The YMCA’s New American Welcome Centers (NAWC) support immigrants—also referred to as newcomers—through integration services, community partnerships and strategies to build cross-cultural understanding. Currently, our Y has NAWCs at the St. Paul Eastside (Refugee Hub Centers in partnership with the State of MN and Metro Refugee Serving Agencies), Blaisdell (Refugee Hub Centers in partnership with the State of MN and Metro Refugee Serving Agencies), Burnsville, River Valley, Emma B. Howe (Refugee Hub Centers in partnership with the State of MN and Metro Refugee Serving Agencies), Ridgedale, and University YMCAs. Below are some of the programs offered throughout the Twin Cities.
- Eastside YMCA: offers Guadalupe Alternative School partnership to provide vital employment training; shadowing opportunities for jobseekers to gain work experience and skills; private, women’s only group exercise classes; ForeverWell classes taught in Hmong.
- Ridgedale YMCA’s Day Camp Christmas Tree: hosts Spanish Immersion Camp with all instruction and programming conducted in Spanish, including hiking, canoeing, swimming, cooking and exploring.
- Blaisdell YMCA: partners with the Lyndale Neighborhood Association to provide the Women’s Leadership Program for Latina and Somali/African women to develop community leadership skills.
- Burnsville YMCA: engages and supports the emerging Somali community through a Somali Cultural Liaison on the team
- Eastside, Burnsville, and Ridgedale YMCAs: developed an Immigrant Youth Program this summer to engage newcomers in our community
The New American Welcome Centers created several years ago provide specialized support and resources for our new immigrant populations. The services include social services, employment referrals, medical assistance and more. As a socially responsible organization, the Y of the North will continue to promote social justice and serve our most vulnerable populations. We have expanded our services due to additional state funding.