Making everyone feel at home
Fellowship promoted at Welcoming Scranton.
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.”
Scranton Patrolman Nicholas Hurchick pitches to Jaden Nolan, 5, of Scranton during the Welcoming Scranton celebration at Connors Park on Saturday.