LIPS youth at the Elizabeth Peabody House for an occupational safety event on May 21, 2010. Taken by Jeewon Kim.

Tomorrow afternoon, Urban Borderlands will meet the newest “LIPS” of Somerville High School. That is, the newest members of the Liaison Interpreters Program of Somerville, a youth leadership program run by The Welcome Project. The LIPS are bilingual students fluent in English and at least one other language including but not limited to Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Nepali, Hindi, and Mandarin. The program offers them both paid work and the unusual opportunity to play a very important role in community outreach and the exchange of ideas and information in Somerville. The youth interpret at a broad range of events such as health clinics, parent meetings, FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application trainings, community forums (on topics like the Green Line extension), and many more.

The newest LIPS will serve as practice interview subjects for the Tufts Urban Borderlands crew. While we chat about Somerville and troubleshoot our digital tape recorders in anticipation of our upcoming field interviews, the youth will have the opportunity to ask questions about the college search and admissions process. Many of the youth intend to be the first of their family to attend college. Once the Q&A is over, the LIPS will be invited to informally tour the Tufts campus and enjoy dinner at a dining hall with the Urban Borderlands Jumbos.

Want to know more? Check out the story of LIPS graduate Kathleen Portillo (pictured), who was recently featured in the Boston Globe.