October 2018 Newsletter


Dear Enroot Community, 

Earlier this summer we watched as political newcomers challenged the existing political landscape in districts around the country. Their primary victories were just a foreshadowing of a uniquely exciting mid-term election. This year an unprecedented surge in women candidates and candidates of color present a generational opportunity to re-draw the political landscape for decades to come. 

Last week a close friend’s mother was studying for the Civics exam for US citizenship and I was struck by two questions, 

“What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens” and 
“Name one right only for United States citizens”

It occurred to me how privileged we are to have the right to participate in an election that has far-reaching implications, especially when so many others including many of our Enroot families cannot, despite working hard and paying taxes. 

Especially at this juncture in our country’s history, it’s essential that all of us who enjoy this privilege utilize it to further advance equity and justice in our communities. Your vote is your voice, and the voice of so many others without one. 

It’s also important we use our voice to bring attention to the important issues at stake and encourage those around us to vote too. Share a message with friends about the ballot questions. Offer rides on election day to those who need assistance getting to the polls.  

Our newsletter this month spotlights “Student Voice.” Many of our students had the opportunity to showcase their improving public speaking skills as they shared their experiences with community members at events around Cambridge and Somerville. We hope you enjoy seeing them in action.

Regardless of which candidates you believe in, thanks for making sure you vote and for using YOUR voice to fight for justice. 

Yours in Solidarity,


Conversation with the Commissioner
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. Read more about the event on our blog
Spotlight on Student Voice
Enroot students from Cambridge and Somerville shared their stories of immigration and finding community at Cambridge Community Foundation's "The Immigrant Experience: Learning Through Art and Community Voice."  The event was held in Harvard Yard, with Teresita Fernandez’s temporary public art installation, Autumn (…Nothing Personal), as the backdrop. Thank you to Cambridge Community Foundation for inviting us to participate! Read more about the event here.
The Cambridge Historical Society delved into questions of identity, belonging, and welcoming at their fall event: "Where is Cambridge From." Three Enroot students presented their stories of immigration from India, Haiti, and Morocco to the United States, focusing on their journey to learn English, navigate a new school system, and find community in a new city. Read about the event on our blog.
Mentoring Matters
This year, Enroot is matching 175 immigrant students with caring adult mentors who will meet with them once a week over the course of the year, working on everything from college applications to practicing English. A few highlights from our mentoring cohorts:
Cambridge: Students met with their mentors on Tuesday night and got to know each other over pizza through games and activities, including a rock paper scissor championship!
Somerville: Explore and Leadership students met their mentors at our Mentor Match nights, where they "interviewed" each other and learned what they have in common. They formed and untangled a "human knot" and played a game involving balancing cookies on their forheads.
Microsoft Volunteers with Enroot
Microsoft volunteers joined us on Tuesday to put together care packages for Enroot's College Success students. Volunteers wrote cards and stuffed envelopes to send our College Success students some extra support as they head into mid-term exams. One of our current Enroot students stopped by to ask how Microsoft volunteers found their career path and any recommendations they had for an aspiring computer scientist. Thank you to Microsoft for being a partner is hosting student field trips, volunteering, and holding micro-fundraisers for Enroot.
Enroot is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering immigrant youth to achieve academic, career, and personal success through inspiring out-of-school experiences. 

September 2018 Newsletter


Dear Enroot Family, 

Last night marked a momentous occasion in the history of this state and an important step toward equity for our country. We watched as Ayanna Pressley beat the odds and surprised the naysayers, becoming the first African American woman elected to represent Massachusetts in Congress. The humility and authenticity with which she ran her campaign compelled voters to come out in record numbers and cast their ballots in support of her vision. 

Understanding the needs of constituents who she has often described as being "closest to the pain," and giving a voice to many who for so long have felt unheard allowed her to overcome incredible odds to win the race. In her acceptance speech last night she said, “It seems like change is on the way. We have together ushered in something incredible. People who feel seen and heard for the first time in their lives, a stakeholder in democracy and a promise for our future. That is the real victory, that is bigger than any electoral victory. And I want to thank you all for being foot soldiers in this movement and for ushering in this change.”

