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Color Magazine profiles CEO Milly Arbaje-Thomas

METCO’s CEO spoke with Juri Love of Color Magazine about how her life experience influences METCO’s evolving vision. Milly Arbaje-Thomas immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic as a child, and watched her mother overcome the language barrier and work tirelessly to put Milly through Catholic School in Lynn, Massachusetts. Now, she shares that dedication to her children’s education with the thousands of other METCO parents: her two children attend school in Brookline through METCO.

Milly draws on a range of her life experiences to connect with METCO’s mission:

As a Dominican immigrant with Lebanese roots, married to a Black and Filipino man, I hope to never forget the cultural richness that I personally bring to this job. And most importantly, I hope [to continue] opening doors and bringing opportunity to others.

Taking on the leadership role in METCO wasn’t an easy choice, amid personal and health challenges. But, as she tells Color Magazine, the vision was too meaningful to pass up:

A few years ago, while I went through cancer treatment, I told myself I would only [resume] working full-time if my job was meaningful and had a significant impact across the Commonwealth and beyond. METCO is exactly that! It’s not every day that one can work for a program that creates educational opportunity for students of color from urban neighborhoods and helps to close the achievement gap, [while] fighting racism.

Read her whole interview with Color Magazine here.

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“But how much better can we be?”

The Boston Globe’s Meghan E. Irons profiled incoming METCO CEO Milly Arbaje-Thomas, stressing the widened social impact that she hopes will define her vision for the organization’s next 50 years. Following the retirement of 43-year executive director Jean Maguire in 2016, the Board of Directors selected Arbaje-Thomas to help METCO become a “more mature and dynamic organization,” according to Board President Charles E. Walker, Jr.

“I don’t want to [just] place students in the [suburban] districts,” she tells Irons. “I want to have relationships with the districts. I want to be that voice for the children. I see METCO, Inc. as a center of gravity for the work that is happening in the districts.”

Her ambitious fundraising aspirations, which will be abetted by a newly assembled Board and Boston-area institutions that are already filling up her calendar with meetings, will allow the small administrative staff to expand in effectiveness and ambition.

“We’ve come this far,” she says. “We’ve made progress. But how much better can we be?”

Read the whole profile here.