Creating Opportunity  |  Strengthening Community  |  Improving Lives
March 2019  
A message from the Executive Director
As we are now well into 2019, I've been thinking a lot about JAS's success in building bridges to opportunities for all members of our community, and how proud I am to be a part of this meaningful mission. JAS is a strong, vibrant, engaged part of this community and, over the 50 years of its history, has continued to transition and adapt to the needs of our neighbors, friends, and community partners. Change can be challenging, but it is an inevitable force that drives progress, growth, and opportunity.
2019 wi ll bring another change for JAS, as  I will be retiring  this summer Just-A-Start's Board of Directors has selected Carl Nagy-Koechlin as the next Executive Director. Carl has been the Executive Director of Housing Solutions for Southeastern MA for the past 10 years and was the ED of Fenway CDC prior to that. He brings a very strong background in housing, community development and workforce training, and a passionate commitment to community engagement. Carl will begin full time on July 22 and will be spending some days with JAS prior to that for orientation.
I am extremely happy that JAS has been able to attract a talented and experienced leader to guide the organization forward, and I feel confident that all of JAS's dedicated stakeholders will find him a valuable and productive partner.  
We will keep you all updated as the transition moves forward. More details will be forthcoming about a "Next Adventure" party (not calling it retirement!) this summer, and I look forward to sharing those with you.

Deborah Ruhe
Executive Director

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Just-A-Start Names Carl Nagy-Koechlin As Next Executive Director
Just-A-Start announced that Carl Nagy-Koechlin has been named the organization's next Executive Director. Carl, who currently serves as Executive Director for Housing Solutions for Southeastern Massachusetts, will succeed Deborah Ruhe, who has led Just-A-Start for the past 5 years. Deborah will step down in July, when Carl transitions to become the full-time Executive Director. Click here for more information.
YouthBuild Students in the Cambridge Chronicle
Just-A-Start was recently featured in the Cambridge Chronicle  (link here) and the accompanying photo gallery  (link here) illustrates YouthBuild's progress on the home renovation at 152 Fifth Street. In a collaboration between YouthBuild and JAS's Real Estate Department, students are developing their carpentry skills through hands-on renovations to the home as JAS prepares to sell it to a new family through the City of Cambridge's Affordable Homeownership program. Check out their progress tiling the bathroom, painting the kitchen, and more!
Grantee Leader Spotlight
ECMC Foundation, a leading funder of the IT Careers Program, recently profiled Just - A - Start in a Grantee  Leader Spotlight . Gina Plata, Director of Education & Training, discusses lessons learned from  her own career path and details the program's commitment to breaking the cycle of poverty through  access to education. T hank you, ECMC Foundation, for your outstanding partnership! Click here to read the Grantee Leader Spotlight.
Construction Progress on 50 York Street

After the fire that devastated 50 York Street in December 2016, JAS was determined to rebuild and return residents to their homes as quickly as possible. Just over two years later, a new building is standing and is nearly ready to welcome residents back. The new property at 50 York Street will be home to 16 families, with modern, comfortable, and energy efficient units. An original stained glass window from St. Patrick's Church has been installed and hangs proudly over the building's entrance. If you are in East Cambridge, stop by to view the site for yourself.
A New Year, and New Students!
   Classes are now well underway for students in the Biomedical and Information Technology Careers Program's Class of 2019. Students study five days a week for nine months as they train for careers in the life sciences and IT industries. JAS is proud to welcome a driven and diverse group of adult learners into its Class of 2019! Do you work in these industries, or know someone who does? Please connect with Miriam Ortiz, Director of Workforce Development ( miriamortiz@justastart.org ), for more information about visiting a class as a guest speaker, providing a tour of your workplace, or hiring our graduates. We'd love to have you join us!
2019 Events Preview

Events at Just-A-Start didn't conclude with the 50th anniversary! JAS looks forward to inviting you to learn, celebrate, and grow with us throughout 2019. You'll be able to join us for the ribbon-cutting celebration at 50 York Street, a groundbreaking ceremony to launch the construction phase of our Squirrelwood project in the Port, graduations for all of our training programs, and more! Stay tuned to future newsletters and emails with dates as these events develop.