MEET THE HHELP STEERING COMMITTEE: HHELP is primarily a volunteer, community-based program, operated and peer-run run by a volunteer steering committee. Volunteer teachers and assistants are seen as active partners in both the administration and success of the program. The part-time HHELP Manager works collaboratively with volunteer leaders to successfully administer the program.
Diane Haley is the HHELP Manager and a Hope Acts staff member. After volunteering for many years in adult ESL classrooms, while working in public health research and evaluation, she made the decision to change careers and become an ESL teacher. This, she felt, would enable her to live out a commitment to welcome newcomers to her community and assist them in their remarkable efforts to rebuild their lives in a new culture. In 2013/2014 she studied for and was granted a masters degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), at the School for International Training (SIT). This program gave her strong grounding in language acquisition theory and approaches to teaching. Upon returning to Maine in the summer of 2016, she was impressed to learn of Hope Acts and the good work that is taking place. As the new program manager for the Hope House English Language Program she is looking forward to working with the talented and dedicated volunteers to build a strong program in which students feel welcome, comfortable and excited to learn.
Linda Carleton is a retired history teacher and UCC minister who worked in refugee resettlement. She was founder and resident director of Melita Welcome House in Guilford, CT. Here in Maine she teaches ESOL with HHELP, serves on the Leadership Circle of the Abbey of Hope, leads mandala workshops, writes and paints.
Dominica Coulson spent her whole life assimilating into new cultures starting in Seoul, South Korea and including Belo Horizonte Brazil, Rome Italy, England, Poland, Czech Republic, Russia, Denmark, France, and Australia, and currently the United States. She has two undergraduate and two master’s degrees including a BA in Languages and Linguistics from Sheffield University, England. She worked with the Roma people in Czech Republic, with youth with mental health issues, with students at the International House in Philadelphia, and with children with learning disabilities in an orphanage in Poland prior to working with immigrants here in Portland, ME.
Sarah Gauvin holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Maine at Farmington and a TESOL certification from the University of Maine at Orono’s Intensive English Institute. She spent two years working in communications and community partnerships for an international non-profit before moving to Portland, and has spent time in Eastern Africa and throughout Latin America. She is inspired by cross-cultural relationships and art.
David Hughes teaches ESOL in the Hope House English Language Practice (HHELP) and Mindfulness Meditation in the Maine Medical Center Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. David has held positions as President of MariCal (a start-up marine biotechnology company in Portland,) founder and President of NorthStar Retirement Strategies, and Senior Vice President/General Counsel of UNUM Corporation, Development Director at the University of Southern Maine.
Donna Isaacs – After earning her masters degree in TESOL from Columbia University Teachers College, Donna taught adult refugees in New York City for several years. She then worked for over 20 years in New Hampshire and Vermont, as a K-12 Learning Specialist, ESOL teacher and teacher trainer, specializing in helping all kinds of diverse learners succeed, while also serving as a national facilitator for two educator development organizations. Donna recently retired from a 5-year classroom teaching stint at a K-8 two-room school on Little Cranberry Island.
Karen Kusiak is an experienced Maine teacher, school administrator, and teacher educator. She is pursuing an ELL credential through Project Reach at The University of Maine.
Sally Connolly, MSW is a longtime educator beginning as a second grade teacher in Lewiston, ME and moving on to Massachusetts, Oregon and New York. She tutored in the Make It Happen program through the PPS Multilingual/ Multicultural office, mentored Sudanese students in the Portland Mentoring Alliance and taught ESOL for four years at LearningWorks. As a social worker she was assistant director of the English Language Program there; facilitated The Sisterhood, a multicultural girls’ support group at Deering High School; and organized multicultural dinners in Westbrook.