213 South Main Street (alley/west entrance)
Greetings! My name is Julia Schmidt and I am a current grad student at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, although you might know me through my work at Maple City Market and/or Southside Fellowship. I am very interested in issues of immigration and finding ways to make Elkhart County a welcoming place for all people. This school year I have been interning at Mennonite Central Committee Great Lakes and have been researching beginning an Immigrant Resource Center here in Elkhart County. I believe there is a need for an organization to be the hub of information on resources and services for immigrants in our community. There are many great organizations doing work and I see a resource center as being the link to these organizations.
Instead of giving out direct resources, I envision using the model of Indianapolis’s Immigrant Welcome Center to connect recent immigrants with trained volunteers, known as “natural helpers,” who are immigrants themselves and can help connect them with resources such as health care, legal services, government agencies, public transportation, education, housing, job training, and more. Learn more about their Center at https://www.immigrantwelcomecenter.org/.
I also envision a resource center as the place to do education in the broader community about how immigrants contribute to our society. I would like to see the diverse communities in Elkhart County come together more to learn from each other and be able to support each other. I can envision the center being able to coordinate resources of everyone to make this county more hospitable to the immigrants who live as our neighbors.
I will be presenting my vision in more details at a community event this Tuesday night at 7pm at the Civic Salon in downtown Goshen. Stop in to hear my presentation and brainstorm together how we might make such a vision a reality in our community!
The Civic Salon is located at 213 S Main St – enter from the alley (west) entrance on the parking lot off 3rd St, between the entrances to Better World Books and to Back Alley Brewery and Art House.