural disaster, rediscover themselves in a safe and supportive community and become contributing members of that community, hope and resilience flourish.
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.
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.
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.
We are very excited to begin another year of programming. We have just completed our Multicultural training and have 20 community volunteers. We have a fun year planned, keep checking back for updates. We will most certainly keep you posted.
A Big Thank You to Rippleffect:
Thank you to Rippleffect for hosting students from the Center's multicultural program again this year. We all had an amazing time learning together on the island and look forward to our time there again next summer.
Hearts and Horses:
Through generous collaborations, the children of the Multicultural Program were able to attend a therapeutic horse farm. Here, they painted horses and paraded the horses in the arena. The children said the best part was when the painted horses were set free and galloped around the arena. Prior to the journey, painting horses was something that we all had never done, and in many cases, did not comprehend. The field trip helped nurture the trust within our intercultural community because we all took a healthy risk, doing something unknown and together. The children will return to the farm in the spring to ride the horses.
Big thank you to an anonymous donor, Custom Coach, and Hearts and Horses Therapeutic Riding Center!