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Welcoming Week

This Welcoming Week (September 9-18) the Keene Family YMCA will join Welcoming America, other YMCAs, and organizations nationwide to celebrate immigrants contributions to communities by bringing together all residents in a spirit of unity.

Belonging Begins with Us

Each year, Welcoming Week elevates the growing movement of communities that fully embrace new Americans and their contributions to the social fabric of our country. The event is an opportunity for neighbors-both immigrants and U.S.-born residents-to get to know one another and celebrate what unites people as a community.

At the Keene Family YMCA, we believe we are stronger when everyone in the community feels welcome. We are proud to be a part of Welcoming Week and look forward to celebrating with a series of events that will showcase the rich diversity of our community and promote a sense of belonging for all. 

The Need for Welcoming Week

With more than 44 million foreign-born individuals currently living in the U.S.-more than at any other point in history-it is imperative for the well-being of our communities that all neighbors have opportunities to engage, build mutual understanding and work together to create a better society for all.

The Y is committed to helping individuals, including newcomers, access the support and resources needed to reach their full potential. We believe that communities are at their strongest when everyone has an opportunity to contribute and work together on a shared vision for the future. 

Welcoming Week presents a unique opportunity for communities to come together and get to know each other a bit better-an important step in developing the support networks and connections we all need to thrive.

The Y's History of Serving Immigrants

Did you know that the Y has a long history of helping immigrants integrate into their new neighborhoods? And preparing communities to be more inclusive and welcoming to new Americans.

  • In 1856 The Y was the first organization in the U.S. to offer English as a Second Language classes to immigrants.
  • In the late 1800s YMCA immigration secretaries greeted hundreds of thousands of new arrivals at Ellis Island (New York) and Angel Island (San Francisco), helping them locate family members, housing and employment.
  • In the early 1900s the YMCA of Greater New York introduced adult night classes to new immigrants.

As the U.S. population moved westward, Ys provided affordable housing to immigrating and migrating communities. 

Welcoming Week Events

This Welcoming Week we’ve got some wonderful opportunities in store for our neighbors and friends to come together to celebrate our diversity, and the common threads that unite us as a community. 

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2022 – 5:30-7:30PM
Community Gathering & Potluck

Sample the flavors of our collective cultures as we kickoff Welcoming Week with a community gathering at the Y. Some YMCA staff and members will share a dish representative of their cultural heritage (including some amazing Jamaican food from our own Gail Somers’ restaurant Yahso Jamaican Grille!) It isn’t required, but attendees are welcome to bring along a dish to share. We’ll also be kicking off our community art project!

SEPTEMBER 10-18, 2022 – during regular business hours
Community Art Project

Throughout the week YMCA members and guests are invited to contribute to our community art project. The project will be set up in our lobby and art supplies will be available anytime the YMCA is open during Welcoming Week. Be sure to check it out!

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2022 – 4-7pm
Book Exhibition

Gail Somers, the Keene Family YMCA’s Director of Development & Community Impact will be sharing some of her favorite stories from around the world.

Interested in Participating?

As we’re planning our celebration, we’re looking for community members who may be interested in participating in our Welcoming Week events by sharing elements of their culture during either our International Potluck & Community Gathering, or during the 8 Days Around the World tabling event. If you’d like to learn more, please submit your contact information below and we’ll reach out ASAP. Thank you!

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