It's powerful for Enroot students to know they are being represented, locally and in Washington, by elected officials who share essential aspects of their identity and lived experience. It's also incredibly inspiring for them to see a leader like Ayanna continue to challenge racial and gender barriers and prove that they can be overcome. Her courageous candidacy and underdog victory embody our country at its best and will no doubt give Enroot students renewed confidence in this country and their place in it.

I'm thankful for her courageous leadership and hopeful that continued progress is coming for our communities.

Ben Clark
Executive Director 

Launching the College Success Program
A week before students headed off to college, we hosted our first night of College Success programming. Students and mentors met over ice cream to talk about students' college goals and everyone enjoyed the familiarity of the Enroot office before embarking on their college journey.

Enroot's College Success program is designed to support students in their first two years of post-secondary education through mentoring, one-to-one coaching, and support navigating the higher education system. Happy first week of classes to our College Success students!
Mass Mentoring Partnership Awards Grant
Enroot was awarded $10,000 as part of Mass Mentoring Partnership's investment of $750,000 to support quality mentoring throughout Massachusetts. This support will enable Enroot to serve 150 students in Cambridge and Somerville and provide more college access support. Read the full press release here.
Meet the new team
As we grow to serve 175 students this school year we have also grown our team. This summer we welcomed a new Program Director, two Program Managers, and three AmeriCorps members. Meet Teresa, GeorgiaPaola, Tamia, Sophie, and Katie. We are thrilled to have them join our team and excited to leverage their experience in enriching our programming. Please join us in welcoming them. 
Get Involved: Volunteer with Enroot
We are privileged to be doing this incredibly important work at this time in our nation's history. We are actively recruiting new volunteers for the upcoming school year. If you (or someone you know) are ready to be a part of this movement, please fill out an application today and we will contact you about attending a volunteer orientation.
Fill out our Volunteeer Application
Enroot is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering immigrant youth to achieve academic, career, and personal success through inspiring out-of-school experiences. 

August 2018 Newsletter


Dear Enroot community,

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,
Ben Clark
Executive Director

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 Lederman has 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. 
Fill out our Volunteeer Application
Enroot Welcomes New Somerville Director

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. 

June 2018 Newsletter

Dear Enroot family, 

While we celebrate the amazing accomplishments of Enroot students this year, and recognize the many ways immigrants make our community stronger, we are deeply disturbed by what is happening in our country right now.

Our government has failed people fleeing danger by enforcing flawed and destructive immigration policies. The Supreme Court decision on the Muslim ban was profoundly disheartening. In many ways our government’s policies and actions fail to recognize the humanity in immigrants. I write to you today in opposition of these hurtful, xenophobic and fear-based policies. I am saddened by the message we’re sending to the world, especially our Muslim brothers and sisters, and the children, women and men fleeing danger in their greatest time of need. This is not who we are. 

In response to this moment, I urge you to continue finding new ways to support your immigrant neighbors. Lend a hand and a smile. Check in on them more often as they forge ahead and work to protect their families. Make sure they know they are still welcome here. Please also lend your voice to the wider policy debate. Call and write to your elected officials to let them know how you feel about the way our country is responding to this moment. If you’re in the Boston area, join my family and thousands of others at the big rally tomorrow at Boston City Hall

Thank you for your steadfast support of Enroot and for doing anything you can to stand with immigrant families, especially during this time.

Yours in solidarity,
Ben Clark
Executive Director
Enroot awarded Biogen Foundation Grant
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.

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.

Please read the full press release here.
Celebrating our Students
Thanks to all who joined us for the Cambridge and Somerville Celebration at Google and at Center for Arts at the Armory! We had a great time celebrating with students and families, and appreciating their hard work during the school year. Special thanks to our students, alumni, and community members who contributed to the touching speeches and fantastic dances that made the evening so memorable.

We appreciate our sponsors for making the event possible: Google, Biogen, William Blair, Cambridge Trust, John Moriarty & Associates, Rockland Trust, MIT, and Eastern Bank. 

