Enroot STEAM Panel Inspires Students With the Help of Our Cambridge Community


Enroot held a STEAM panel yesterday featuring careers in robotics, biotechnology, mechanical engineering, e-commerce, and IT infrastructure. Thank you to Biogen for including our students in the STAR Initiative and making learning opportunities like this possible! A special thank you to our panelists from Ava Robotics, Akamai Technologies, Sensata Technologies, CarGurus, and Biogen.

A Visit to Simmons University


On October 31st, the Enroot female students made a trip to Simmons University located in the Boston area. Simmons University is a women-focused university. At the University, students were given a presentation about the requirements to apply to the university. Students were also guided about the financial aid at Simmons University. Students were told about the scholarships that Simmons has to offer. Finally, students were educated about the programs Simmons offers to those who are undergrad.

Something to take into consideration from the tour to Simmons University is the Kotzen Scholarship that Simmons offers to those who have a GPA of 3.49 and SAT scores of 1300 or above. The Kotzen Scholarship covers the cost for tuition, study abroad, and dorms. Students were informed that they can commute from home while being a student at the Simmons University.

Enroot always takes students to tour like this to different universities and colleges. It is really helpful for students who are seniors and also the ones who are juniors, sophomores, and freshmen because the tour can help students figure out which college is the best fit for them.

Cambridge Hosts First Seminar of the School Year


On October 15th , the first Enroot seminar of the year started with all the excitement and joy. I saw happiness in people and Enroot staff to just be in the seminar. We met for the first time with students, friends and staff and talked about our summer, how we’ve been. We had seminar for the whole week. On the first day, we introduced each other and welcomed the new Georgia which is Katie. Katie makes sure mentees meet their mentor and same for tutoring.  

We played games like Would You Rather, The Great Wind Blows and the blanket game, which was a great activity for us to learn each other’s names. We also got in groups of 4 and made posters about our culture. We divided a poster into 4 and we shared our culture. Anything which represents our culture, we drew that on the poster. One of the fun activities was mirror drawing. It was an excellent way to enhance your writing and listening skills.


We are in the Leadership Program, which also gives us an internship along with tutoring, mentoring and weekly seminar. We talked about internships, how to dress professionally and how to go for an interview. The Cambridge Program Director Sandra Canas and staff member Debbie acted out being a bad and good intern. We also took an survey about how are we doing in this program. I am glad Enroot started again, I know I am gonna enjoy a lot and I look forward to it.

Cambridge Historical Society: Where is Cambridge From?

 Student Speakers: Shahnawaz, Deborah, and Oumaima

Student Speakers: Shahnawaz, Deborah, and Oumaima

Who is welcome and safe here? The Cambridge Historical Society delved into questions of identity, belonging, and welcoming at their Fall Forum.

Three Enroot students presented their stories of immigration from India, Haiti, and Morocco to the United States. Students focused on the struggle to learn English, navigate a new school system, and find community in a new city.

A group of panelists discussed historical and contemporary dimensions of immigration in Cambridge, which became a Sanctuary City in 1985. The panel discussion featured Cambridge Police Superintendent Christine Elow, Nestor Pimienta of Harvard Divinity School, Charles Sullivan from Cambridge Historical Commission, and moderated by Reverend Irene Monroe.

Somerville Students ask Commissioner Jeff Riley questions about the State of Latino Education


On October 10th, students, staff, and community members participated in a town hall on the State of Latino Education in Somerville with Jeff Riley, the Massachusetts Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Somerville students asked critical questions about the state of education for immigrants and Latino students, ranging from the high cost of college for students without documentation in Massachusetts to creating a more inclusive curriculum showcasing diverse and representative writers and historical figures.

Riley was asked by parents and teachers to address the disparity in MCAS scores for Latino, English Language Learners, and black students. He responded that while Massachusetts ranks number one in education in the United States for some students, it is not effectively serving all students and that Massachusetts has some of the largest achievement gaps. Riley described his work in Lawrence and his plans to address disparities at the state level through partnerships with communities and families. Somerville Superintendent Mary Skipper included Enroot as one of the partners she looked forward to working with in ensuring more English language learners were admitted to honors and advanced placement courses. The town hall structure provided an opportunity for Enroot students to ask questions and engage with the education system.

