Author: Jeewon Kim
Make a Difference in the New Year
| December 30, 2010 | 6:19 pm | Uncategorized | No comments

Happy Holidays and best wishes in the New Year to one and all!

During this season of charity and reflection, consider a contribution to The Welcome Project’s support of immigrants in Somerville. Re-posted from

Dear Friend of The Welcome Project,

You”ll see a lot of “best of” lists this week.

At The Welcome Project, we”ve compiled our own list. Times remain tough for immigrant families, but with your support we accomplished a lot in 2010. We”ve chosen 5 highlights from our work this year. Do you agree?

If you believe in the work we”re doing, I”m asking you to help with a year end contribution to support our work in 2011. If you have already made a donation as part of our annual appeal, THANK YOU for your support. Otherwise, please consider making your donation now. Believe me, individual donations make a tremendous difference in our work with immigrant families in this city.
Here are just five of our highlights from 2010:

  • Youth lead for DREAM Act resolution. “My dream is to reach my full potential through education; I want you to feel my desperation for not being able to do what I want to do,” testified Gabriel, 18, to the Somerville School Committee.Youth from The Welcome Project and Centro Presente worked together on a campaign to gain local support for The DREAM Act, federal legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented youth who have lived in the US for many years, have no criminal record, and attend college or join the military. Their personal stories and compelling testimony led to unanimous votes of support of resolutions by the Somerville School Committee and Somerville Board of Aldermen.

Read some of the youth testimony in our story, Youth Victory: DREAM Act passes school committee.

  • Parents step up to schools challenge. Children look to their parents for guidance and support in schools. But immigrant parents face many barriers to navigating the US educational system. To help immigrant parents and youth more effectively engage in their education, we started an innovative new ESOL class called “Helping Your Children in School.” The parents, all Limited English Speakers, learned to read the new report cards, practiced making calls to teachers and to administrators to ask for tutors, and made a presentation — in English — to school and city officials at the December SomerPromise meeting (in photo). We also helped the parents form a Parents Group, to have a more direct voice in the schools.

Read more about the class in “Expanded ESOL Classes Help Students Connect.”

  • Youth LIPS speak across cultures. “There”s a power to being bilingual, and you”re here to share your power and learn how to use your power,” Zarita Araujo-Lane told the 18 bilingual high school students in our 2010 Liaison Interpreters Program of Somerville (LIPS). Zarita, president and owner of a professional interpreter training company, led several weeks of training to help our students take their interpreting skills out of their homes and into the community. To participate in LIPS, youth must be fluent speakers in English and their home language.
    • This year”s group includes Spanish, Haitian Kreyol, Portuguese, and Nepali speakers.
    • This fall, our LIPS youth have interpreted at an immigrant health fair and flu clinic, at a meeting to envision and plan the new Green Line, at meetings of the Mystic Tenants” Association, and at PTA meetings for parents.

Learn more about our LIPS program, our trainers, and the youth in the story, “Youth Use Their Bilingual Skills to Empower Community.”

  • First Generation to College. No matter how good your grades, when your parents are new to the US educational system it can be a challenge to know how to navigate the college application process.This fall, we strengthened our First Generation program with workshops on essay writing, completing college applications, and got direct help from Tufts students, including a visit and tour of Tufts University (in photo). Six of the seven June high school graduates from our LIPS program enrolled in college this fall, including Kathleen Portillo, who received a prestigious Posse Scholarship to attend Union College.

Read the Boston Globe story, “Finding the Power of Words” featuring Kathleen Portillo, LIPS graduate and winner of a Posse Scholarship.

  • English classes keep growing.Whenever I read a rant in theSomerville Journal’s SpeakOut about “how immigrants don”t want to learn English,” it makes my blood boil. There are 2-year waiting lists for immigrant adults hungry to learn English. Because we hate waiting lists, we keep expanding our program. This fall, we nearly doubled our size again — with 140 people registering for seven classes! Through partnerships with the Elizabeth Peabody House and the Somerville Public schools, and very dedicated staff and volunteers, we”re now in three locations, and our four morning classes (including the Helping Your Children in School class above) have child care provided for parents.

Read more about our ESOL class, “Expanded ESOL Program Helps Students Connect”

Honorable mentions: The YUM Restaurant Card and FundraiserMystic Kids Garden, the production of “They Don”t Tell You Anything” part of the Exposed at Work project, a key role in the LiveWell project, and many others.

You can help build the “Best of 2011” list with The Welcome Project by making your year-end donation now.

Click on the “Donate Now” button to make your year-end contribution now to help The Welcome Project provide essential support to immigrant families in Somerville. If you”d prefer to donate by check, see below.

