Who We Are
The Welcome Project builds the collective power of Somerville immigrants to participate in and shape community decisions. We do this through programs that strengthen the capacity of immigrant youth, adults and families to advocate for themselves and influence schools, government, and other institutions.
The Welcome Project is a community-based organization that began in the Mystic Public Housing Development in Somerville, Massachusetts in 1987, following state mandated racial integration of the development.
As new residents were arriving from Haiti, Central America, Viet Nam and other parts of the world, many were victims of discrimination and harassment where they were most vulnerable: at home. The founders of The Welcome Project, a dedicated group of tenants and community members, came together to help support and empower these new residents.
Over the past twenty seven years, The Welcome Project has evolved to work with the immigrant community throughout the city, while continuing to be closely linked with Mystic Housing residents. Our overarching goal since the beginning has been to strengthen Somerville's community life by encouraging equitable access to the city's social and economic resources. In 1987, this goal was specifically linked to supporting the safe integration of the development.
Today, The Welcome Project provides programs for immigrant and lower-income families at the Mystic and throughout Somerville that hone leadership and personal development, provide access to employment and education, help residents to learn English and the nuances of a new culture and engage more fully in the civic life of the city.
- Ben Echevarria, Executive Director
- Gillian Burleson, Adult Education Director
- Maria Landaverde, Youth Programs Coordinator
- César Urrunaga (President)
- Sarah Shugars (Vice President)
- Ivrose Audate
- Laura Brooks
- Tim Groves
- Guadalupe Ojeda
- Susan Ostrander
- Judith Perlstein
- Erica Satin-Hernandez