Thank you to Latinos for Education and Somerville Public Schools for putting the event together. We appreciate the leadership of Commissioner Jeff Riley and Superintendent Mary Skipper as they look to make education more equitable for all.

 Commissioner Jeff Riley responds to questions.

Commissioner Jeff Riley responds to questions.

 Enroot staff and students pictured with Somerville Mayor Curtatone before the Town Hall.

Enroot staff and students pictured with Somerville Mayor Curtatone before the Town Hall.

From College Access to College Success

We are about to embark on a new journey: supporting Enroot students for two additional years after high school to ensure all of our students have the resources to transition to post-secondary education, graduate from a 2 or 4 year college, and grow in a meaningful career. English Language Learners have the lowest college completion rate compared to any other student group, and we believe that it is essential to not just invest in college access in high school, but in our students' continued success upon high school graduation.

With are grateful to the generous support from the Lafferty Family Foundation and The Philanthropy Connection, for making this possible. The program will include mentoring, 1:1 coaching, and support navigating the higher education system.  We are thrilled to announce Enroot AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow, Georgia Lederman, will be leading this effort as our Manager of College Success and Alumni Engagement! 

College Success programming is essential in expanding opportunities for traditionally marginalized individuals and communities and Enroot is uniquely positioned to do this work alongside our students. I could not be more excited to manage Enroot’s College Success Program, which will include academic, career,  financial and social-emotional coaching, ultimately leading to an increase in the number of first-generation immigrants who graduate from college and enter the workforce ready to succeed.
— Georgia Lederman, Manager of College Success & Alumni Engagement
  Enroot student Jarna pictured at freshman orientation. She will study Fashion Design and Marketing at Framinham State University. We look forward to working with Jarna and students like her in our College Success program!

Enroot student Jarna pictured at freshman orientation. She will study Fashion Design and Marketing at Framinham State University. We look forward to working with Jarna and students like her in our College Success program!

Students head to the White Mountains

Cambridge students went with Enroot to Moosialuke Ravine Lodge for three days filled with hiking, camp fires, s'mores, friendship bracelets, contra dancing, and exploring the White Mountains.

My favorite part of the trip was the hiking and the views. I also noticed that without cell phones we have so much more time in the day without all the distractions.
— Nafis, Enroot Student

With no cell phone or internet access in the mountains of New Hampshire, students were able to disconnect from social media and from their busy lives to enjoy nature. Students played soccer, participated in an "Enroot fashion show," and got to know one another over shared meals. 

Thank you to Moosialuke Ravine Lodge for hosting Enroot students! 

Enroot awarded $500,000 grant through Biogen Foundation’s STAR Initiative

Biogen Foundation announced Enroot as one of 6 key partners of the $10 million STAR Initiative to drive the development of local STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) ecosystems in Cambridge and Somerville.

The 4-year $500,000 investment represents an exciting opportunity for accelerated growth and program improvement.  The STAR Initiative will have a significant impact on making Cambridge and Somerville more equitable communities. Enroot is grateful for this investment in immigrant students and proud to play a key role in this major initiative.

We thank you for your ongoing commitment to Enroot students and to increasing equity in our communities. Please read the full press release below.


Cambridge, MA

Enroot is thrilled to receive a $500,000 investment from the Biogen Foundation. The grant is part of the Biogen Foundation’s STAR Initiative, a coordinated funding strategy to invest $10 million over four years to catalyze the development of local STEM ecosystems in Cambridge and Somerville. STAR (which stands for Science, Teacher support, Access and Readiness) is intended to strengthen and support the educational landscapes in these cities by increasing access to STEM resources and opportunities for students most underrepresented in STEM college or career pathways.

As the only out of school time partner specifically focused on meeting the needs of English Language Learner (ELL) students, Enroot has the opportunity to engage the vast majority of ELL students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and a growing portion of those at Somerville High School. Enroot’s participation in the Biogen STAR Initiative will ensure that the ELL student populations in Cambridge and Somerville are fully included in this exciting movement to expand STEM resources and opportunities.

