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Success Stories

Erinna Family






Left to right: Ariana Erinna, Ramon Erinna, and Javier Erinna

Military Family

Ramon Erinna enlisted early to serve his country – little did he know that in doing so, he would sacrifice a chance at a four year scholarship to a prestigious university in the Boston area.    An honors student at Cambridge High and Latin School, he was also an outstanding soccer player recognized with “All Eastern Mass” which drew the attention of scouts and area schools.

It was the Vietnam War era and Ramon was inspired by this national movement that led him to military service.   An immigrant from Panama, “We have to be innovative when we come as immigrants from other countries,” said Mr. Erinna.  Ramon went on to train at Fort Leonard Wood, MO, and served at Fort Stewart, GA and Schofield Barracks, HI during his three years with the Army Corps of Engineers and then 3 years as an inactive reservist.

Mr. Erinna is raising an Army... Read More

Elena Rodriguez and Mayor Dan Rivera of Lawrence

According to the 2010 Census, the City of Lawrence is home to the largest percentage (73.8%) of Hispanic and Latino communities in the Commonwealth. Moreover, the largest community represented in Lawrence is the Dominican Republic population (30,243); which happens to have the third largest concentration of Dominicans in the world – following the Dominican Republic and the Washington Heights community in New York City. 

One of the biggest challenges facing New Americans as they immigrate to cities such as Lawrence has been the language barrier.  Accessing services and programs to integrate in a new country can be extremely difficult without being able to understand information in your native language.  That’s why the City of Lawrence has been benefitting from innovative programs that are providing Spanish-language services to meet the accessibility needs of New Americans.  

A mother of two children, Elena Rodriguez came to the United States in 2013 with mostly her... Read More

Sweet Grace Heavenly Cakes

When Danaris Mazara came to America at the age of 22, all she had was a suitcase and a spirit full of dreams.  Sponsored by her brother already in the states - she lived in the attic of his home for a year before getting married and starting her own family.

The process of getting assimilated to life in a new country wasn’t easy; she was only able to find low wage jobs, working at Walmart - when a blessing in disguise changed her life.  In 2008, her husband was laid off from the Haverhill Paperboard, a local manufacturer in operation for over a century that cost the region 174 jobs.  Her minimum wage paycheck wasn’t nearly enough to pay all the bills and cover all the needs of her young family – even facing foreclosure. It was a financial struggle that got her to the point where her mother gave her $35 to buy groceries for the family because of their situation.  Instead of buying food, she bought ingredients to make Flan, a popular Dominican dessert that she intended to sell... Read More

Holly Daniels Christensen

Born at her kitchen table in 2007, Holly Daniels Christensen took Dune Jewelry from a sole proprietor to a thriving small business that has created over 30 jobs - employing sand artists, jewelry-makers, packagers, marketing, and sales associates all across the country.

Dune Jewelry uses sand from thousands of locations around the world to create handmade bracelets, cuff links, necklaces, earrings and other keepsakes.  Using a unique and patented manufacturing process, Dune Jewelry captures special beach memories for you to cherish in the form of custom jewelry.

As Holly started making beach sand jewelry for friends and family, she learned that nearly everyone she knew had a special memory or an emotional attachment to beaches all over the world. “I’ve had customers tell me time and time again, that the recipient of our jewelry cried when they opened the box because it brought back such intense memories,” shared Holly.

In 2012, when Holly realized the potential... Read More