Multicultural center that builds community by welcoming newcomers, supporting residents in transition and creating access and opportunity.
The Welcome Center, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation founded in June 2000. It was organized by Apex Austin - a group of concerned citizens who saw a dramatic change in the area’s work force and demographic composition, most notably a growth among Hispanic people.
Mission: The Welcome Center serves the City of Austin as the community’s multi-cultural center, building community by welcoming newcomers, supporting residents in transition and creating access and opportunity.
The Welcome Center’s goals are:
- to provide a place to welcome our new neighbors
- to provide guidance and services to assist newcomers in their transition into the community
- to collaborate with agencies and organizations for a better way to address multicultural issues
- to provide community education for native population about the economic and social value in developing a new multicultural community
- to develop and promote programs and services that open economic opportunities to newcomers.
The Welcome Center provides services for newcomers, agencies, and the community in general through four programs:
Community Cultural Education serves to familiarize current residents with the strengths and characteristics of newcomer populations and to promote acceptance. Education is offered through community events, presentations and workshops at various locations including area nonprofit organizations, businesses, and schools. The Welcome Center works closely with the Austin Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in this program area, partnering with the AHRC to organize and promote presentations, race and immigration trainings, a “know your rights” community media campaign, community cultural celebrations and the AHRC annual Human Rights Film Festival. This partnership has provided each of the organizations with increased capacity and community impact. The AHRC hosts a $40,000 grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation that supports the collaborative efforts described.
Economic Self-Sufficiency programming helps newcomers acquire the skills necessary to secure gainful employment, manage finances, and become homeowners. Staff work in partnership with other community programs to offer classes/workshops and one on one support in the areas of financial literacy, job skills, computer/internet training and other topics.
Client Advocacy and Services connects Welcome Center clients with necessary community resources to address medical, social, community, legal, financial, educational, housing and other needs. Services outside of the Welcome Center staff purview are referred to appropriate community agencies. Services include a brief assessment of immediate needs followed by advice and assistance in obtaining the resources to meet those needs. Primary services provided are translation and interpretation. Staff are translating documents, making phone calls on behalf of clients, and attending appointments with clients. The service most provided is translating for “walk-in” clients. These clients have received a letter or some document and are unable to read or understand what is written.
Asian & Karen Family Support serves to provide our Karen/Burmese population with transitional, social and emotional support. The Karen Family Support Advocate serves as the Karen/Burmese community liaison and case manager by meeting one-on-one with youth, parents, and families to help them assess their needs, match and/or refer them to various community services and programs; organize and oversee several services and programs that will be offered on-site, including youth, parent, and family support groups (parent and family skills training; family support services); and providing translating and interpretation services as needed.
There is no other entity serving as the multicultural "hub" for resources and support for Austin's new residents.
For more information, visit us on our website at www.AustinWelcomeCenter.org Thank you for your support.
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