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 in September 2019 (dates TBD) 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.
YMCA branches will host Welcoming Day opening doors with free admission (date TBD). 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.
“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.