Welcoming Week brings together people across lines of difference toward greater prosperity for all.

Welcoming Week this year is recognized from September 10 – 19 and it’s an initiative that allows us to reflect on why it is important to welcome neighbors of all backgrounds into our community. Since 2012, Welcoming Week has served as the annual campaign and celebration to showcase the growing movement of communities striving to be more welcoming places for all, including immigrants. By fostering mutual respect and cooperation between new and long-time residents, Welcoming Week brings together people across lines of difference toward greater prosperity for all.

Did you know the following facts?

  • More than 13 percent of the U.S population (or 40 million people) is foreign-born. The combined population share of foreign-born individuals and their U.S.-born children is approximately 26 percent.
  • In the U.S., one in four kids under the age of six is a child of immigrants.
  • According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are approximately 19.5 million refugees in the world. Fifty-one percent of all refugees are children under the age of 18.

By bringing more awareness to others about the ethnic makeup of our cities, states and countries, we can do a better job of embracing our unique cultures and using our differences to be stronger and inclusive.

Welcoming Week Activities at the Y for kiddos and adults

Below are a few potential Play & Learn activities you may find at some of our Y Centers during Welcoming Week.

  • Storybooks and movies about the immigrant experience
  • Coloring sheets
  • World Map activities
  • Photo sharing on our bulletin boards with questions of the day like:
    • What does “belonging” mean to you?
    • What’s your favorite family tradition?
    • What are ways to build bridges within the community?
  • Activity challenges like saying hello in a different language, supporting immigrant-owned businesses or sharing a story on social media

The Y is a place for everyone and Welcoming Week is about celebrating diversity and acknowledging the invaluable contributions that immigrants make to their communities and the country as a whole. But above all, Welcoming Week serves as a reminder and an opportunity. It’s a reminder that immigrants are human beings with real faces—real friends and families that deserve visibility and all of the rights and privileges that humanness should imply—and an opportunity to discover, connect with and know some amazing people who may live right around the corner. Strangers remain strangers only if we let them. Let’s take full advantage of the opportunities that Welcoming Week provides and make a new friend today.

Local Resources

Immigrant Welcoming Center

Exodus Refugee

Indiana Historic Society

Welcoming Week Personal Training Newsletter Signup