Mak­ing ev­ery­one feel at home

Fel­low­ship pro­moted at Wel­com­ing Scran­ton.

The Times-Tribune - - Local - Con­tact the writer: flesnef­sky@timessham­rock.com; 570-348-9100 x5186 BY FRANK WILKES LESNEFSKY STAFF WRITER

Champa Pa­tel en­cour­aged her mul­ti­cul­tural ESL class­mates at the United Neigh­bor­hood Cen­ters to at­tend the UNC’s first Wel­com­ing Scran­ton cel­e­bra­tion at Con­nors Park on Satur­day af­ter­noon. The UNC’s Com­mu­nity Ed­u­ca­tion and Re­vi­tal­iza­tion Depart­ment hoped to bring to­gether long­time Scran­ton res­i­dents and those new to the com­mu­nity to pro­mote cross-cul­tural un­der­stand­ing and raise aware­ness of the ben­e­fits of wel­com­ing ev­ery­one into the com­mu­nity.

“It brings ev­ery­body in the same com­mu­nity to­gether so they know each other,” Pa­tel said.

Pa­tel em­i­grated from In­dia to the United States in 1993, which gave her a first­hand per­spec­tive of what it’s like to be a part of a new com­mu­nity. She was also one of about eight mem­bers of the event’s plan­ning com­mit­tee.

“I like to help peo­ple,” she said.

Ter­ri­lyn Brech­tel, the UNC’s di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity ed­u­ca­tion and re­vi­tal­iza­tion, said Pa­tel was like their spokesper­son.

“She was our cheerleader,” Brech­tel said.

In­spired by the na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion Wel­com­ing Amer­ica, UNC of­fi­cials de­cided they wanted to work with the com­mu­nity to bring the event to Scran­ton, she said.

“We just want peo­ple in Scran­ton to know that this is their home,” she said.

Mem­bers of the UNC kept a tally of the turnout, and de­spite some rain, they es­ti­mate about 450 showed up through­out the af­ter­noon, she said.

Kelsey Rosa, a ju­nior at the Univer­sity of Scran­ton, helped out at Wel­com­ing Scran­ton as part of a ser­vice project for a Span­ish class she’s tak­ing.

“Events like this give us an op­por­tu­nity to em­brace and ap­pre­ci­ate each other,” she said.

Danielle Desseyn, a class­mate of Rosa, felt the event pro­moted a sense of be­long­ing in peo­ple of dif­fer­ent back­grounds.

“It helps bring the com­mu­nity to­gether and helps ev­ery­one un­der­stand each other’s dif­fer­ence,” Desseyn said. “It tells them that we are a car­ing com­mu­nity.”

JA­SON FARMER / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Scran­ton Pa­trol­man Ni­cholas Hurchick pitches to Jaden Nolan, 5, of Scran­ton dur­ing the Wel­com­ing Scran­ton cel­e­bra­tion at Con­nors Park on Satur­day.

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