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February 2013 Issue 7  

P.O. Box 281
Portland, Maine 04112
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PESLSF Fall 2012 Scholarship Recipients  

Abdulkadir Hassan



Diane Umutoni

Democratic Republic of Congo


Duaa Naser



Anderson Gomez



Ali Jabbar



Annabelle Bashirahishize



Douglas Rutami



Mohamed Elkader




Inspired To Give?

PESLSF typically has more applicants for scholarships than it is able to fund.  Please consider giving a contribution now so that we can help more individuals attend a class in grammar, reading, or writing. Thank you for your generosity!


Interested in Volunteering?
PESLSF is always looking for people who want to help. There are a variety of positions available and all of them are rewarding on many levels.  
Contact Eleanor Goldberg for more information 

WMPG radio volunteers help PESLSF Oral History Project


PESLSF thanks Manager and Program Director of WMPG, Lisa Bunker, for providing some helpful tips for recording interviews of the individuals who receive scholarships from PESLSF. Lisa recruited three WMPG volunteers, Stephanie Philbrick, Jeff Eastman and Isaac Shainblum to help with the project. Stephanie and Jeff have conducted several interviews which are now part of the collection at USM's Sampson Center for Diversity at the Glickman Library. Isaac remixed some of the previous interviews to reduce background noise. Stephanie produced the two short audio pieces that are located in this newsletter in the sections for Natalia and Nida. Stephanie and Jeff are continuing with the project this year.


New Board Members


PESLSF is delighted to welcome three new board members, David Currier, Ashley Helgesen, and Vickie McCormack.



Last fall, PESLSF awarded eight scholarships to individuals from Egypt, Brazil, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Burundi, and Rwanda. Thank you for your generous contributions which have helped to "jumpstart" the lives of many immigrants in greater Portland as they pursue classes to improve their English. In this newsletter, we update you on former scholarship recipients Natalia, Nida and Iryna. Be inspired by what they are doing and by what you have made possible!


Natalia Nigmonova Becomes a New American

Natalia Natalia's native country is Bashkortostan, a small republic in the central part of Russia. She came to the United States in 2007. Natalia worked hard while attending writing and reading classes at the USM English for Speakers of Other Languages Program(ESOL) where she says Donna, Bart, Barbara and Claire "taught me not only about English, but about new opportunities and how to make a new life in America." PESLSF is happy to report that Natalia passed her Citizenship Test last fall. On November 16, 2012 she attended her ceremony where she took the Oath of Allegiance and received her Certificate of Citizenship.

Please click here to hear Natalia. 


Nida Elhag Goes to College


Nida Born in Saudi Arabia, Nida never had a chance to live in her country, Eritrea, because of the war. Nida has only been in the United States for a year and a half but she is already enrolled in her final college writing class in the ESOL program at USM. She is currently a freshman at USM where she says, "It's a whole new experience for me. I live in a dorm now. I'm seeking a degree in pharmacy and the program in USM is a two year program for pre-pharmacy. After, I have to transfer to study four more years." While juggling her classes, Nida is employed by a Mexican restaurant. She adds, "I'm still working there. I used to work full time but now I'm working less hours so I can focus on school. I still worry about the future, the school loans, my family and my English but still I'm happy in my life and I'm trying to enjoy every day."

Please click here to listen to Nida. 


Iryna Klyuchka Earns a Degree and Lands a Job


Iryna Iryna came to the United States from the country of Moldova She received a scholarship from Portland ESL Scholarship Fund in the fall of 2010. After working hard to improve her English, she applied and was accepted to the University Of Southern Maine School Of Nursing Accelerated Program. This 15 month program of full-time study leads to a Bachelor of Science in nursing. Iryna graduated in August of 2012! She passed her exam to become an RN and on October 15, 2012, Iryna started working as a surgical nurse at Mercy Hospital. Congratulations Iryna!


Raving Raffle Results

Congratulations to Raffle Committee members Susan Martens, Maggie Ivanova and Tess Grossi for carrying out a very successful raffle. PESLSF raised $2555 which boosts the number of scholarships PESLSF grants every semester.


Thank you to the following businesses for their generous donations:


Portland Harbor Hotel                                               


The Inn at Harvard                                                    


Abacus Gallery                                              


Salon Burke                                        


Chilton Furniture                               


D. Cole Jewelers                                




Olive Café                              


Portland Jewelers                               


The CO-OP                           


Three Dogs Café        




Congratulations to raffle winners: Jerico Peńa, Spencer Jones, Tess Grossi, Bridget Kahn, Robert O'Brien, Susan Hirshon, Alyssa Stoisolovich , Jane Arlaud, Caroline Russell, Pam Meader, Arline Saturdayborn, Maggie Ivanova, Matt Tarasevich, Patrick Martinack, and Allison Brown.


Last fall, PESLSF received 19 applications for USM scholarships. Eleven applicants met the requirements. Scholarships in the amount of $400 each were awarded to seven individuals. One additional scholarship in a smaller amount was awarded for one applicant to take Medical Terminology at Portland Adult Education. Four applicants were turned away due to lack of funds. This highlights how important the raffle is to helping meet the demand for scholarships which are funded through private donations.


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