A good many congregations are located in communities that are changing demographically. The influx of immigrants into the neighborhood might present a unexpected challenge, particularly when these new Americans come from parts of the world known only through news media reports, not real life experience. Intercambio, a non-profit organization in Boulder, Colorado, sponsors English education for immigrant families. Their website offers helpful advice on how to build bridges between immigrants and non-immigrants.
- Smile. It’s simple but effective.
- If someone is struggling with English, speak slowly, clearly, and avoid complex metaphors and idioms. Learning a new language is difficult! If you’ve never done it, try it and you’ll empathize.
- Learn more about immigrant experiences and why people come here. For many it’s to escape unsafe countries or provide better education for their children. Many face the heartbreaking inability to visit a dying mother, father, or sibling in their native country. Imagine that.
- Get to know immigrants on a meaningful level by volunteering to teach English.
Not all immigrants are the same, but most are here to learn, work hard, participate, and give their kids educational opportunities they never had. If you want to make those folks feel welcome here, walk the talk and take action today.
Photo: jdurham, Morguefile license.