For two years I taught the adult ESL class "Helping Your Children in School" and was honored to work with an organization that is so deeply rooted in the community and at the vanguard of bottom-up change to build the civic power of immigrants in Somerville. The Welcome Project treats its volunteers with great respect, gives them free reign to explore their interests and make an impact in the community, and invites its volunteers into a warm, active community united across ethnicity, class, language, and race to make a positive impact on people's lives.
I have been teaching yoga to ESL students at the Welcome Project and have been so gratified by the response of the students and the support of TWP's staff. It is the highlight of my week!
Review from Guidestar
Through the various roles I have had in interacting with the Welcome Project - partner in research, donor, member of the general public - I have always been impressed by the passion and commitment of Warren Goldstein-Gelb and everyone connected to this organization; from the board members, to the staff and volunteers, to the youth members, to the community residents who make use of the many resources provided here. The Welcome Project is a source of important information, education, and help for newcomers to the area. The interpretation assistance of the youth group is an invaluable asset for the residents and allows the youth to see their community and themselves in a different way. From social events, to fundraisers, to health fairs, to college financial aid workshops, to celebratory gatherings, to participating in local government meetings, I see the Welcome Project striving to be an example of civic engagement at its best.
I've known Warren Goldstein-Gelb since gradeschool to be of the highest integrity.
Review from Guidestar
I've served on the Welcome Project board for ten years and it has been a pleasure to work with the wonderfully caring and hard working staff and board - a pleasure and a great learning experience and the opportunity to work with the extraordinary young members of the LIPS program, Mystic tenants and members of Somerville's vibrant immigrant communities.
I was part of the LIPS program and it gave me much more them an opportunity to use my skills in interpreting. It taught me how to work in group. In a different group made out of people from many countries with different backgrounds who only enriched my knowledge. I felt good every time we worked, specially in health fairs because I knew I was helping people get info and participate in events that they wouldn't if there wasn't a program like LPS at The Welcome Project. being part of LIPS also gave me the opportunity to meet influential people in the community and learn about the community issues. There is never enough to say about LIPS. LIPS is a great program for high school students that helps them open their horizons, it helps them appreciate the gift of being bilingual or trilingual and shows how much this gift helps the community.
I joined the board of The Welcome Project because I believe in its mission to advocate for and with immigrants and to increase the power and voice of newcomers from around the world in the greater Somerville community. Although TWP is a small grassroots organization, by collaborating with other organizations we have been effective in promoting leadership and increasing opportunities for this community.
My experience volunteering for The Welcome Project has been eye opening, even life-changing. What the one full time staff member and one part-time staff member are able to do for the immigrant and low income community of Somerville and Boston has a multiplier effect that is exponential. I taught English as a Second Language for 5 years in Austria, but my experience teaching at The Welcome Project is much more gratifying and useful. All Austrians receive a minimum of 8 years of free English (all education is free). At The Welcome Project, most of our students work very hard at low paid jobs and still prioritize their time to come to English lessons in order to further their lives- Quite the opposite of many Americans' stereotype of immigrants. The Welcome Project offers much more than eight different English courses for just $50 per semester or free if students have no way to pay for it. The youth program trains high school students to provide simultaneous translation in public meetings, enabling immigrants to understand and participate in parent-teacher and other community organizations. The Welcome Project empowers parents to assist children with school work and links immigrants to housing, legal, nutrition and other resources, creating an out-sized synergy with the local and wider community.
The welcome Project has been vital in giving the voiceless immigrant a voice. A place to help create leaders. As I grew up in Somerville That was not tolerant of differences. As a Puerto Rican make I was often discriminated against, and it was because of The Welcome Project that helped many immigrants have a voice and help to change the culture within the city. After working as a board member for The Welcome Project I now am the Board President. Working to give others a voice, and helping to ensure that the values of The Welcome Project continue to help others.
I became involved with The Welcome Project in 2009 after meeting the Executive Director and learning about the organization's work. I offered to do some volunteer consulting with the Board, and completed the agreed-upon work after approximately eight months. By then I had come to know the staff, many program participants and also Board members, and had seen the work of The Welcome Project in action. I was impressed by the deep commitment of the staff, and saw the impact that their programs have on adults and youth. By then The Welcome Project had captured my heart! I remained involved, and eventually joined the Board. The Welcome Project works to strengthen the voices of immigrant families in Somerville in many ways. Its classes have a civic engagement link---for example, a special English class called, "Helping Your Child in School." The work of The Welcome Project ultimately improves the lives not only of immigrant families, but creates a path toward Somerville becoming a truly intercultural city.
I have been a board member for over 5 years, during that time I have seen the program evolve from a service that responded to tenants from the Mystics' issues and concerns to a planful program looking to develop immigrant leadership throughout the city of Somerville. The staff of the program are thoughtful and hardworking and are very talented at stretching resources and developing meaningful relationships throughout the city.