December 2020
A Message from the Executive Director - Year-End Reflections
 
In so many ways, 2020 has been about the hardest year anyone could imagine. The pandemic affected us all, and its disparate impact on low-income communities and people of color highlighted the inequity baked into America's systems. High-profile racist violence further exposed systemic racism. And these crises were met by a wholly inadequate, and worse yet, callous, national response.
 
But there was a silver lining of resilience and resistance inside this very dark cloud. In particular, neighbors, businesses, and local officials responded to these challenges with humanity and generosity. I'm proud that Just-A-Start was among those who stepped up to be "part of the solution" by continuing to deliver our critical services safely, responding to the emerging needs of local residents, including preventing evictions, and deepening our commitment to equity and racial justice through our work and operations.
 
You all - our partners, funders, tenants, students, and participants - expected nothing less of us and backed that up with your generous support and partnership, putting us in the strongest possible position to be effective through the pandemic. And now, with a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, that support sets us up to advance our shared vision for a strong and diverse community in 2021, including the development of 250 affordable homes, new space to expand our Financial Opportunity program, and partnerships with local communities to promote stable housing.
 
So, as we prepare to leave 2020 behind, let's also remember the seeds we planted together.



     Carl Nagy-Koechlin, Executive Director
Celebrating Generosity on Giving Tuesday


Thank you to everyone who supported Just-A-Start on Giving Tuesday by contributing your time and resources! Community members spread the word about Just-A-Start online, supported students with school supply kits, and donated to fuel our work heading into a new year.
 
We're grateful to welcome first-time donors into our community alongside donors who have held Just-A-Start's mission close to their hearts for many years. Every act of generosity strengthens this community, and we thank you.
Graduates at Work: Eden Embaye

After their graduations in June and September, Biomedical and IT Careers Program alumni began new positions at a wide variety of life sciences and tech companies across the Metro North. 

Here, Eden Embaye, IT Careers Program 2020 graduate, shares updates from her role at Toast Inc. as a Hardware Operations Technician.
 
 What do you like most about your current role?
                  
I like the fact that I'm getting a hands-on experience and new skills on a wide range of devices.
 
What was the most helpful or useful part of the program that prepared you for this role?
               
At Just-A-Start not only did I learn technical skills that I'm currently applying on my job but also communication skills, time management, and teamwork skills.
 
What are you looking forward to in your career (a year or two from now)?
 
I hope to be a networking engineer and to pursue my dreams. I'm currently taking networking courses with the guidance that I got from my JAS teachers.
Renovations Renew the George Close Building

We recently completed significant preservation and construction on the George Close Building, which is home to 61 households in mid-Cambridge. Renovations on the building included window replacements, a complete common area upgrade, and apartment safety and accessibility improvements. We're proud to create high-quality, energy-efficient, and affordable housing in Cambridge - take a peek into the updated building and see for yourself!
Nominate Just-A-Start as Your Favorite Local Nonprofit!

Thank you to our supporters who have nominated Just-A-Start as a favorite local nonprofit. Here's what one Arlington resident had to say:
 
"Just-A-Start's mission is to promote equity by creating access to stable housing and building pathways to economic opportunity. They make a difference every day in the lives of low-income residents in Cambridge and surrounding communities. During this challenging year in particular, they are ensuring their residents, students, and program participants have the resources they need to stay in their homes and keep food on their tables."
 
Didn't get a chance to nominate us yet? There's still time! Let local media know what Just-A-Start means to you here.