Biogen’s support will help Enroot grow to support 220 students with over 300 volunteers by the final year of funding. The investment recognizes immigrants as key stakeholders in a global economy and allows them to leverage their differences to achieve personal success and contribute to the success of the country. This investment will enable Enroot to serve significantly more students and deepen our STEM focus by: increasing the number of STEM internships, featuring more STEM professionals on career panels and visits, recruiting more mentors from STEM fields, improving academic tutoring in STEM subjects, and providing more college access support.

As a STAR Initiative partner, Enroot joins Breakthrough Greater Boston, Citizen Schools, Young People’s Project, uAspire, and Lesley University, in promoting STEM awareness, exploration, and skill-building tools and activities. On receiving this award, Enroot’s Executive Director Ben Clark commented ‘'We do this work because we believe that immigrants have been, are, and must remain an essential source of strength, vitality, and new ideas to this country. This grant is a testament to Biogen’s commitment to inclusion and equity in the STEM fields and indicative of the Foundation’s recognition of the contributions of immigrants to the sciences.”

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About Biogen Foundation: The Biogen Foundation supports access to science education and to essential human services for children and their families in the communities in which Biogen facilities are located. The Biogen Foundation is committed to sparking a passion for science and discovery, supporting effective science education initiatives, and strengthening efforts to make science education and science careers accessible to diverse populations.

Biogen Foundation supports non profit organizations that focus on providing access to:

  • Hands-on science education
  • Teacher development opportunities in science
  • College readiness and support
  • Basic social needs (child hunger, poverty, and social mobility)

About Enroot: Enroot is a non-profit on a mission to empower immigrant youth to achieve academic, career, and personal success through inspiring out-of-school experiences. For the past 25 years, Enroot has directed programming for low-income immigrant high school students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School with program alumni going on to graduate college at twice the rate of their peers with demonstrated increases in self-confidence, advocacy, and leadership skills. Two years ago Enroot expanded its programming to Somerville High School. Our team of adult mentors, tutors, instructors, and case managers empowers students through comprehensive out-of-school programming that enables each student not only to succeed, but to achieve their own American dream. Visit enrooteducation.org to learn more.

Press Contact:
Dananai Morgan | Director of Development & Strategic Initiatives
dmorgan@enrooteducation.org | (617) 674-0178

Meet Enroot's Summer Interns

Daniela, Mirella, and Sofia will be supporting Enroot on a variety of projects this summer: from volunteer recruitment and marketing to curriculum development. We are so excited to have them join our team.


Daniela Pozos Nicolau is joining the Enroot team as a Summer Intern through the Tisch Summer Fellows program. Born in Mexico, Daniela is a rising sophomore at Tufts University planning on majoring in Psychology and Education. 

Mirella Greenberg is excited to join the Enroot team as a summer intern through her second year with the Forest Foundation. She is a rising senior at Macalester College, and is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Educational Studies and a concentration in Human Rights and Humanitarianism.

She grew up in Cambridge and attended Cambridge Public Schools her entire life, graduating from the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in 2015. She is looking forward to interacting with the Rindge community from a different perspective this summer.


Sofia Phay is joining the Enroot team for the summer of 2018. She is a rising senior at Williams College in Western Massachusetts, majoring in Psychology. Sofia grew up right outside of New York City, and is excited to be in the Boston area this summer! 

Starting Small and Making it Big, A Memoir by Bill Cummings

As a recipient of a $100K for 100 grant from Cummings Foundation, Enroot has benefited not only from substantial financial resources but also from the publicity and enhanced standing that comes with Cummings Foundation's support. This grant for $100,000 confirms for potential donors and volunteers that we are making a positive impact in the local community.

Knowing that all proceeds from Bill Cummings' new memoir, "Starting Small and Making It Big," go to Cummings Foundation, we could not be more proud to recommend this book. By purchasing "Starting Small," for yourself or as a gift, you are actually giving back in a charitable way -- and you will likely be inspired by what you read.

We are pleased to share a book review below. More information about Starting Small is available online.

