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S1/E5: Community Engagement with Enroot

How do we engage English Language Learners in community programs? What supports are effective in helping immigrant students thrive beyond the school walls? How might we partner with outside organizations to create mutually beneficial programs for communities and newcomers?

We dive into these questions and much more as we continue our series on family and community engagement with Anna Leversee. Anna manages the Enroot program in Somerville, MA. Enroot’s mission is to empower immigrant youth to achieve academic, career and personal success through inspiring out-of-school experiences. Enroot partners with hundreds of volunteers and dozens of local nonprofits and community organizations to ensure each student is matched 1:1 with a caring adult mentor and has the opportunity to participate in a professional internship during high school. This collaboration pays off: Enroot students graduate college at twice the rate of their peer group and report increased self-confidence and the ability to self advocate.

In this episode, we chat with Anna about the power of partnering with community organizations to help immigrant youth reach their highest aspirations.

This conversation serves to remind educators that we are not alone and that learning does not have to be limited to the hours students spend in schools. There are many outside organizations who are ready and willing to partner with schools in an effort to supplement the educational experience of all students. While not all schools have ready access to programs like Enroot, we all have communities that can and should be leveraged to provide mutually beneficial experiences for students and community members.

To learn more about Enroot, we encourage you to start by watching this video, then take a look at their website and feel free reach out to staff with questions. If you are interested in mentoring students, volunteering, or partnering with Enroot, start here to learn about how you can get involved.

Finally, rather than providing us with a list of print resources, Anna recommends connecting with people as much as possible - join a community meeting, put yourself out there, and learn from the people around you. One book that Anna does recommend is The Far Away Brothers, by Lauren Markham. The book tells the story of two identical twin brothers who escape violence in El Salvador to start a new life in California.

You can listen and subscribe to Highest Aspirations on iTunes here.