Fatuma Hussein was always passionate about helping her community well before coming to Maine. When she arrived in Maine, she saw how much the Somali community needed support. Based on her own experience, she was inspired to set a foundation of culturally specific system advocacy, training, community education and culturally/linguistically appropriate direct services. After a year long organizing, partnership building and mobilizing community, the United Somali Women Of Maine was establised on 8/2/2002. She then began her work serving her own community, presenting culturally specific information, collaborating with and educating systems, building bridges between systems and community designed to create a foundation for today's multicultural communities. Fatuma was offered a number of jobs to serve the growing refugee community but Instead of accepting a position, she decided to forge her path by establishing the United Somali Women of Maine. For almost 20 years, Fatuma has become a dominant voice against gendered violence and advocated for many issues directly affecting the New Mainer communities across the State. In 2016, the agency changed its name to the Immigrant Resource Center Of Maine to reflects its services, regions covered and its target populations.
JEFFREY SMITH Jeffrey Smith has spent his entire career on behalf of multicultural and/or multicultural communities in Maine and elsewhere. At Portland Public Schools, he developed cross-cultural curricular resources and won grants to support enhanced programs for PK-12 English learners. After consulting successfully on grant proposals with Boston Public Schools, Lowell (MA) Public Schools, Manchester (NH) Public Schools, New York City Public Schools, and other school districts across New England and beyond, he became a grant writer at Tulsa Public Schools and later, on the Osage Indian Reservation at Osage County Interlocal Cooperative, both in Oklahoma. He continued to consult on occasion, and he has done so off and on ever since. While in Oklahoma, he won grants to enhance programs and facilities for urban and rural American Indian, African American, and Hispanic students. He also founded and led the Tulsa Area Grant Writers Network (TAG-Net). While in Texas, he analyzed data for a Family and Community Engagement (FACE) program in Houston ISD, which predominantly serves communities of color. While there, he became familiar with the potential of meta-analysis to inform and guide the adoption and refinement of evidence-based program models. He also launched Grant Results, a blog about writing competitive grant proposals. After returning to Maine, Jeffrey sought an opportunity to apply his skills in grantsmanship and program evaluation to benefit New Mainers such as those with whom he had worked early in his career. He found this opportunity with the IRCM. For the better part of 30 years now, his driving passions have been improving social, economic, educational, and health equity and removing barriers to well-being and prosperity across socioeconomic groups, races/ethnicities, and cultures. He is an alumnus of Williams College (Bachelor of Arts) and the University of Toronto (Master of Arts). While in Toronto, he served on the Board of Directors of Campus Cooperative Residences, Inc. Among his hobbies are photography, travel writing, blogs, hiking, and statistics. MELINDA NOVELLA
Melinda Novella is a born and raised Mainer who worked for the Androscoggin County District Attorney's office for 13 years, primarily helping domestic and sexual assault victims navigate through the criminal justice system. In 2014, she received the Community Service Award and was recognized by the United States Attorney's Office of Maine for outstanding service on behalf of victims of crime. Her passion for working within her community led her to the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine. Melinda continues to make strides serving her community through her program coordinator position at the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine. Through her program coordinator position, she's able to passionately help domestic violence and sexual assault victims and survivors by organizing and educating both the IRCM staff and clients. As Melinda continues to develop and find fulfillment in her position, she hopes to assist IRCM's clients and staff to the best of her abilities.
Ines began her career doing outreach for sexual assault awareness while working for an organization focused on empowering Burundi's girls. As a valued member of the Burundi community, Ines was asked by the IRCM to speak on the realities of sexual assault in her native country. Her knowledge, work, and passion for helping sexual assault victims made her a great addition to the IRCM team not too long afterward. She's proud to be uplifting her fellow Burundi people by assisting them in navigating new systems, especially her community's most vulnerable members, like domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.
OMAR IBRAHIM Omar Ibrahim began his career path by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in procurement and supply chain management and an associate degree in human services. Since finishing his degrees, he has enjoyed working in human services for almost 15 years. Throughout his 15 years of hard work serving his community, he realized how impactful his positive actions, advocacy, and energy have been while serving his community. Moreover, Omar has used his experience to encourage other community members to contribute towards helping others achieve personal and communal successes. Omar’s years of experience and passion for his community led him to take on the challenge of joining the IRCM’s newly established Housing Assistance team as the Housing Assitance Specialist. As the Housing Assistance Specialist, Omar has begun providing housing support and equity to many New Mainers throughout Androscoggin county. When Omar isn’t working hard at achieving housing equity, he enjoys spending time with his loved ones and playing soccer with other community members. IMAN HUSSEIN Iman Hussein is a Georgetown University graduate who began working at the IRCM as a communications assistant. Over time, her passion for balancing creativity and helping people grew along with her work and position. She enjoys her role because she explores crucial topics, like domestic violence and sexual assault in immigrant and refugee communities, and educates community members. Moreover, she enjoys engaging with the stories of local community members and her staff. Iman's passion for her position led to her promotion to communications and operations coordinator. As a communications and operations coordinator, Iman handles IRCM's communications, reporting, and other organizational aspects. She hopes to continue growing in this new role along with her team.