Welcoming Week 2017: International House
Closing out Welcoming Week 2017 with International House. International House serves as a welcoming place for our new neighbors to gain the hard skills needed to succeed in the U.S. and the support network needed to be happy and build the kind of life everyone seeks – full of meaning, community and the prospects for a brighter future.
Tell us about your organization and who does it serve.
International House has been in the Charlotte community since 1981. It began as a means for immigrants to connect with others and work on their English skills. Over time, the
organization expanded and now offers tutoring, citizenship classes and language conversation hours. It has an immigration law firm that allows immigrants to receive services for free or at a low cost. The Citizen Diplomacy department brings visitors from all over the world to meet and learn from the Charlotte community and its leaders. International House collaborates with other organizations in Charlotte to provide programs like Rising Readers - a summer ESL program for elementary students, Storytime for children, a community Little Library, an International Book Club, Doorways -an international women’s group and various cultural events throughout the year.
What are some of the challenges the community you serve is facing?
A large percentage of clients and students are immigrants. Lack of funds and little to no English is common. That’s why the organization expanded the options for English learning and added the immigration firm. Both services are offered for free or at low cost.
How can others support your organization and its community?
International House is able to operate thanks to the many community donations, grants and volunteers. On any given week, volunteers donate over a hundred hours to the organization. They volunteer in-house, facilitate programs like conversation hour or book club or they tutor in one of the education classes.
How does Welcoming Week impact you personally?
International House envisions a Charlotte that welcomes and embraces the world. Our mission is to promote international understanding and help immigrants integrate fully into our community. It is a wonderful scene to see many local Charlotteans and newly arrived visitors come together.