Field Trip to CHA with Enroot Somerville

By: Adnan, Enroot Student

On February 8, we went to Cambridge Hospital Alliance in Somerville. I went to Cambridge Hospital Alliance in Somerville with the Enroot somerville high school students. It was a great experience exploring the CHA with the students. Students looked engaged when the guide was explaining the different type of section in the hospital. We also went in the laboratory, where blood and urine and different types of test has been done for informational purposes. We also went through an elevator which was used as a passage to other building.


One of my question to the health care professional was, “How does IT (information technology) impact this surgeons?”. One of the surgeon answered that IT plays an important role in the hospitals for uses of machineries and computer software which helps the surgeons get information. The fun fact which came across was that there were about 800 interpreter in CHA and their hourly rate is about 20-25$. About 50% of the interpreter works half time and the rest the full time. 42% of the patients that visit the CHA are immigrants and needs an interpreter. The student were asking various type of question, which showed that the students were really engaged and enjoyed learning about the CHA somerville hospital.

Enroot Somerville Meets the Mayor

By: Oumaima, Enroot Student

My name is Oumaima. I’m in 11 grade. I’m from Morocco. For Enroot we have 3 parts, Seminar, mentor and tutor, But I like the seminar because we visit a lot of places like last Thursday, we went to the City Hall to visit mayor, it was very good because I have never seen the Mayor of my country. I learn a lot of things from Enroot with my tutor, my mentor and seminar. In seminar we play games, we talk about colleges. For my tutor, she helped me with my homework. For seminar. We hang out together sometimes. Something that I like to learn more is practice more English and get my grades up. I like this program because they helped me a lot.



Afiya's Story

I’ve learned English, I’ve learned how to make new friends, I’ve learned that no matter how hard something is do not give up until you achieve it.
— Afiya, Enroot Cambridge

I’m a 16 year old, I am a junior in high school and I want to major in Pre-med after high school. After 4 years of college, I want to work in a hospital as a registered nurse  and go to school to get my Bachelor's degree and then to medical school to become a doctor. I moved to United States 4 and half years ago with my dad, mom and my brother. My first day of school in united states was confusing because even though I learned English in India, I was not very good at it. I wanted to make new friends but all I was thinking on my way there was how am I going to talk to others? I was scared that I didn’t know anyone at the school but I was also excited that I was going to a new school. I was an ESL [English as a Second Language] student for 3 years, over those 3 years I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned English, I’ve learned how to make new friends, I’ve learned that no matter how hard something is do not give up until you achieve it. In those 3 years I was accepted into City Links Program, now Enroot. I took the opportunity to be in the program. Then I joined Enroot again my junior year and I have an internship in Enroot, I work with amazing staff. I am grateful to be a student. I was switched to a mainstreamed English class my sophomore year where I was scared at first, I was in a class full of people who spoke English fluently. Everything that I learned in ESL class made it so much easier for me to understand things in the mainstreamed English class. Now I am in 11th grade, can speak English well, and I am more confident in myself.

Spotlight on Somerville: Student Internships

 Enroot Somerville students meeting with their mentors.

Enroot Somerville students meeting with their mentors.

My name is Sarah. I am in the 11th grade, I am from Brazil. I had an interview at Somerville Community Schools Program organization, with Jennie. Before the interview I felt nervous and anxious, but in the middle the conversation I got more comfortable, and the interview went well. In the room had more for students with me and 2 supervisors, we answer the questions together and I felt more easy, and another reason for my feeling comfortable was we practiced the questions in the Enroot program before the interview. They asked me what I want to improve and my answer was I want to improve and learn more about work with children, do some different activities, meet more different people, because my experience was with my relatives, like my cousins, siblings, and I want to improve my English.

We had a great experience with our intern and we’re happy we were able to provide a learning environment for an Enroot student and look forward to the possibility of hosting in the future!
— Former Internship Supervisor


I am in 9th grade at Somerville High School, and I am from Brazil. I go to Somerville City Hall for my internship after school. I create tables on Excel, and enter required data. I organize files and folders in the office. I also highlight required data that I am asked for. I learned how to access and work with excel. I have learned how to keep myself organized. I interact with people at work, and I feel confident to talk to new people now. I would like to learn what is the data they give me to work with. Thanks Enroot for the opportunity to intern at City Hall.