For more pictures, check out our Facebook page for pictures of the Cambridge and Somerville events. 
Congratulations to our Seniors 
Sending a big congratulations to all the Class of 2018 graduates! We were also thrilled that Enroot Cambridge Senior, Nidjee, was selected as a Cambridge Super Senior. She was selected for embodying "opportunity," one of CRLS's core values. 
Meet our Summer Interns!
Sofia, Daniela and Mirella 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. Read more about them here.
Enroot is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering immigrant youth to achieve academic, career, and personal success through inspiring out-of-school experiences. 

May 2018 Newsletter

Dear Enroot family, 

With just weeks left in both the academic and fiscal year, we're reflecting on a year that has been a mixture of trial and triumph. Throughout, our students remain resilient, our team committed and our mission alive. I’m thrilled to share all of our Seniors are graduating with a post secondary plan to guide their next steps. I'm so grateful for the continued support each of you provide to make this possible for Enroot students. Thank you.

Finally, as Ramadan begins, we wish all those celebrating a blessed and peaceful Ramadan.
Last week, 7 students were awarded the City of Cambridge scholarship and last night, Enroot students were awarded over $100,000 in scholarships at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School's Scholarship Evening. All students who applied received scholarships. This would not be possible without the work of our team of supporters and volunteers. Thank you for your continued support. 
Student Workshops 
Over April break, 24 Enroot students from Cambridge and Somerville visited Framingham State and Lesley University. Framingham students hosted Enroot at the College Planning center, sharing their experiences as First Generation students and as students of color at Framingham. Students participated in a college campus scavenger hunt and ate in the dining hall.
On April 25, CRLS Student Diversity Coordinator Ed Byrne joined Enroot to give a workshop on LGBTQIA identities. On April 26, former long time Enroot Board member Faye Arrington led a seminar on public speaking in Somerville. Students took to the front of the class - after taking a deep, calming breath - to introduce themselves and share their strengths. They honed their pubic speaking skills by pitching new products. 
Program Updates
Weekly seminars included a field trip to Akamai, student check-ins, a community issues debate and internship presentations. 
Tutoring: With the end of the school year on the horizon, students and tutors have been working hard submitting assignments, practicing concepts, and studying for the SAT. Tutoring pairs have done it all from crafting model neurons to coding to reading comprehension. Everyone has been working hard to get to the finish line.

Mentoring: Soccer stars and novices alike took to the field for last week’s mentor-mentee sports night. Cloudy skies did not stop mentors and students from spending time together playing basketball, frisbee, or cheering on their friends on the field.   

Post Secondary Planning: Enroot seniors attended the final post-secondary workshop of the year: "Transitioning to College: Be Proactive; Seek Support." They are ready to be their best advocates and seek out the support they will need. 

Welcoming a new member to the team!
Enroot is thrilled to welcome our new Director of Development and Strategic Initiatives, Dananai Morgan! If you would like to learn more about ways you can support Enroot’s work contact her here: or at (617) 674-0178.
Want to help Enroot win $3,500? Go to this link and click recommend. We're counting on your support. Please share with all your friends!
Recommend Enroot!
News from Enroot's Board
Enroot is excited to share that at our recent Annual Meeting Allyson Allen was voted to take over as Chair, and Enroot alumnus Tri Ho voted in as Secretary. Enroot is thrilled to have such a strong Executive Committee leading our Board.
Volunteers raised $10,537 with 103 individual donations during our Volunteer Giving Campaign! Thanks to all of our volunteers who are a driving force for our fundraising efforts. A special thank you to our Board who provided a generous matching gift of $2100.

Upcoming Enroot Events

Students will have their end of year celebration events:
Cambridge: June 4th at Google
Somerville: June 12th at Arts at the Armory
Many thanks to our generous event sponsors: Biogen, William Blair, John Moriarty & Associates, Rockland Trust, and MIT.
Enroot is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering immigrant youth to achieve academic, career, and personal success through inspiring out-of-school experiences.