Giving Back: New American Welcome Center

The Morning Show

University YMCA New American Welcome Center City of Champaign Office of Equity, Community and Human Rights


There are currently over 5,155 immigrants eligible to naturalize in Champaign-County. Studies show that when someone becomes a U.S. citizen, that person is more likely to secure employment, access higher paying jobs, and own a home. In addition to a host of benefits for individuals, naturalization can have important macroeconomic benefits for local communities. These include a growth in spending power, higher GDP, and increased tax revenues, all of which can boost local economies.

QUESTIONS (for the interviewer to ask the agency representative, please include answers as well):

Q. Tell me about the partnership between the University Y New American Welcome Center and the City of Champaign.

A. At the University Y New American Welcome Center, we believe our community is stronger when everyone feels welcome and when we work together for the common good. So we focus on engaging community institutions and resources to make Champaign County a place where newcomers and immigrants can thrive and flourish. We have a strong partnership with the City of Champaign which has a long record of supporting local immigrant communities–from issuing welcoming proclamations to co-hosting an annual Welcome Awards event to helping to lead the creation of a Welcoming Plan for Immigrants in Champaign County. One of our shared goals this year has been to increase encourage U.S. citizenship among eligible immigrants and increase naturalization application rates.

Q. How are you working towards that goal?

A. The City of Champaign’s Office of Equity, Community and Human Rights is co-sponsoring a Flag Day Celebration and Citizenship Fair along with the University Y New American Welcome Center. The celebration will be held on Friday, June 14, 2019, from 1:00-3:00 pm at the Champaign City Building

Q. What will the event include?

A. The celebration will feature the stories of Champaign County’s newest American citizens and share information about the naturalization process with assistance from organizations like the New American Welcome Center, Urbana Adult Education and The Immigration Project who can answer questions like “How do I become a U.S. citizen?”, “What is the citizenship interview like?”, “Where can I find legal assistance?” and more. The event is free, family-friendly, and open to everyone. Naturalization can be an easy process if you obtain the right help.

Q. How can I get involved as a volunteer?

A. We’re looking for volunteers to help lead and assist with a range of interactive activities from decorating flag-shaped cookies to conducting mock citizenship interviews to leading a trivia game about the history of the American flag. Volunteer to learn more about the citizenship process and meet a new neighbor!


How can we learn more about this event? Visit

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