Nice program, I would say it helps the supervisor as much as the intern.
— Former Internship Supervisor

Thank you to our internship partners! 

Returning Partners
City of Somerville - Council on Aging
City of Somerville - SomerViva
City of Somerville - Treasurer/Collector
Mystic Learning Center (MLC) 
Somerville Media Center (SCATV)

New Partners
City of Somerville - City Clerk
City of Somerville - Planning and Zoning
City of Somerville - Shape Up Somerville
Somerville Community Schools
Somerville Family Learning Collaborative (SFLC) Playgroups
Kennedy Pool
Little Sisters of the Poor
Parenting Journey
Parkour Generations


Enroot's Mentors and Tutors

This year, Enroot's incredible force of 175 mentors and tutors will work with out students 1:1 each week. Mentors provide support in applying to college, setting goals, and navigating a new community. Tutors provide academic coaching to students in subjects ranging from English to AP Physics. 

Fun facts about this years mentors:

  • Our volunteers speak 17 different languages
  • Volunteers have lived in 38 different countries
  • Enroot volunteers work in a diverse range of professional fields, from healthcare to education
  • 75% of our volunteers live and/or work in Cambridge or Somerville

Mentors and Tutors Professional Fields

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Our work would not be possible without the time our volunteers generously give each week and we could not be more grateful for their dedication and support- thank you Enroot volunteers!

Enroot Students: Where in the world?

Enroot has received a record number of applications this year from students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School an Somerville High School. We're thrilled to welcome our newest group of students as we kicked off both Leadership Programs this past month, including our cohort of Peer Leaders.

Enroot students are all new immigrants to the United States living in Cambridge or Somerville. This year, over 130 students applied to Enroot, from 24 countries, speaking over 18 native languages. 

Students' Countries of Origin

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Languages Spoken by Students

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Alumnus Reflects on Time in Enroot

Enroot alumnus Jean emigrated from Haiti in 2005 half way through the school year at the request of his father, who was eager for him to access a better education. When he arrived he spoke almost no English and lived with his aunt, who did not speak any Creole or French. This made communication with his official guardian extremely limited.

Jean also had major challenges transitioning to his new school, since he did not know any other students and had such limited English. For the first few months instead of going to the cafeteria for lunch, he wandered the halls and sat on a bench out of site.

“I had lunch money but I couldn’t go get it since I didn’t speak any English and I didn’t know how to order. So I would just go sit on a bench. I didn’t know anybody. I was afraid – what if I say the wrong thing, order the wrong food – what if they don’t understand me. I did this for my first 2-3 months.”

Jean was welcomed into the Enroot program a few months after arriving and participated for 2 and half years and graduated in 2008. As part of his Enroot experience, Jean worked as an intern at the Cambridge Finance Department for two years in Cambridge City Hall, helping residents over the phone and in person with information about taxes and water bills. Excited about a career in this area, he attended the University of Massachusetts at Boston and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Finance. During college, he was able to use the connections he made and skills he developed as an Enroot student to obtain a part-time position in the Finance Department in the City of Cambridge. After graduating he was hired full-time in their Auditing Department. Last year Jean was proud to be awarded "2017 Outstanding City Employee of the Year" by Cambridge City Manager Louis D. Pasquale, who had helped supervise Jean years ago as an Enroot intern.

Jean credits Enroot for his understanding of how to work in an office and how to be a professional. He also said his mentor was pivotal in this phase of life, as an adult he worked closely with over 2.5 years and who helped him navigate key parts of the post-secondary process, like the college essay and selection process.

“The top two things I’ve learned at Enroot are to believe in yourself and that teamwork is very important. Starting with my internship through Enroot, I was able to learn how to work in an office and how to be professional. In our meetings at Enroot I’ve also learned a lot from guests that came to help us understand what it takes to be a professional. After my internship at the finance department, they offered me a part time job as an intern, with my body of work which I’ve learned from my days at Enroot I was able to get a full time job at the Auditing Department. My advice (to current students) is to be patient, believe in yourself and know that at Enroot you have an amazing group of people who genuinely care for you and will get the best out of you.”
— Jean, Enroot Alumnus Class of 2008
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Read more about how Enroot supports immigrant students like Jean in building strong social and emotional skills in a feature by United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.

