IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCES

Here are just a few stories from ENB-funded English classes that exemplify what we know to be the true immigrant experience — people who are strong, bold, and driven.

LUCIO

Lucio began taking citizenship classes with his wife a couple of years ago. While she made tremendous progress and quickly passed her citizenship exam, he struggled with his English. Last year, he enrolled in a basic English class as well as the citizenship classes. After almost two years of combined classes, he became a citizen in December 2017. (From St. Mark Community Education Program)   

 
DIANA

Diana came to the United States from Colombia in 2015. She joined her husband who was already living here. She had to leave her daughter, along with her grandmother, behind in Colombia. Diana was determined to learn English, get a job, and make a better life for them. She began in Level I, and as she became more comfortable with the vocabulary, she was able to get her first job cleaning tables in a restaurant. As her English improved, so did her positions. She impressed the owners of the restaurant and was promoted to “busser,” to food runner and then to, food expediter, which was a supervisory position. In that position she sometimes had to speak directly with customers in English. Diana said she was slowly becoming less self-conscious of her English and less afraid to speak. Diana felt confident enough to apply for a job at Logan Airport for Copa Airlines. Her interview was very intimidating, but she remembered some of the practices from class. “I looked in his [the interviewer’s] eyes and answered all the personal questions.” As she was on the way home from the interview, she received a call on her cell phone. The manager said, “Diana welcome to Copa Airlines!” Diana says that it is a dream job, and she works hard everyday to learn the computer system and new vocabulary. She loves her job and feels very proud. Her mother and daughter will be able to fly from Colombia for free. In addition, Diana is taking citizenship classes and hopes to be a citizen soon. She believes that her daughter will be able to come and live permanently in the United States this year.  (fromEast Boston Ecumenical Community Council program)

 

As she was on the way home from the interview, she received a call on her cell phone. The manager said, “Diana welcome to Copa Airlines!” Diana says that it is a dream job, and she works hard everyday to learn the computer system and new vocabulary. She loves her job and feels very proud.

 

Immigrants — over 800,000 in Massachusetts alone — bring their dreams, their grit, and their determination to America every year. It’s that rich diversity, we believe, that makes America great. In this past year, ENB’s work with immigrants — offering English language classes that are gateways to a new life in America — has, perhaps, meant more than ever before. 

 
Thank you for supporting immigrants and believing in an inclusive, progressive America.
 

 

OUR COMMUNITY

This week, I was in a classroom full of moms, dads and grandparents at the Blackstone Innovation School in Boston’s South End. They come from around the globe — Columbia, Nigeria, Somalia, Honduras, Dominican Republic — but all are here in this ESOL for Parents and Caregivers class for the same reason: to learn English so that they can help their children excel in school. This month they’re preparing for parent-teacher conferences, practicing at-home reading strategies, and planning to attend the school’s Parent Council meeting–many for the first time.
 
They are learning a language, but they are also becoming a small community, a group that can depend on and trust each other when times get tough and worries become overwhelming, as they often have in the past year — a border wall, travel bans, bigoted rhetoric, and now TPS eliminationAmidst it all, they have hope and a belief that things will get better.
 
We are all friends in this class. We help each other.

– ISTAHIL

“We are all friends in this class. We help each other,” said Istahil, a mother of four from Somalia.
 

Their English class gives these immigrants a safe place to ask questions and share their stories. And, as a supporter of these classes, you have given hope and shined a light in these often dark times.

 

Next week, as we give thanks and reflect back on the year, I will be thankful for all of you that have lifted up our immigrant communities, made Massachusetts a safe place to work, live and dream as an immigrant, and opened your hearts in displays of support throughout the year.
 
Thank you all,

 

Claudia Green
Executive Director
 

CUMMINGS FOUNDATION GRANT

English for New Bostonians and Boston Cares receive Cummings Foundation grant of $100,000 for volunteer ESOL Tutor Corps 

A partnership between English for New Bostonians (ENB) and Boston Cares is one of 100 local nonprofits to receive a grant of $100,000 each through Cummings Foundation’s “$100K for 100” program. The Boston-based organizations were chosen from a total of 549 applicants during a competitive review process.

