Hillsborough County is home to the most racially and ethnically diverse communities in the State of New Hampshire. More than 2,900 refugees have been resettled in Hillsborough County since 1998, with 99% settled in Manchester. Predominantly Eastern European and African, these new arrivals join the thousands of immigrants already settled in Manchester, Nashua, and the towns of Hillsborough County. This department focuses on services and programming for these individuals and collaborates with others in the community to meet their unique needs. Services include comprehensive training, outreach, employment assistance, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services, translation, economic development, coordination of services and referral to external resources.
The Eileen Phinney Multi-Cultural Center
The Latin American Center provided services to the Latino population of Manchester for more than 35 years. With the influx of refugees and immigrants from many countries in recent years, the scope of the Center has expanded to reflect the growing diversity of our community. In 2010, the Center was officially renamed the Eileen Phinney Multicultural Center. Along with the hundreds of Latino households which make use of the Center annually, Somalis and other African cultures are assisted by the Somali Bantu Association, which serves individuals through a Self Help Program and an Agricultural Program. The Bhutanese community also uses the Center for cultural events and classes. English for New Americans (ENA) holds classes at the Center, assisting refugees and immigrants in their acquisition of English language skills, as well as assisting its students with their adjustment to the new culture. This is done through field trips to local places of interest and importance and by inviting speakers from community agencies into classes. There are also special events such as Conversation Cafes, holiday dinners, and afternoon teas, and special classes such as Workplace English, Citizenship and Computer classes.
The Center provides assistance to individuals in their daily activities as they acclimate to life in the United States, and empowers them to function more independently and achieve greater success in overcoming the socioeconomic, language and cultural barriers they face. In addition to specific programming, these services include basic information and referral, interpretation (frequently in medical and legal settings), translation of documents and applications, and advocacy.
B.R.I.N.G. I.T.!!! (Bringing Refugees, Immigrants and Neighbors Gently Into Tomorrow) is an after-school program serving low-income at-risk adolescents in Grades 4 through 12. It provides recreational, social and educational experiences to Manchester youths, many of whom are newly-arrived refugees and immigrants who face major educational and socioeconomic barriers to success. The program is a close collaboration between SNHS and the Manchester School District. The program includes a variety of activities such as organized soccer, dance groups and digital arts for the youth.
The B.R.I.N.G. I.T.!!! Program also offers after-school nursing programming for Manchester students in grades 8-10 as well as a college preparation program for high school juniors and seniors who are interested in nursing careers. Funding for the program was provided through the Endowment for Health as part of the Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future Grant to create a NH Nursing Diversity Pipeline. Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future (PIN) is a partnership of the Northwest Health Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
B.R.I.N.G. I.T.!!! is supported by a large number of volunteers from City Year, local colleges, the school district and the community at large. This collaboration is in its initial stages and has great potential for growth as we strive to better serve the newest members of our community.
Both the Eileen Phinney Multicultural Center and the B.R.I.N.G.I.T.!!! program are funded in part by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant Program, through the City of Manchester Planning and Community Development Department’s Community Improvement Program.
Ethnic Community Self-Help Program
The goal of the Ethnic Community Self-Help Program is to promote the economic and social self-sufficiency of refugees in southern New Hampshire, regardless of ethnicity or country of origin, in a linguistically and culturally appropriate manner. The program seeks to increase access to and receipt of public services by refugees, while increasing refugees’ awareness and knowledge of laws, customs, and existing resources. Program staff work with refugees to access these resources, help refugees develop and improve necessary survival skills, and assist them in developing job skills s well as accessing employment opportunities.
New American Sustainable Agriculture Project (NASAP)
NASAP aims to assist refugee and immigrant farmers in establishing successful farm businesses that are consistent with their culture and lifestyle. The NASAP provides both class room and field based trainings for farmers. The farmland is located in Dunbarton, NH.
English for New Americans (ENA)
English for New Americans (ENA) was started in September, 2002 by the NH State Refugee Coordinator and 2 devoted teachers of English as a Second Language as refugees had been resettling in Manchester since the 1980’s and demand for English classes had outstripped available resources. In 2003, the Meelia Center for Community Service at Saint Anselm College took over the program and service learners and volunteers from SAC became an important part of the ENA program. In 2009, ENA welcomed service learners and volunteers from Southern New Hampshire University and they have been making an invaluable contribution ever since. Also in 2009, ENA became affiliated with Southern New Hampshire Services, including ENA as a part of SNHS’ Multi Cultural Center and given it additional space in which to offer classes.
ENA’s program currently consists of 13 regular classes of varying levels in which adult refugees and immigrants can enroll, free of charge. Approximately 250 students attend 2 classes a week, 2-3 hours each class, in the morning or evening. In addition to assisting refugees and immigrants in their acquisition of English language skills, ENA tries to assist its students with their adjustment to the new culture. This is done through field trips to local places of interest and importance and by inviting speakers from community agencies into classes. There are also special events such as Conversation Cafes, holiday dinners, and afternoon teas, and special classes such as Workplace English, Citizenship and Computer classes.
ENA is funded by grants from the NH Department of Education (Adult Division), the NH Department of Health and Human Services (Office of Refugee Resettlement), the Norwin S. and Elizabeth N. Bean Foundation, and the Cogswell Benevolent Trust. For more information please contact Sue Corby at (603) 361-2649 or firstname.lastname@example.org