Forum looking at "Lives in Limbo"

Please join Enroot for a conversation looking at "Lives in Limbo" by Professor Roberto Gonzales with insight from a local reporter.

Monday, November 13, 2017 at 6:30 PM

The Massachusetts' immigrant community is facing increasing threats. Please join Enroot to hear about how the climate has changed and what we can do to better support our immigrant students and their families. We'll hear from Professor Roberto Gonzales of Harvard Graduate School of Education, author of "Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America," as well as a local reporter covering immigration policy.

As our communities are raided by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during Operation "Safe City" targeting sanctuary cities, DACA protections are rescinded for Dreamers, and there are threats to withhold renewals for Haitian and Central American immigrants protected under special visas, this is a troubling time for the immigrant community and organizations like Enroot that support students and their families. Let's explore together how to stand with our immigrant community.

Event generously hosted by RoAnn Costin in Cambridge, MA.

Please note: space will be extremely limited at this event. We will do our best to accommodate requests and encourage guests to get tickets early.

Our Speakers

Roberto Gonzales
Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Roberto G. Gonzales’ research centers on contemporary processes of immigration and social inequality, and stems from theoretical interests at the intersection of race and ethnicity, immigration, and policy. In particular, his research examines the effects of legal contexts on the coming of age experiences of vulnerable and hard-to-reach immigrant youth populations. Since 2002 he has carried out one of the most comprehensive studies of undocumented immigrants in the United States. His most recent book is Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America.


Moderated by Ben Clark
Executive Director, Enroot

Ben joined Enroot as Executive Director four years ago after spending most of his career working in international development. Most recently, as Director of Organizational Development for Teach For All, he collaborated closely with the leadership of Teach For All network programs in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe to build high performing, sustainable organizations and set solid foundations for scaling. Ben holds undergraduate degrees in International Relations and Sociology from Principia College and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School.


Enroot selected by SVP Boston

Note from the Executive Director:

Dear Friends of Enroot:

I am honored and excited to announce that after a rigorous vetting process, Enroot has been selected as the newest grantee for Social Venture Partners Boston

Enroot was awarded a major three-year investment by Social Venture Partners (SVP) Boston, including $100,000 in unrestricted funds and access to a pool of highly skilled business professionals to help us build capacity. 

SVP Boston chooses worthy nonprofits in which to invest financial and volunteer help from a network of highly skilled business professionals. Social Venture Partners Boston operates like a venture capital model for local early-stage nonprofits. It gives its Partners—or volunteers—the opportunity to invest their time, money, and expertise in innovative nonprofits that have the potential to make meaningful and sustainable improvements in the community.

As we enter this next chapter of Enroot's evolution, we are following in the footsteps of many impressive area nonprofits in the SVP Boston portfolio. We feel incredibly humbled to have been given this opportunity and excited about all that we'll accomplish together in the coming three years!

Please don't hesitate to be in touch with any questions. I look forward to providing updates throughout the grant process with Social Venture Partners Boston.

Ben Clark, Executive Director

Student Reflection: Mentoring in Somerville

My name is Manuel, I am a freshman in Somerville High School.  I originated from the Dominican Republic, a country southeast of Florida. My Mentor and I work on assignments, play games and go out to restaurants. We went to Redbones Barbecue in Davis Sq. The Food and design of the restaurant was Southern American style. We ordered Beignets, long and skinny french fries, and pork sandwich. The food was marvelous and the service too!!!!!

I like it went my mentor helps me with my daily assignments but enjoy it more when we do fun stuff that does not include HOMEWORK. It was great to spend time with my mentor in a different way. We got to know each other as friends instead of student and mentor and we had a fun time together.

I never had this kind of food before. Beignets - are fried dough with powdered sugar and  they were FANTASTIC.

I want to learn about the food, culture and were they first originated. I like to learn more about Beignets and other food like Indian, Chinese, Russian, British, French, and  Italian.

It’s good to spent time with someone else that you are having a relationship.