Many of you who are reading this are immigrants who have discovered The Welcoming Center somewhere along your journey. You have told us that when you found TWC it was the first time you realized you were not alone as you got established here. Many have shared how you wished your parents had a welcoming center to help them when they first came to the U.S. Others reading this simply know that we are all better off when immigrants and refugees are welcomed and supported in their economic, social, and civic pursuits.
Regardless of where you were born or what brought you to TWC, we share common values and see diversity as strength. We know that by working together we can overcome both situational and systemic barriers standing in our way. By engaging in The Welcoming Center community as a donor, volunteer, employee, partner, or participant, you are taking action. You are helping build the very world we all want to live in and one where future generations may thrive.
I have been involved with The Welcoming Center for the past 10 years and I continue to be astounded by the generosity, kindness and compassion our donors and volunteers have shown towards the newest members of our community. Never more so than during these past two years. Perhaps what has inspired me most is how so many of our past participants have been paying it forward as TWC donors, volunteers, and mentors to newer immigrants coming from different countries and cultures.
This winter The Welcoming Center is immersed in a strategic planning process that will guide us for the next three years. As we assess our strengths and weaknesses, examine the unmet needs of our community, and set goals for the future, a few things are certain. Immigrants and refugees have been driving much of the growth in our region for the past 20 years. Employers and civic leaders are recognizing the need to compete for talent by creating more welcoming spaces, prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion. Thousands of immigrants who benefited from The Welcoming Center’s programs are growing their families here and have been helping create a sense of belonging for other newcomers.
To recognize their contributions and celebrate the power of diverse communities, The Welcoming will be honoring three groups of immigrants that came together through our workforce, civic engagement and entrepreneurship programs. I Belong, Let’s Talk Philly and the Mexican Business Association of South Philadelphia have demonstrated remarkable leadership and creativity educating, engaging and empowering other immigrants during the pandemic. I hope you will join us in honoring these three organizations and celebrate our growing and diverse community at our 2022 Solas Awards to be held on April 27th at Cherry Street Pier.
President and CEO
The Welcoming Center