Staff

Martha Stein

Executive Director

Martha served on the Board of Hope Acts for 18 months prior to taking over leadership of the organization in January 2018.   Previously, she served as Director of Communications for Maine Equal Justice Partners, Development Director for Tedford Housing, and Development Director for the Maine Council of Churches. Prior to working for non-profits, Martha held various management positions at AT&T and Prudential. She received her Bachelors Degree from the University of Connecticut and MBA from the University of Chicago. Martha is a Master Gardener and a cellist in the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra. She lives in Brunswick with her husband Mitchell.

Alice Kabore

Program Director

As Hope Acts' Program Manager, Alice Kabore oversees Hope Acts’ Asylum Seeker Assistance Program, including Project HOME, the Asylum Application Resource Center, the Work Permit Program, and direct service for clients at Hope House. Before joining Hope Acts, she was the Multicultural and Multilingual Coordinator for the South Portland School Department, where she collaborated with staff, families, and community to build stronger connections and achieve equitable educational access for families whose primary language is other than English. Alice serves on the Avesta Housing Board and, since 2019, has been the African Gala Chair for the Sacred Heart/Saint Dominic Church. She holds a B.A. in Finance from ESCO-IGES University in Burkina Faso, and she is a Certified Nursing Assistant and Personal Support Specialist. Alice loves catering and singing, and is a part of the Sacred Heart/Saint Dominic church choir.

Francois Mayesi

Program and Housing Assistant

Francois was a volunteer interpreter at Hope House in the Asylum Seekers Assistance Program before joining our staff in June of 2022. He is a Pastor by profession, originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a Master’s degree in theology from the Catholic University of Congo. He is employed at Maine Medical Center as a per diem chaplain, in addition to his position at Hope Acts. Francois speaks French, English, Lingala, and Kikongo, and understands Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. He loves travelling and is known around the Hope House office for making staff, clients, and volunteers feel comfortable.

Sarah Gauvin

English Language Program and Communications Manager

Originally from Downeast Maine, Sarah moved to Portland after receiving her TESOL Certification from the University of Maine. She is a co-founding member of Hope House English Language Program (HHELP), and continues to teach English as a volunteer. Previously, she worked for an international non-profit in communications, administration, and project management roles where she was able to visit programs in both El Salvador and Nicaragua after adopting a passion for cross-cultural exchange during her undergrad semester abroad in Uganda. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing, and is inspired by humanity, words, and art.

Rod Mahoua

Housing Manager

Rod is originally from the Republic of Congo. He volunteered at Hope House in 2018 and joined Hope House in March 2021. He speaks English, French and Lingala. Rod has a Diploma in International trade and transport, and experience in the logistics and relocation industry. He also gained experience working for International Institutions back in South Africa and the Republic of Congo. He enjoys learning about social entrepreneurship and new technologies.

Mathurin Ngoy

Program Manager

Mathurin Ngoy supported human rights in government in his native Democratic Republic of the Congo as an attorney/advocate/advisor before coming to the US in 2019. In southern Maine he served as a translator for a range of community organizations before joining the staff at Hope Acts in 2023, as Program Assistant for the Asylum Application Resource Center (AARC) and Project Home. He says, "I like working at Hope Acts because I am a humanitarian. I enjoy helping people. I always want to smile and give hope to the person I am working with because my family has been through a similar situation."

Samuel Rucogoza

Case Manager

In his role as Project Home Case Manager, Samuel works with our partners at the Quality Housing Coalition to find housing and provide support to newly housed individuals and families. Samuel first connected with Hope Acts in 2017 as a student in the Hope House English Language Program. Previously he worked for an organization supporting people with developmental disabilities. Samuel holds a Management Degree from the Kigali Independent University (ULK) in Rwanda. He says: “I really enjoy helping people. I support people through education about tenancy, getting them furniture through partnerships with donors, and in general, setting them up for success.”

Mariam Abdourahman

Program Assistant

Mariam arrived in Portland with her four children in 2014, after traveling from her native Djibouti. With language skills in French, English and Somali, she joined Hope Acts for what was then a short-term interpreting assignment in mid 2022. In her permanent position as a Program Assistant she greets the many clients in our office, determines what type of help they need, and handles client scheduling. Mariam says she likes working at Hope Acts because "I know what it is like to be an immigrant, to be new here, and to feel overwhelmed. I want to help people. I understand where they are coming from."

Bernard Kabore

Program Assistant

Originally from Burkina Faso, Bernard began volunteering with Hope Acts in September of 2022 before joining our staff in 2023. He assists in supporting asylum seekers with applications, making appointments, troubleshooting to make sure forms get filed correctly, advocating for clients, and helping with necessary administrative duties. Before coming to the United States, Bernard was a Project Manager and Regional Coordinator in charge of sustainable sanitation in West Africa for the Intergovernmental Agency of Water and Sanitation for Africa. He and his family received support from Hope Acts, and he was inspired to help others.

Lisa Markushewski

Program Assistant

Lisa joined Hope Acts in June 2023 and works part time in the ASAP program, helping clients with a variety of issues, such as support with DHHS applications, change of address forms, or resolving problems with government and immigration agencies. Of her work she says: "The most gratifying part of the job is the relief and satisfaction we feel when a thorny problem is solved, or a medical bill is cancelled, or learning the job applications we helped with resulted in employment." In the past, Lisa worked for many years in poverty law services and in programs with an immigrant focus. She enjoys hiking with friends, traveling, reading, gardening, beekeeping, and is a novice bird watcher.

Dawna Lamson

Senior Systems and Administration Manager

Dawna grew up in rural Maine, immersed in the rich history and community of resilient working-class Mainers. As a young adult, she studied Classics and Archaeology, travelling abroad and working across the US before returning to her Maine roots. Over the past 15 years, Dawna's skills led her to roles in administration, accounting, and data analytics. Her aptitude for systems and data organization is an invaluable skill in maintaining records of our exponential growth at Hope Acts. Dawna continues doing archaeology with Cape Porpoise Archaeological Alliance on the islands of Kennebunkport, ME when she's not working at Hope Acts.

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