February 2020
A Message from the Executive Director - JAS's 2020 Vision

Here we are just a few weeks into 2020 and we are already chalking up accomplishments. On January 7th alone we achieved a year's worth of milestones! In the morning we welcomed the newest cohort of the Information Technology (IT) Careers Program with 14 participants. Along with the Biomedical cohort we launched a few days earlier and another IT training that is now midway through, we are currently preparing 49 adult learners for jobs in these growing sectors - the most JAS has ever trained at one time. After lunch that same day, we closed on the acquisition of a 1-acre parcel at 52 New Street near Danehy Park in North Cambridge, with financing from the City of Cambridge. Our plans are still preliminary, but we aim to build an attractive and environmentally sustainable affordable housing development so that more residents have a secure place to call home.   


Not every day will be as eventful as January 7, but 2020 is already shaping up to be a banner year for JAS. In addition to launching a new economic mobility program, completing affordable housing developments, graduating YouthBuild and adult training classes, helping tenants and homeowners to remain stably housed, and kicking off a capital campaign, we will also begin an organizational rebrand. This initiative, along with some important internal processes, will be aimed at making JAS more inclusive, diverse, sustainable, and better integrated. We look forward to sharing updates with you throughout the year.

Thank you for your support, each and every day. Off we go!

In Case You Missed It - 30 Seconds of JAS
Are you new to Just-A-Start? Need a refresher on our many programs and services? This short video just might surprise you!

30 Seconds of Just-A-Start

Biomedical and IT Students Begin Their New Career Paths

In a Just-A-Start first, JAS is now running three cohorts of students simultaneously! 49 students are busy working towards their new careers -- one IT class began in September 2019 and the additional Biomedical and IT classes kicked off in January. Through a partnership with MIT's Job Connector, JAS was able to expand its classroom space and enroll even more students.
Can you recommend a terrific organization that would benefit from our graduates' talent? Let us know! Korynn Stoyanoff, Manager of Workforce Development, is ready to help connect local companies with the employees they need.
Mediation: A Morning at Court

Every week, JAS's mediators work in courts around Greater Boston. In many places around the state, Thursday mornings are the time that District Courts hear eviction cases. On a recent Thursday morning, the JAS mediators facilitated seven resolutions! Although every case is different, the mediators are determined to bring more civility and dignity to a difficult time in people's lives.

-          Chelsea District Court: Elizabeth Winston held five mediations in a row, providing a neutral space for give and take between Chelsea and Revere landlords and tenants. In each case, mediation provided a context for debt forgiveness or payment plans, as property owners were able to understand the financial challenges that their tenants were facing.
-          Malden District Court: Gerry Zipser mediated a no-fault eviction case, with the assistance of an interpreter, for tenants who spoke Hindi. The landlord needed the apartment for his own family, and although the elderly tenants had been proactive and were already on the waitlist for public housing, they had to stay through an eviction proceeding so that they would be moved to the top of the list and avoid homelessness.
-          Cambridge District Court: Tessa Byer was asked to step in when none of this court's usual mediators were present. Through a challenging mediation that began with a request for a six-figure settlement and yelling that could be heard in the adjacent courtroom, the process ended with calm handshakes and a clear path for the tenant to find alternate housing.

Join us for Free Tax Preparation
Did you know that JAS offers free, VITA-certified tax preparation for anyone earning $56,000 or less? All are welcome to JAS's mobile tax site at 402 Rindge Avenue. Click here for more information.
Capital One Supports JAS's Half-Marathon Team
In November 2019, 6 individuals ran the Cambridge Half Marathon while fundraising for YB Cares, a flexible fund that provides financial assistance to JAS YouthBuild students in need. The Capital One CafĂ© at Assembly Row generously hosted a yoga class and matched the JAS runner's donations, resulting in a total of  $5,895 raised for YB Cares!
Graduate Story: Sophia Mothersil