We are a multi-lingual community- based non-profit organization working for the growth and development of the entire immigrant community. The Center’s diversity encourages the sharing of culture, customs and language that promotes a nurturing community of unity and trust. To learn more about our organization, read our annual report.
To achieve our mission, we strive to:
- Promote cultural diversity and respect among all cultures and peoples
- Provide intergenerational education with a strong focus on literacy, language skills, employment and opportunities for long term stability.
- Offer elders services and resources needed to improve their quality of life.
- Provide naturalization services, access to benefits and civic involvement for lawful permanent residents.
- Collaborate with community based organizations to improve the impact non-profits can produce with their limited resources and staff.
The Merrimack Valley Immigrant and Education Center, formerly the Asian Center of Merrimack Valley, was founded in 1987 by the Sisters of Charity to address the growing needs of Cambodian and Vietnamese immigrants and refugees making their home in the Greater Lawrence area. Using grass roots efforts of going door to door, staff listened carefully to the desires and needs of this refugee population. Initially the work focused on assisting with basics such as housing and food. Soon immigrants sought to learn English and learn about and understand their new culture. Now in its’ thirty-third year, MVIEC continues to support immigrants in the quest to enhance their quality of life by addressing the needs and desires of those whom now call the Greater Lawrence area their home.
As a result of listening to the population being served, the current Board of Directors recently revamped the mission to include all immigrants living in the Greater Lawrence area. Staff has expanded to include personnel who are bilingual in English and Spanish, in addition to the already present capacity to serve the Cambodian and Vietnamese. MVIEC is poised to grow and adapt to the ever changing population of people who choose Lawrence as their gateway city.
MVIEC provides a safe and nurturing environment that offers language education, citizenship services, community empowerment, elder outreach and cultural heritage programs. More specifically, MVIEC offers adults English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Citizenship Services and Education, and Financial Literacy Classes. Advocacy, translations and other supportive services are also offered. Each service provided is done so with the specific needs and desires of the individual in mind. Staff assists people as they work to assimilate in their new community, enriching their lives so that they can communicate, find employment, improve their educational skills and ultimately achieve United States citizenship and receive the many benefits and responsibilities citizenship offers.
The intergenerational services provided by MVIEC will reach over 500 people this year and the organization continues to explore opportunities for additional outreach and programs as desires and needs are expressed. At MVIEC, the focus is on literacy as the starting point to economic and educational success, economic viability, and community participation.
Our Board of Directors
Board of Directors
Robert O’Koniewski, Esq
Allison E. Williams, Esq