An Entrepreneur's Journey to Billion-Dollar Philanthropist
Review by Heather Lauten, Esq.
Today's corporate temperament prizes decisions made on the basis of a simple opportunistic edict: do what will produce the greatest revenue while consuming the fewest resources. There's nothing wrong with that thinking, per se, but there's a vital piece missing from those broad strokes: doing what's right.
This value system (not to mention our current political discourse) has clouded the confluence between opportunity and opportunism, promoting thinking in which the latter is the province of the prosperous and the former describes a concept that people feel has escaped them. What remains is a society in which too many believe they're helpless to effect change, compelling children to march for their lives in Washington in the face of public apathy, and allowing the civic void to be filled by those who mask intolerance and ignorance by calling it innovation.
In his new memoir, "Starting Small and Making It Big: An Entrepreneur's Journey to Billion-Dollar Philanthropist," Bill Cummings offers a welcome rejoinder to this diminished thinking, showing us not only that hard work and diligence can lead to success but also that success can foment fundamental justice and genuine structural change along the way. 
When Cummings first went into business for himself, negotiating a good deal to purchase a hundred-year-old beverage enterprise in 1964, his dad gave him some advice about opportunity that stuck with him: "The most important thing about being lucky," he said, "is recognizing good luck when it comes along, and then taking advantage of it. Life is mostly what we make of the opportunities that come our way." 
"Starting Small" details Cummings' story of how, with a practical sensibility and belief in himself and others, along with an eye for making his own luck, he worked his way from conventional working-class beginnings to founding a real estate company with a portfolio of more than 11 million square feet of debt-free space in his totally unleveraged style.
What makes Cummings' self-made-man narrative unique, and worthy of attention, though, is the rest of the story. With the kind of detailed guidance that budding entrepreneurs will earmark for reference, and the charming conversational tone of a man who enjoys telling a tale, Cummings' book describes not only the life he and his wife, Joyce, have created by making the most of the opportunities that have come their way, but also how they have become philanthropists on a scale few accomplish, having already given more than a billion dollars to charitable causes.
Members of the Giving Pledge, established by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, Cummings attributes his and Joyce's extraordinary dedication to giving back to their community-to institutions large and, mostly, small-to what he describes as their "belief in the goodness of all humanity."
That strong-held belief, Cummings illustrates from the beginning of "Starting Small," comes from his and Joyce's strong family backgrounds, and life-long association with like-minded people who shared their values and supported their endeavors, but it's also clear that Cummings genuinely likes people and has the gift to recognize their best qualities. 
"At Cummings Properties, one of our major goals is to find out what good employees do best and then keep them busy doing it," Cummings writes. In "Starting Small," Cummings paints convivial portraits of his colleagues, many of whom have long tenures with his company, the average length of service for the 360-person firm being more than 11 years.
On the occasion of one colleague's 40th anniversary of service with the company, Cummings describes how equipment operator George Holland received not only an engraved rocking chair celebrating the milestone, but was shocked to be handed the keys to the company's first brand-new backhoe, which had his name painted prominently on the door.
Other stories are tender, and at the heart of the book is a tragedy, when Cummings' protégé, 41-year-old Jamie McKeown, was stricken by a fatal heart attack. Cummings' account of his more than 17 years spent mentoring Jamie, and his profound pleasure in having cultivated a person who cared as much about improving his community as he did about growing a company, explains how the loss served as a sort of turning point for Cummings' altruistic views.
In describing Jamie at his funeral service, Cummings said "no man I have ever met cared more about doing the right thing," and that Jamie "led by example." Cummings writes, "Although Joyce and I had formed Cummings Foundation 10 years before Jamie died, his death was a stark reminder to me that if she and I were to do meaningful good things, together with the foundation, we really needed to get started."
Doing the right thing, leading by example, and incorporating charitable giving into every aspect of his immensely successful business is how Bill Cummings has honored Jamie and others who have impacted his and Joyce's thinking, some on a grand scale, and many, many others on a small, local level. In some ways, "Starting Small" is a textbook on how-and why-to give, as individuals, and, importantly, as an integral part of the corporate culture.
A single paperback can be purchased online via Amazon.com and Cummings.com/book for $16.95. Options for discounted bulk purchases - three paperbacks for $40 or a case of 26 books for $300 - can be found at Cummings.com/book. All books are shipped free of charge. Many readers have raved about the book for use as graduation gifts.
Ms. Lauten, an attorney, is a member of the Cummings Properties team.