One of the reasons I am so proud to work for the YMCA of Greater Kansas City and be a part of the Y movement across the world is because of our commitment to be welcoming to all. Welcoming to new associates. Welcoming to members. Welcoming to those in need. Welcoming to those new to our community. Welcoming no matter a person’s background, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, or economic status. The Y is a WELCOMING organization.

The Y is so committed to being welcoming to those new to our community and nation that we have a New American Welcome Center located at our North Kansas City YMCA. Being welcoming to newcomers can be as simple as smiling at a person or shaking hands. It can also be teaching newcomers a new language so that they can communicate with others, including their own children and grandchildren. It can be bringing people together to share each other’s cultural experience. Welcoming can be connecting people with similar interests but diverse backgrounds.

Each year our YMCA participates in Welcoming Week, founded by Welcoming America. Welcoming Week is an annual celebration bringing together thousands of people through hundreds of local events that celebrate the contributions of immigrants and refugees, and the role communities play to foster greater welcome.

Welcoming Week shows that in places large and small, rural and urban, people of all backgrounds are coming together to create stronger communities. It is a time to celebrate the shared values that unite us as neighbors, parents and colleagues, and to make our towns more welcoming to newcomers and to everyone who calls our community home.

We have wrapped up Welcoming Week (Sept. 13-22), with more than 725 YMCA locations and other organizations across the United States cumulatively having hosted thousands of events to bring together immigrants and their U.S.-born neighbors. Celebrating and hosting events helps to strengthen our shared community.

Welcoming Week activities are open to the public and included open house events, resource fairs and seminars, and other activities that celebrate cultures from around the world. @KansasCityYMCA #WelcomingWeek #YforAll

About the Author
Andrea Allison-Putman has served as the Chief People Officer for the YMCA of Greater Kansas City since January 2011. She was recognized with the Equalizer Award by the Urban League for her achievements in support of diversity and inclusion. Andrea is a valued IRC Board Member finding value in bringing a global perspective to our community by providing education, connections, support for collaborations, and being welcoming to all.