First Coast YMCA Celebrates New Americans During Welcoming Week

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Sept. 12, 2019 —This Welcoming Week, taking place September 13-22, the First Coast YMCA will join Welcoming America and hundreds of YMCAs and other organizations nationwide in hosting events to celebrate immigrants’ contributions to communities and bring together all residents in a spirit of unity. Welcoming Week activities are open to the public and include food trucks, youth games, face painting, community resources, entertainment and more.

“At the First Coast YMCA, we believe our community is stronger when everyone feels welcome and we can all work together for the common good,” said YMCA of Florida’s First Coast President and CEO Eric K. Mann. “We are proud to be a part of Welcoming Week, an opportunity for neighbors—both immigrants and U.S.-born—to get to know one another and celebrate what unites us as a community.” 

During Welcoming Week, First Coast YMCA branches, including the duPont Family YMCA New American Welcome Center, will host a series of events as an opportunity for neighbors to get to know neighbors. Individuals across the First Coast can check with their local branches for their schedule of celebration activities. 

“These events are part of a powerful and growing movement in our country and around the world, demonstrating that communities want to be welcoming,” said Rachel Peric, Executive Director of Welcoming America. “Welcoming Week is a reminder of the resilient and inclusive spirit of American communities. Thousands of local leaders nationwide are bringing their communities together to bridge divides and build stronger local economies where everyone belongs.”   

The duPont Family YMCA’s New American Welcome Center is a permanent location in the Jacksonville community where new neighbors – immigrants and refugees – can seek friendship and resources year-round. The center has already begun its own group called “One Heart Jax,”  a women’s artisan cooperative that supports refugee women by fostering economic independence and social integration in the area.

To learn more about the First Coast YMCA’s New American Welcome Center, please call Amber Dodge, Senior Program Coordinator, at (904)731-2006. 

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About the Y

For more than 110 years, the First Coast YMCA has been providing men, women and children of all ages, and from all walks of life, opportunities to build stronger bonds, live healthy and become more engaged with their communities. Learn more: www.fcymca.org.

About Welcoming Week

Welcoming Week, founded by Welcoming America, is an annual celebration bringing together thousands of people and hundreds of local events that celebrate the contributions of immigrants and refugees and the role communities play to foster greater welcome. Welcoming Week is Sept. 13-22 across the country and now expanding to other parts of the world. 

About Welcoming America

Welcoming America is leading a movement of inclusive communities becoming more prosperous by making everyone who lives there feel like they belong. Welcoming America believes that all people, including immigrants, are valued contributors and vital to the success of both our communities and our shared future. www.welcomingamerica.org. 

Mission Statement: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.