Welcoming Week at the YMCA

News | Mary Anne Swanstrom | August 13, 2018

Families participating in the English Language Learners program by Madison City enjoyed a potluck meal together featuring food from their cultures at the Hogan Family YMCA in December 2017.

At some time in their lives, everyone has felt like an outsider. At the Y, we believe that when everyone feels valued and can fully participate in society, communities benefit.

The Heart of the Valley YMCA will host Welcoming Week Sept. 14-23, 2018 celebrating newcomers with free multicultural activities at the Hogan Family YMCA in Madison and the Southeast and Downtown YMCAs in Huntsville that are open to the public:

One World, One Community

Members and guests are invited to place a sticker with their names on a big world map at the Y to show where they were born.

Welcoming Day

YMCA branches will host Welcoming Day on Sunday, Sept. 16 opening doors with free admission from noon to 6 p.m. Membership is not required to enjoy classes, swimming pools, the fitness center and gym.

Feast of Flavors

Members and guests are invited to bring samples of family recipes or ethnic dishes to share. Please list all ingredients in the samples so that those with food allergies can sample safely.

Hogan Family YMCA
Friday, Sept. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m.  Contact derry.kearns@ymcahuntsville.org for more information.

Southeast Family YMCA
Wednesday, Sept. 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Contact kelli.phillips@ymcahuntsville.org for more information.

Downtown Express YMCA
Friday, Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Contact raye.carter@ymcahuntsville.org for more information.

“Welcoming Week is an opportunity for neighbors to connect,” said Jerry Courtney, YMCA President. “At Heart of the Valley YMCA, we are inclusive and celebrate diversity. We believe our community is stronger when everyone in the community feels welcome and we can all work together for the common good.”

The YMCA has a long history of helping new Americans integrate into new neighborhoods and preparing communities receiving them to be inclusive.

In 1856, the Y was the first organization in the U.S. to offer English as a Second Language classes. In the late 1800s, YMCA immigration secretaries greeted hundreds of thousands of new arrivals at Ellis Island and Angel Island, helping them locate family members, housing and employment.

Today, the Heart of the Valley YMCA collaborates with Madison City Schools to offer summer academic and language enrichment to young English learners enrolled in school.

The Y continues its mission to offer Y programs and services, as well as a place where all can feel welcome, to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

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