Tag Archives: education

Surround Yourself with People Who Believe in You and Your Dreams

by Irma, City Links Student 

Picture1Nobody said it was going to be easy, but we all know it’s going to be worth it. Sometimes, to stay on task we need someone to motivate us because we all have those downfalls that life puts us through. Have you ever felt like everything you do is never going to be enough? Well, I have. But, on those dark times, I have an open-minded person by my side that helps me to get through. Her name is Val. She is my mentor. But it feels like she is much more than that. I can talk to her about anything because I know that she won’t judge me and will support me no matter what and also will help me to make better decisions. Over the past months, I got really close to her. I don’t consider her as my mentor, she is family to me. A mentor doesn’t have to have the same perspective as you or be like you to give you good advice, she just needs to understand your situation. What I like best about my mentor is that she always pushes me to strive for excellence whether it’s academic or not. Sometimes, I underestimate myself but she always backs me, telling me that I can do it as long as I believe in myself. My mentor always believed in me even though at times even if I don’t believe in myself. Mentors are not only there to guide you, they also give you advice. I feel comfortable talking about anything with her. In addition to all that, she is also helping me with the college process, which is a really stressful course in my life. She will help me to make good decisions about college because huge loans and grants are no jokes. My mentor and I are both learning a lot things together and she is also helping to build up my future.

Picture2Many people say that if they want to achieve their goals they can do that by themselves and they don’t need anybody to help them. I disagree with this theory because to succeed we need someone that can guide us in difficult situations and help us to understand challenges and how to overcome them. Blaire, a beautiful woman who moved to Boston this year has helped me a lot this year. She is my Biology and History tutor. I was having a hard time in my bio class but with her help I passed the class with a good grade. Not only did I pass the class, I also understand the material. While, she helped me academically we also learned a lot of things about each other. A graduate from the University of Chicago, Blaire is really smart. She has inspired me while I got to know her. The fact that she just finished with college and is going to get her PHD degree sure is a smart decision but not everybody has the courage to try to do this. She made me think about how nothing is ever enough, after achieving one goal, set another one.


A Letter to City Links Seniors from the Executive Director


Dear City Links Seniors,

A few years ago you embarked on what at the time seemed like the biggest journey one could possibly make. You said goodbye to friends, family, food, language, home. You made a voyage few people in the world ever have to make and it took tremendous courage and resilience. Now, once again, you find yourself back in that same situation, about to depart. You probably have similar feelings about this next chapter – an unsettled feeling in your stomach, inspired by the mix of excitement and anxiety about what’s to come. Once again you’re trading the familiar for the prospect of greater opportunity.

This journey will also be difficult. It will also require courage and resilience. At times it will feel even more challenging than the first. But, once again, you’ll find that you are able to succeed and that the opportunities you set off to pursue will be yours if you’re willing to fight for them. You will discover that the challenges you’ve already overcome have strengthened you and given you a great advantage as you take on new ones.

I’d like to challenge you during this next chapter to take a careful look around you, notice others who are perhaps on their first major voyage, and take a moment to assure them that they too will find their way. Take the strength and confidence you built during your time at CRLS and as a City Links scholar and share it with classmates in need. I guarantee you will find greater strength and success if you make improving the lives of those around you a priority throughout your college experience.

On behalf of the entire CCS team and board, I congratulate you on this major milestone. We are all incredibly proud of you and will continue to be your biggest fans throughout this next exciting chapter of your journey!


Ben Clark
Executive Director



City Links at the Cambridge School Committee Meeting

On March 17th’s Cambridge School Committee meeting, three City Links students stepped up to the mic to let the Mayor of Cambridge know the huge impact our City Links program has made on their lives. View the video of the entire meeting here. To hear our Executive Director speak, cut to the 6 minute mark, and for our students’ testimonies, cut to the 9 minute mark.

A transcription of Reya’s speech can be found here:

 Good evening everyone. My name is Reya Begum. I’m a sophomore at Cambridge Rindge and Latin school. I’m from Bangladesh and I speak Bengali at home. I came to the United States in 2011. My favorite subject in school is Math and Science. I was interested in joining the City Links program because I heard its a really good and helpful program, and I wanted to work because after school I didn’t have anything to do, and sometimes I needed help with some things like my homework that I didn’t understand, and this program has one-on-one mentoring which really helps me a lot. It also has academic tutoring, job readiness training, community service and a lot more, and it also helps with getting a college degree, and working and learning is better than just working and this program has both. Another good thing about this program is that it has community service which is kind of important for me and the students in CRLS  because we need 20 hours of community service for graduation and I need 30 hours of community service hours to become a National Honors Society member and I already have 20 hours. I just need 10 more hours. One thing that I’m really proud of is my reading outside of school because I really like to read but I didn’t know what books I should read or what books will be good for me and my mentor helped me choose the books that I should read and now I read at least 30 minutes everyday. I want to go to Harvard and all this community service and jobs will help me a lot with my resume. I want to become a pediatrician when I grow up. In order to become a pediatrician I have to finish high school then 4 years of college and 4 years of medical school and 3 years of general pediatric training in hospitals and other places. It is important to me that City Links continue growing because there are other students like me who need more help with their education and stuff and they want to be in this program. City Links helps students a lot and there are a lot of student who are in need of help. Thank you for your consideration.

Tutor Responses: Mary

CCS asked some of our volunteer tutors a few questions about their tutees and their overall experience. Here is what they had to say:

CCS: What was one highlight of tutoring last semester? 

Mary: The main highlight for me was seeing (my tutee) Pauline’s confidence in the subject grow. She moved from being timid and shy about what she knew to being self-reliant and assured that she was correct. I was consistently impressed by her growth and motivation.

CCS: What did your student accomplish that you both felt really good about?

Mary: We both felt really great about Pauline’s ability to tackle difficult problem. We consistently focused on solving a problem in multiple ways to check her work. Seeing her intuition grow was really encouraging and exciting for both of us.


Tutor Responses: Alex

CCS asked some of our volunteer tutors a few questions about their tutees and their overall experience. Here is what they had to say:

CCS: What was one highlight of tutoring last semester? 

Alex: Towards the end of last semester, Jashim gave me a copy of his “autobiography” assignment he wrote for English class. He wrote about his experience moving from Bangladesh to America and the challenges of learning English. I appreciated his willingness to open up to me about his life and I learned a lot about him through what he had written.

CCS: What did your student accomplish that you both felt really good about?

Alex: Jashim has become much more confident in testing out new words. In our first few meetings he was nervous in writing his history essays that involved new (and sometimes fairly complicated) vocabulary. Towards the end of the semester, he was much more willing to try out new sentences and write about more abstract ideas.

Sharing Stories: ELL students become English Language Authors

Sandra Cisneros’s (2012) concept of button boxes frames the writing project. Grandmothers, she says, saved buttons of every color, shape, and size, knowing that a garment would one day need just the right one. As a writer, Cisneros does the same. She saves small pieces, sketches, and vignettes and culls through them to add to a larger piece when she feels something is missing.”

In an article written for Student Voices, friend of CCS and B/ELA (Bilingual/English Language Acquisition program) teacher, David Mish, shares how he was able to guide his students into producing a book which explores their own identities.

Read the article as a PDF here: Sharing Stories ELL students become English Language Authors.