INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS at the YMCA at VT
The YMCA has been an active member of our community since 1873. We recognize that our town hosts a unique community that includes many internationals from around the globe. We strive to serve all its valued members. One of our long running programs is the International Women’s Group where newcomers and longtime residents meet weekly on Tuesdays to foster friendships while engaging in different interesting activities.
Bringing together Internationals and Americans to welcome and integrate Internationals into the community while providing a comfortable venue for cross cultural friendship, information, education, support, and service.
Read about our 2022 Recognition of 3 International Women in this ROANOKE TIMES STORY
A YEAR IN REVIEW
The International Program continues to grow and build on last year's achievements. Here are some highlights of what the program accomplished in 2022 and what will be offered this year:
Rural Welcoming Initiative 2023: The YMCA at VT has been selected for the second year to be a member of the Rural Welcoming Initiative Cohort, an initiative of Welcoming America to make our community a welcoming place for all. This opportunity provides the Y with technical assistance and guidance in achieving its Welcoming Initiative goals of: creating a welcoming infrastructure, a welcoming economy and deepening community connections.
International Women's Group: The group offers newcomer and immigrant women the space for creating community through cultural exchange, introduction to life in the US and engagement with the broader community.
International Women's Day: In March of last year the Y recognized for the second year three immigrant women from the community to highlight their leadership and service and also celebrated Women's History Month by remembering the life of Lucy Lee Lancaster. roanoke.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/y-at-vt-recognizes-three-international-women/article_
Welcoming Refugees: The Y partnered with the Blacksburg Refugee Partnership to sponsor an Iftar event for the refugee families. The event drew 120 people including the American friends and helpers of the refugee families. The Y also sponsored a Thanksgiving dinner event for the same group.
In addition, the Y hosted a 2 month long full-day summer program for youth to provide enrichment and academic activities for elementary age children.
Welcoming Week in September: The Y participated for the second year in Welcoming Week and added more events, such as Y Welcoming Tour for newcomers, a youth art exhibit and contest in partnership with MFRL Blacksburg Library and the Blacksburg Regional Art Association. A Welcoming Festival in partnership with the Town of Blacksburg a was big success this year drawing a large crowd of over 750 people.
COMING IN 2023
Welcome Center: The Y began the planning work on a welcoming center. Even though the center is a long term project and still in its formative stage, the Y already began offering some programs/services that would be offered through the center after its completion. Some of the current and future programs are:
English Conversation Class: In partnership with the Literacy Volunteers of the New River Valley, the Y started offering English conversation for beginners. It will continue to offer the class in 2023 and add a conversation partners program for the intermediate and advanced English learners.
Health Literacy: In partnership with the Literacy Volunteers of the New River Valley the Y will be offering in 2023 for non-asp health literacy class for on-native speakers to learn how to navigate the health system.
Job Readiness Workshops: The Y is planning on delivering a culturally relevant series of workshops to help newcomers and immigrants seeking employment to be ready for working in the US. Participants will receive individualized assistance in resume writing, job searching and interviewing skills.
Natural Helpers: The Y will be participating in the program in 2023. This initiative will build its capacity in organizing and training immigrant members of our community to become community navigators helping newcomers.
We owe our success to the dedication of volunteers and community to help us continue to build on this past year, and grow the impactful programming described above as we enter our 150th year.
Thank you for your continued support for the Y!