Category Archives: City Links

$100K for 100 Grant Award


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Cambridge Community Services is thrilled to announce we’ve been chosen by the Cummings Foundation as a #100Kfor100 grant recipient! This generous investment will ensure even more City Links students have the opportunity to succeed.

“We admire and very much appreciate the important work that nonprofit organizations like CCS are doing in local communities where our colleagues and clients live and work,” said Joel Swets, Cummings Foundation Executive Director. “We are delighted to support their efforts.”

CCS empowers immigrant students to achieve success in college, career, and life. Through the holistic and robust program model of City Links, students are matched with an adult mentor, academic tutor, paid internship, and provided leadership development and community service opportunities. Students graduate college at twice the rate of their peer group with significant increases in self-confidence, self-advocacy, and professional skills.

CCS has operated City Links in Cambridge for the past 24 years. Thank to the generosity of Cummings Foundation and other partners, CCS plans to expand beyond Cambridge for the first time in the Fall of 2016.

CCS is one of 100 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 each through Cummings Foundation’s “$100K for 100″program. We were chosen from a total of 470 applicants, during a competitive review process. Thank you to Cummings Foundation for investing in City Links students and providing this critical funding to start-up our expansion site.


Meet Alexander, Akeru, and Harry

alexander“This is Alexander, a Junior at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School from El Salvador. In his free time he likes to go to the gym and work out. He dreams of becoming a detective and going to Boston College.” – Written by Peer Leader, Cynthia

“Let’s meet Akeru. She is from Japan and has been inAkeru United States for a few months now. She is a junior and this is her first year in the City Links program. She is a wonderful student who works hard to achieve her goals and prepares herself  for whatever comes her way.” – Written by Peer Leader, Pauline

IMG_0808“Hi all! Let’s meet with Harry Jean. He’s nice and he likes his friends. He’s from Haiti and he’s in the City Links Program. He wants to be a carpenter or mechanic after finishing his studies.  He likes to play games and watch T.V in his free time.” – Written by Peer Leader, Aisha

Meet Abigael, Kenlly, and Aruzhan

Five Peer Leaders were selected this year to act as role models and to support other students. They recently conducted interviews with all of the Leadership Program students. Here are their first few interviews:

abigael“Come and say hi to Abigael, a Sophomore at Rindge. She is a smart, jovial young lady. You would like to have her for a friend because she knows what a true friend is about. She is always here to listen to her friends no matter what. She has great goals for life. She wants to go to college and be Doctor Abigael, well-renowned in the world. She dreams of having her Dad with her in the US.  She hopes to keep up her good grades and work harder everyday for a better future. She had to struggle with not knowing English and left her country to move to a country different from hers. Even though she has daily challenges she kept on pushing forward and has a big smile on her face.”-  Written by Peer Leader, Sephora

Kenlly“Let’s meet  Kenlly, he is from the Dominican Republic and enjoys playing basketball. He has been such an excellent student all his years with City Links. As a student in his last year at Cambridge Rindge And Latin School, he works hard with the intention to fulfill  his tasks.” – Written by Peer Leader, Pauline

Aru“This is Aruzhan, she is in 10th grade. She was born in Kazakhstan and loves to play tennis and ride horses. Her dream is to graduate from one of the top universities in England and then get a masters degree at one of the Ivy League universities. She dreams of opening her own business. She plans on getting a degree in law with a minor in business management.” – Written by Peer Leader, Cynthia

Westfield State University

by Bernadine, City Links Student

This summer we the City Links Work and Learning Program visited Westfield State University. It’s two hours by car from Cambridge to there without traffic. The first thing I like about Westfield is that it is half the cost for the same education I will get in private colleges. The catalog our tour guide gave us said: “Westfield State College is one of a kind, combining big school features with small school advantages.  You will find a high quality academics and a gorgeous campus.  You will find affordable, innovative programs enhanced and anchored by Westfield’s original founding principles.  Immersive study-abroad programs in more than 35 countries around the world, as well as focused short-term programs led by faculty. The college provides more than 700 internship and field experience opportunities available every year.”  It sounds really good.

At the beginning or our visit, we took a tour of the university. We saw the gym and the library. We learned about how the school functions.  I learned that right after graduating from high school, the university let you stay during the summer for free if you are planning to attend the school.  I learned that they provide great scholarship opportunities for the students.  The higher your GPA is, the more money you will receive.  The higher your SAT score is, the more scholarships you can get.  They have a great law program and a very strong Computer Science Program.  The college campus is very big and is very is beautiful and magnificent. Westfield State University has an Urban Scholars program for students like me.  Everyone was very excited and happy to have had the opportunity to visit.

Superintendent Meeting

by Misam, City Links Student

Misam FarsabOn Wednesday, in the spring, all the students in City Links program went to meet the Superintendent in his office. We met him and we introduced ourselves and we gave him information about our background.

Many students asked questions. For example: someone asked “why does the school start early?” He responded “if the school started late we will lose a lot of activities.”  Also, some students said they want to challenge themselves by taking high level classes. He responded he would talk to the teachers. We also compared our culture with our live in Cambridge. For example: some students talked about eye contact and how it has a different meaning in their culture. Some people talked about their mentor and they said having their mentor for two years helped them in their life.  We felt impressed because we taught him a new thing. It was a great opportunity for the students in City Links program to meet the Superintendent.


Hindu-Indian Arranged Marriages

by City Links Student Jarna

Jarna UddinMy name is Jarna Uddin.  I am from Bangladesh.  I am Muslim but I am very interested in  Indian and Hindu culture.  I also watch Indian movies and I speak little bit of Hindi.  I would like to tell you how much I know about Hindu-Indian arranged marriages.

Most Hindu marriages are arranged but some are love marriages.  The wedding takes place over several days.  100 to 10,000 people attend the wedding, but the bride’s and the groom’s family don’t necessarily know everyone. The wedding goes for three days. The first day is  called Holud day: the groom’s family apply Holud ( yellow turmeric ) to themselves and then they bring that holud to the bride’s family to apply to her hands, face and legs.  They also apply Mehendi ( Henna) on her hands and legs.  After finishing applying the two families dance together and cut cakes.  On the second day the bride is decorated with gold and diamond jewelry and wears a red sari or lehnga. The most important thing is that the bride and the groom walk in a circle seven times around a sacred fire (saptapadi)  Also the groom puts sindoor on the part of her  head. Sindoor is the mark of a married women in Hinduism. She will wear this red powder for the rest of her married life .  After this they are considered  husband and wife but there is more to the wedding. The next part is kanyadaan. It is when the bride’s parents give their daughter away.  The groom makes the promise that he will love their daughter very much. The last ceremony is the flower bed ceremony. This is held at the groom’s house. The marital bed is decorated with flower by the groom’s family.  After the wedding night at the groom’s house, in the morning, the bride and the groom pay calls on her relatives.  I hope one day I will attend a Hindu wedding.

I think this system is great because arranged marriage brings the bride and the groom’s family together. There is a matchmaker who brings information to each side.  The two families have to agree on the offer. If either the bride or the groom don’t agree the marriage won’t happen, but if they do agree the marriage will take place. I like the system because the new marriage may need help. the two  families to support the new family in material and spiritual ways. For example material things like a house, a car, or money and spiritual things like advice, religious counseling and babysitting. These things are not necessarily available in a love marriage.