Intercultural Wellness Program
The Intercultural Wellness Program (IWP) is offered by The Welcoming Center to promote community wellness and wellbeing among immigrant communities of Greater Philadelphia. The program is offered to immigrants from very diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds who want to help their community utilize coping mechanisms to overcome the challenges they face, such improving their social and economic integration, learn manage stress, and connect to resources and opportunities.
Schedule: currently, the program meets online twice a week. Some in-person activities are planned depending on approval by the program participants and on COVID-19 guidelines from the City of Philadelphia.
What Participants Learn
- Practical community leadership and organizational skills
- Personal and collective listening skills that lead to new trusting relationships and power
- Team-building and critical thinking competencies
- Understanding the barriers affecting immigrant wellness and how to generate solutions
- Analytical skills to deconstruct the process of American racialization and structural racism that produces deeply felt health disparities
- Speak intermediate level English
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Commitment to supporting immigrant communities
- Ability to attend all training sessions and activities
- Comply with six hours of weekly assignments
- Support evaluation of program outcomes
- Respect for cultural diversity and inclusion
- Full participation in the program
- Respect and promote the mission of The Welcoming Center
“Our instructor was always serious when he told us why it is important to help the immigrant community. And his words in the session sometimes sounded very heavy to me. The more I learned what we needed to do, the more difficult it seemed for me to overcome. It’s actually like a mountain hike, which I don’t do often recently, but every time I hike Mt. Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, I always regret having decided to hike because of the pain I have to get through on the way to the summit. But once I reach the summit, the pleasure is indescribable. Our action project was just like that.”
Akane Kikuchi, Japan
The Intercultural Wellness Program is a hands-on initiative that meets once week over a period of four months. Cohorts of 20-25 participants meet to discuss wellness concepts guided by external experts from various fields of expertise, including immigrant leaders.
The stories program participants hear from the community inform their next steps. Working in small diverse teams, participants move on to organize community events that become hands-on opportunities to put into practice their newly acquired skills and knowledge, but also to bring communities together to learn about innovative solutions to wellness and integration barriers.
Featured Action Projects
Let’s Talk Philly
Beyond Cultural Shock: Next Steps to Success
Beyond Cultural Shock: Next Steps to Success was a 5-part seminar to help participants learn new skills, share information, build connections, and discuss opportunities for success in Philadelphia. The seminar engaged 35 participants from diverse cultural backgrounds to meet online every Thursdays evening for 2 hours and examine a better way to understand cultural shock as experienced by newly arrived immigrants in Philadelphia.