We’re absolutely in love with the concept of the YMCA’s Welcoming Week, which kicks off an entire month (and a year-round mission) of embracing “new Americans and their contributions to the social fabric of our country. It’s a chance for neighbors— both immigrants and U.S.-born residents—to get to know one another and celebrate what unites us as a community.”
At their site, you’ll find a map to locate local Welcoming Week events from September 15-24th and resources for immigrants through their Immigrant Integration Services.
You can learn about the realities of cultural challenges and how the Y is meeting them. For example, in response to the 2015 statistic that Hispanics were about 50% more likely to die from diabetes or liver disease than whites,1 the YMCA of Greater Charlotte (NC) hired and trained a Spanish Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach to deliver the Y’s Diabetes Prevention program to Spanish-speaking adults.
Besides events at multiple sites, the Y also invites virtual participation as a “Welcomer.” Simply show appreciation to your foreign-born neighbors and post an image on social media using one of their “I’m a Welcomer” signs, and include the hashtags #WelcomingWeek and #YforAll.
It’s a good time to be reminded to extend a hand to all our fellow Americans…and to thank the YMCA for taking such a boots-on-the-ground approach by providing valuable initiatives and services like this.