Community Engagement Team
The Community Engagement Team (CET) plays a major leadership role in helping the Cambridge Community Learning Center reach its primary goal--transforming the lives of its adult students who struggle to learn English, improve their education, and become culturally acclimated to a new environment.
A multi-agency collaborative, CET helps newcomers and other hard-to-reach Cambridge families educate their children, integrate into the workforce, and build better lives. Ten well-trained outreach workers, from Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Haiti, Somali, the American Black community, and Spanish and Arabic-speaking countries, use their strong leadership skills to connect underserved Cambridge families to community events and resources, and help Cambridge agencies to be more successful in reaching diverse populations.
Outreach Workers Resourceful and Persistent
Stephanie Edma, a long-time resident of Cambridge, native of Haiti, former CLC student, mother and grandmother, and neighbor of CLC Outreach Worker Carrine Bury, did not expect to learn anything new when Carrine invited her to a parenting workshop. “To my surprise, in that presentation I learned a lot about the importance of talking to children…. information that helps me when I am taking care of my grandchildren,” she said.
Painful memories from childhood learning experiences were keeping an African American man with two adult children from coming to Outreach Worker Chris Hope’s “Reading to Children” workshop. Once he developed a relationship of trust with the man and his family through his church, John was able to convince him to come.
Other people have initially resisted the overtures of Outreach Workers because they were afraid someone was trying to get them to change their religion or a husband thought the caller wanted his wife to leave him. Another new immigrant did not register his son in school because he had heard the schools were very expensive. Each of these problems was solved with the patience, persistence, and cultural understanding of an Outreach Worker.