The YMCA of Greater Brandywine believes our community is stronger when everyone feels welcome and we work together for the common good. Celebrated annually at the YMCA, Welcoming Week is a chance for neighbors – both immigrants and U.S. born residents – to get to know one another and celebrate what unites us as a community. As we celebrated Welcoming Week 2019 across our branches in September, the caring and inclusivity of our community shined.


Welcoming Week 2019

Highlights include:

  • The Kennett Area YMCA kicked off their Welcoming Week events with a Multi-Cultural Family Craft Night. Through crafts, attendees learned about and celebrated Chinese New Year, Brazil's Carnival, 4th of July, Mexican Independence Day and Diwali!
  • Seniors re-lived their Senior Prom at the West Chester Area YMCA. Prom attendee Jane Fenicle shared, “It was a great time! We enjoyed dressing up, dancing a little and getting to know the names of familiar faces that smile with us each day at the Y!” 
  • Laura Schofield Pierson, Associate Director of the West Chester Area YMCA, believed the most impactful event they hosted was the teen Open Mic Night and Poetry Slam. “The teens who participated overcame some jitters to speak up and share their talents with others,” said Laura. “Thank you for giving my boys a voice,” added Hilda Muthaiyan, a parent of two teens in attendance. “They had an amazing time.”
  • Many people gathered in our all of our branches to share food and stories of their cultures. 
  • Volunteers from the Jennersville YMCA ranging in age from 14-75, helped Project C.U.R.E. with sorting and packing more than $22,000 in donated medical supplies which is going to Madagascar and will touch thousands of lives.
  • Locally, school-age kids at the Jennersville Y assembled duffel bags with essentials for teens in foster care. One girl wrote a note saying, “Here are some things to help you out, when you are in a moment of doubt. From someone who cares.” 
  • At the Upper Main Line YMCA, attendees not only enjoyed musical performances from around the world, but had a blast tasting and guessing different varieties of fruits and foods during World Celebration Day.
  • Smiling from ear to ear, attendees at the Upper Main Line Y’s All Abilities Dance Party proclaimed it to be the best night of the week! 
  • The Lionville Community YMCA hosted a multi-faith discussion by high school students on their faith, beliefs, diversity and inclusion in the community. “It was tremendous to hear how they felt about the secular school system, living in a materialistic world and diversity clubs that can be created,” shared Melissa Schleyer, Executive Assistant of the Lionville Community YMCA. “Most of all they were thrilled to have a neutral ground where they could share their thoughts, ideals and opinions. They were happy to be heard.” Attendee Bushra Qureshi also shared, “Thank you for organizing this event and for inviting us to be part of it. The questions were thought-provoking, giving us an opportunity to gain a renewed appreciation for each other’s faiths. I have not come across another YMCA which is so focused on diversity. Many congratulations for this commendable effort!”