Priscilla A. Doel, Executive Director
"Let your life speak."

2802 Riverside Drive, Vassalboro, Maine 04989

207.314.4214 • priscilla at mainesafe.org


Maine SAFE’s mission is to improve the quality of life for Maine’s migrant and immigrant populations by facilitating clear communication to people needing help in understanding one another and the environments in which they live and work.

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Maine SAFE is a 509 (a) (1) tax exempt community based organization that provides services for people for whom English is not their first language. In fulfilling this mission, Maine SAFE has become a very sturdy bridge between Limited English Proficient (LEP) populations (especially Spanish) and the services provided by State and Federal agencies as well as other non-profits. In working closely with individuals and organizations Maine SAFE has earned a position of trust and respect within the State.

Our activities (past, present and future) are best explained by our programs in the areas of health and safety, interpretation and translation, community service, education.

There is no doubt that the patterns of Maine SAFE’s past and current activities will continue in the future. As we look at the next five years with our new status as a public charity, 509 (a) (1), we see the need for funding of newer programs, updating of current programs, and becoming a presence on the Web. Additionally, and especially given the changing demographics of Maine and the changing labor situation, we envision more need for safety training in Spanish to comply with OSHA guidelines in the workplace (construction, dairy farming).

How We Started MaineSafe

It was a cold January morning in Fairfield, Maine when I read a letter in the local newspaper written from Somerset County Jail. An inmate, concerned about a fellow prisoner, commented on the way in which a non-English speaking prisoner seemed to be languishing in jail, with no apparent representation or social services. Being a professor of Spanish and Portuguese, I thought I could help, at least with communication. A trip to Skowhegan, introduced me to a concerned administrator and the prisoner himself. And thus began my introduction into a whole new world outside the halls of academe.

In helping this young man through trials, sentencing and ultimate deportation, I learned new lessons in life, lessons I had only read about and discussed in theory with my students. As word of my work with the young man spread in the migrant and immigrant communities as well as within our state systems, I became overwhelmed with phone calls and soon realized that in order to be heard by our systems and to help people, I needed an identity other than my name. And thus was born Maine SAFE, Maine Service Advocates in Foreign Languages and English.
Over the years Maine SAFE, working on a shoestring, has helped many individuals and worked on small projects, one at a time. Now, with our new status as a public charity it is our task to move on, to seek funding in order to help more people.

— Priscilla A. Doel, Executive Director