Give Now to Support The Welcome ProjectThank you for all you have done to support immigrant families in this city and across the country. I know that by working on the ground locally, we are making a difference in the lives of families here and sending a message to others across our state and country about basic human rights and the need to treat everyone with dignity and respect.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!


Warren Goldstein-Gelb
Executive Director

P.S. To make your tax deductible contribution, please take five minutes now and help by clicking on the link above and helping with whatever contribution you can. Or send a check to:

The Welcome Project
530 Mystic Ave., #111
Somerville, MA 02145

P.P.S. Please forward this message to others who you think would like to help us raise these much-needed funds.

Got Kimchi?
| November 4, 2010 | 11:58 pm | Uncategorized | No comments

For those of you out there who are woefully unexposed to the joys of Korean cuisine, Buk Kyung restaurant of Union Square does a great job of describing some of its unique allure:

“First off: what exactly does “Buk Kyung” mean? The oft-mispronounced moniker — the -uk in “Buk” contains a long oo sound — translates to “Beijing” in Korean. This name signifies the Chinese influenced dishes Buk Kyung specializes in, and is renowned for. Many of our patrons come to our restaurant knowing what they are going to order in advance, and there is rarely an order without “the big 4”. The unsuspecting diners that wander in soon become acquainted with these dishes in a matter of minutes as they see servers delivering plate after plate and bowl after bowl of similar courses to nearby tables.

Which leads us to the next inquiry: what are those dishes? The four in question are the Tangsuyook, Ganpoongki, Jajangmyun, and Jambong. The former two dishes are meant to be community dishes and are presented in large platters comprised of deep fried pork, beef, chicken, or shrimp bites and smothered in either a tangy, sweet & sour sauce or a sweet, spicy one.



The latter two are noodle dishes: Jajangmyun is known for its sauce – a hearty mixture of ground black beans, potatoes, zucchinis, and pork. Jambong consists of a brimming bowl of mildly spicy and hot broth filled with seafood & vegetables. Of the four, the Jajangmyun may be the most acclaimed dish as Buk Kyung is often referred to as a “jajangmyun jib”, or “jajangmyun house”.

For the “Faithful”, our deepest gratitude for your continual support. And for the novices – what are you waiting for? Trying new foods can be daunting, but also an exhilarating and rewarding treat. If daily homemade noodles don’t suffice, then perhaps a quote from The Boston Globe on Jajangmyun will do the trick: Looks like an oil spill, tastes like heaven.””

Getting to know the “LIPS”
| October 5, 2010 | 8:36 pm | Uncategorized | No comments

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.

Jeewon Kim
| September 15, 2010 | 12:19 pm | Uncategorized | No comments
Boston Common, 14 February 2010

Boston Common, 14 February 2010

Hi, my name is Jeewon Kim (A’11). I’m a current resident of Miami, FL by way of Fairfax County, VA where I attended Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Before that, I was born and raised in North Canton, OH (home of the Football Hall of Fame as well as the Hoover Vacuum Company).

My younger sister Jeeyoon  and I are the children of a father who immigrated from Korea in the 70’s and a mother whose roots travel to Finland and Germany by way of the Pennsylvania Dutch. While I haven’t traveled to Korea since I was 6 years old and my Korean vocabulary and pronunciation is pitiful, I have a rice cooker in my off-campus apartment at Tufts and held my 21st birthday party at a noraebang (Korean karaoke) in Allston.

In my time at Tufts, I’ve become extremely involved in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development. I’ve spent my past two spring breaks with the Eliot-Pearson New Orleans Project and Professor Chip Gidney in post-Katrina New Orleans, and yes, they still need our help. Last year I served as a peer leader and organizer for the trip and I look forward to returning in the spring of 2011.

I also work closely with Professor Jayanthi Mistry and her Navigating Across Cultures research lab. Professor Mistry’s scholarship focuses on immigrant youth, and under her guidance, I recently completed a pilot evaluation of youth programming at The Welcome Project (TWP) of Somerville, MA. TWP is a non-profit organization devoted to education and advocacy with Somerville’s vibrant immigrant community. The program that I evaluated was the Liaison Interpreters Program of Somerville (LIPS), one that is actually affiliated with this Urban Borderlands course. I will also be writing a senior honor’s thesis based on my work with the LIPS and I look forward to another full year of collaboration with these impressive youth.

I intend to pursue a career in education research, and my hope is that Urban Borderlands will be a useful addition to my growing toolkit of scholarly inquiry. I look forward to approaching a subject matter that I’m relatively familiar with (Somerville’s immigrant community) through a lens that I’m totally unaccustomed to (anthropology).

Here’s to a great semester!