North Kansas City’s YMCA touts immigrant services

Catalina Melgoza
Special to the
Northeast News

The North Kansas City YMCA recently held their 3rd annual Welcome Week, designed to help integrate families from a wide spectrum of cultures into the Kansas City area. The NKC YMCA partners with Welcome America for the week-long event, which is filled with activities and programs that are publicly available for families and their children.

Many of the members that come in to the NKC YMCA are from a mixture of different cultures and backgrounds, from Somalia, Vietnam, Honduras, Cuba, and many more. Welcome Week allows all of these families to meet one another while familiarizing themselves with the YMCA staff.

The event began with an opening event that drew the largest crowd of the week, with around 50 people in attendance. It was the first viewing of the facility’s New American Welcome Center. Another notable event was a potluck dinner with families and staff, which ended with a few games of bingo. There was also a coffee hour, where families and YMCA members could try various coffees from around the world. At that event, a staff member from Cuba spoke about his journey to the United States.

For younger members, the Welcome Week offered a Kids Zone, where they showed a screening of the movie Zootopia. One of the last events was called Kid’s Night Out. Parents could drop off their children at the YMCA for a few hours while the kids took part in activities. At the event, children learned about different places in the world and their cultures.
April Osegueda, the community outreach coordinator for the YMCA, served as the coordinator of Welcome Week. She described the importance of getting new families connected with their communities.

“Our communities are stronger when everyone feels welcome and can reach their full potential. The Y is committed to providing a welcoming environment; whether this be with our neighbors, newcomers in our city or Y members,” Osegeuda said. “Welcome Week is a great platform for all to feel inclusive and connected…it is a great week to say no matter who you are, where you come from or what you believe, we welcome you.”

The North Kansas City YMCA is always accepting new members, and enjoys seeing familiar faces. They also offer ESL classes for families who want to learn English. The class is held twice a week for 10 weeks. The first class was held on Tuesday, October 2nd, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Anyone can sign up along with an additional $30 fee, but the YMCA offers financial assistance if needed.

For more information on the North Kansas City YMCA and their services, visit: https://kansascityymca.org/locations/north-kansas-city

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