 

ENB supports 25 English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs for low-income immigrants across the city of Boston, reaching approximately 1,100 students every year. Boston Cares mobilizes individual and corporate volunteers who strengthen communities and improve the lives of people in need, engaging thousands of adults, children, teens and corporate partners annually serving 67,000 hours at 165 schools and nonprofits. The ESOL Tutor Corps will add in-class, small group, and individualized assistance for 210 students each year, allowing them to attain their economic, educational and civic goals more quickly.

 

Representatives from ENB and Boston Cares will join approximately 300 other guests at a reception at Trade Center128 in Woburn on June 8, 2017 to celebrate the $10 million infusion into Greater Boston’s nonprofit sector. With the conclusion of this grant cycle, Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $170 million to local nonprofits.
“Cummings’ support for immigrant and refugee communities, and the organizations that serve them is exactly what is needed from our philanthropic community right now,” said Claudia Green, ENB’s Executive Director. “We are deeply grateful for this grant, and look forward to welcoming new volunteers to building meaningful relationships with those making Boston their home.”

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The Cummings grant will allow us to expand and accelerate this work, leveraging more volunteers for one of Boston’s most pressing needs.
Patrice Keegan

 

“Partnering with English for New Bostonians, Boston Cares has introduced new ways to recruit and retain ESOL volunteers. The Cummings grant will allow us to expand and accelerate this work, leveraging more volunteers for one of Boston’s most pressing needs,” said Boston Cares Executive Director Patrice Keegan.

 

ENB and Boston Cares will expand their joint volunteer initiative, the ESOL Tutor Corps program, which helps adult immigrants learn English and gain confidence and skills to fully contribute as workers, parents, and community members. Volunteers in the Corps are exposed to rich experiences working directly with immigrants as part of a well-organized team, while building ESOL programs’ capacity to reach more students.With Cummings Foundation support, ESOL Tutor Corps will build ESOL support infrastructure on a citywide level while ensuring distinct needs of hard-to-reach immigrant students at community programs are effectively met.
 
The Cummings Foundation grant comes at a time when both volunteers’ good will and immigrant students’ language acquisition needs are at record-high levels. Since November 2016, ENB has seen a 100% increase in individuals wishing to volunteer to assist immigrants.

 

The $100K for 100 Program supports nonprofits that are not only based in but primarily serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties. This year, the program is benefiting 35 different cities and towns in the Commonwealth. Through this place-based initiative, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the area where it owns commercial buildings, all of which are managed, at no cost to the Foundation, by affiliate Cummings Properties.
“Nonprofit organizations like ENB and Boston Cares are vital to the local communities where our colleagues live and work,” said Joel Swets, Cumming Foundation’s executive director. “We are delighted to invest in their efforts.”
 
English for New Bostonians’ mission is to invest in the future of our region by creating opportunities for English language learners to pursue their educational, economic and civic aspirations. ENB programs serve 1100 students at 25 sites each year. The English Works Campaign, founded in 2008, activates unions, employers, immigrant community leaders, civic groups, and educators calling for government and private resources to sustain an ESOL system responsive to needs of immigrant workers and their employers.
 
Boston Cares mobilizes individual and corporate volunteers who strengthen communities and improve the lives of people in need. Boston Cares builds relationships with schools and nonprofits around needs that can be filled by volunteer teams; then recruits, orients and leads reliable volunteers who get the job done. Boston Cares’ programs and service events engage thousands of adults, children, teens and corporate partners annually serving 67,000 hours at 165 schools and nonprofits.
 
About Cummings Foundation

Woburn-Based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings of Winchester. With assets exceeding $1.4 billion, it is one of the largest foundations in New England. The Foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including two New Horizons retirement communities, in Marlborough and Woburn. Its largest single commitment to date was $50 million to Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Additional Information is available at 

www.CummingsFoundation.org