Creating a Sense of Belonging for All

What comes to mind when you hear the word immigrant? Do you think of refugees? Do you think of a neighbor or a friend? Do you think of Albert Einstein?

There are so many people in our communities who identify as an immigrant, who emigrate from all over the world and have different reasons for leaving their home country, but one thing they have in common is wanting to call the United States home.

San Mateo County is a Welcoming County and part of Welcoming America, opens a new window, a national non-profit non-partisan organization that unites cities, counties, and organizations around the country in the goal of creating more welcoming and inclusive communities for our immigrant residents. Since 2012, Welcoming America has led “Welcoming Week” the annual campaign and celebration to showcase the growing movement of communities striving to be more welcoming places for all, including immigrants. By fostering mutual respect and cooperation between new and long-time residents, Welcoming Week brings together people across lines of difference toward greater prosperity for all.

San Mateo County’s Office of Community Affairs Immigrant Services, opens a new window program is leading Welcoming Week efforts throughout the County to celebrate our immigrant community and help foster more inclusive and understanding communities. We are partnering with them to offer special Welcoming Week Storytimes, held outdoors on:

Tuesday, September 14 at 10:30 AM at the Half Moon Bay Library

Thursday, September 16 at 10:30 AM at Friendship Park in Redwood City

What better way to learn and share about belonging and inclusion than to read and share stories! We’ll be reading books that highlight the immigrant experience, what it feels like to be included, and illustrating that home is where you make it. Bring a blanket to sit upon and sun protection.

Do you have a personal story about being welcomed into a new community, city, or neighborhood? More than ever, finding points of connection and shared experiences is key to creating strong, supportive communities. We can all play a part in making sure everyone feels like they belong. Share your story, opens a new window of how someone made you feel like you belonged and were welcomed, or how you helped others feel at home here in San Mateo County.  

San Mateo County’s Immigrant Services Program doesn’t only support welcoming and inclusive activities during Welcoming Week. They create resources, events, and other useful tools for newly arrived immigrants and residents who have made San Mateo County their home. Check out more of their events and resources, opens a new window, like their monthly virtual spotlight series that highlights non-profit organizations serving immigrants in San Mateo County!

Want to share more stories of inclusion with your kids? Take a look at this list of other books that you can check out at your local library!

Belonging and Inclusion: Picture Books for All

List created by SMCLKidsnFamilyPicks

Enjoy these picture books with the whole family! The books in this list share similar themes of belonging and inclusion and are a great way to start a conversation about unity.

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