Earlier this summer a viral video showing a white Harvard employee belittling her neighbor who is the mother of a biracial child put on full display the toxic cocktail of racism and classism that often lies just beneath the surface. Sadly incidents like this are an everyday occurrence in Cambridge and most cities. The fact that this one happened to be recorded is providing an opportunity for us all to reflect on how implicit bias and the many manifestations of racism erode the dignity and diminish the experience of people of color.
As the father of bi-racial children and leader of Enroot, I reflect every day on how harmful repeated racist and discriminatory interactions can be to a young person’s self-identity and emotional well-being. In this blog post I’ve highlighted a few more examples of how Enroot students and the larger immigrant community experience discrimination and the hard work that will be required of white residents for our communities to become more welcoming, just and equitable.
This conversation brings into focus why Enroot is constantly searching for new ways to serve our students. For many years we have wanted to support our students beyond the successful completion of high school. This fall, we are excited to begin this work as we pilot our College Success and Alumni Engagement program. With the benefit of support and resources to transition to post-secondary education, we hope to see more students graduate from a 2 or 4-year college and become gainfully employed.
Thanks for all you do to support Enroot students,
From College Access to College Success
With the generous support of the Lafferty Family Foundation and The Philanthropy Connection, Enroot launches our College Success program this summer. The program is designed to support students in their first two years of post-secondary education through mentoring, 1:1 coaching, and support navigating the higher education system. 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. We are thrilled to announce Enroot AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow Georgia Ledermanhas joined our team full time and will be leading this effort as our Manager of College Success and Alumni Engagement. Read more about our plans here.
"I couldn't 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
Enroot student Jarna pictured at freshman orientation. She will study Fashion Design and Marketing at Framingham State University. We look forward to working with Jarna and students like her in our College Success program!
Camping in the White Mountains
Cambridge students went with Enroot to Moosilauke 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," said Enroot student Nafis, "I also noticed that without cell phones we have so much more time in the day without all the distractions." Read more on our blog.
Get Involved: Volunteer with Enroot
Would you or someone you know be a great mentor or tutor for Enroot? We are actively looking for new volunteers for the upcoming school year! Fill out an application today and we will contact you about attending a volunteer orientation this summer.
We are thrilled to share that we have hired Teresa Martinez to serve as the Program Director for Enroot in Somerville. Teresa brings 13 years of experience working with youth at Year Up. She also helped launch their new site in State Street Quincy, which she then managed after the launch. Teresa has a strong passion for working with opportunity youth and is a firm believer, regardless of cultural background or socioeconomic status, that with the right support, resources, and guidance, students can reach their full potential. Teresa was born and raised in El Salvador. She came to the United States at the age of 15 and attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School (CRLS) where she learned English and also participated in the Enroot program (City Links at the time) for two years as a student. We’re particularly excited to have a program alumnus join the team and grateful for all the many talents Teresa brings back to Enroot.
Enroot is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering immigrant youth to achieve academic, career, and personal success through inspiring out-of-school experiences.