Eastside Welcoming Week will be hosting over 30 events to support diverse communities and build relationships among neighbors. File photo

Eastside Welcoming Week will be hosting over 30 events to support diverse communities and build relationships among neighbors. File photo

Eastside cities join together to celebrate Welcoming Week

Eastside Welcoming Week to take place Sept. 13-22.

The Eastside cities of Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue and Issaquah are once again participating in the nationwide Welcoming Week celebration.

This year, the week runs from Sept. 13-22 and works to support diverse communities and build relationships among neighbors through various events.

Welcoming Week was started in 2009 by the nonprofit organization Welcoming America. Welcoming Week is a national program that encourages local cities and organizations to sponsor community events to bring people together and reduce social barriers.

Welcoming Week on the Eastside kicks off at 10 a.m. on Sept. 13 in Redmond. Overall, there are more than 30 events planned throughout the Eastside. Events are hosted by an array of local partners and have been coordinated by the Eastside Refugee and Immigration Coalition (ERIC).

“Too often, people feel disconnected from each other and feel like they themselves don’t belong or have a good sense of belonging. [People] feel like they don’t know their neighbors anymore. People can feel a great sense of disconnect from the community,” said Debbie Lacy, ERIC founder and executive director. “These events are an invitation to say something, come and meet your neighbors, get reconnected and reacquainted with people and learn something new about all the people that make the Eastside so great.”

Redmond

Redmond will host 13 events during Welcoming Week that encourage connectivity and dialogue.

“It is important that everyone feels comfortable and engaged in the community,” Mayor John Marchione said. “We should be like a blended family…We all bring something to the party and we celebrate and enjoy what everyone brings to the party.”

Activities will include community game nights, a potluck dinner, connection groups, wellness workshops and story time with the police.

For the first time, a training and community discussion called A Welcoming Eastside Economy is set for noon to 2 p.m. on Sept. 20 at Redmond City Hall.

The training will review the array of programs and strategies that other communities have pioneered to help include immigrants in local community and economic development efforts. The training will be led by Daniel Valdez, network director with Welcoming America.

According to Lacy, Valdez will train and talk about how to integrate immigrants and refugees, and their experiences, into economic development planning and growth.

“It’s not just about community building and social services,” Lacy said, “It’s about economic development and infrastructure that helps make sure our policies and practices are also welcoming, inclusive and making sure that everyone can live in a community safely and thrive.”

Kirkland

In Kirkland, the Juanita Neighborhood Association is hosting a Welcome to Juanita event from noon to 3 p.m. on Sept. 14 at Edith Moulton Park. The event will celebrate diversity and inclusion in Kirkland and feature free food from local restaurants, free games and prizes, entertainment and community and business information and resources.

In a city press release, Mayor Penny Sweet said Kirkland is committed to being a safe, welcoming and inclusive community.

“We are proud to join with other Eastside cities to celebrate Welcoming Week, and we’d like to encourage all Kirkland community members to take any action this week and let others know that they belong here,” she said in the release.

Bellevue

There will be nine events in Bellevue during Welcoming Week. Starting Sept. 13, the city will be hosting a seminar from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Bellevue Botanical Garden on the importance of diversity and inclusion in gardening. Other events throughout the week will include music and dance performances, cultural conversations, mask-making, visual art, music and talks on the theme “taking root”at the 10-day Bellwether Art+ festival.

As part of its Diversity Advantage Initiative, Bellevue also provides cross-cultural outreach and engagement opportunities.

Issaquah

The city of Issaquah will host its Issaquah Welcomes You! event from 5:30-8 p.m. on Sept. 20 at the Issaquah Community Center. The event will celebrate Issaquah’s cultural diversity with music, world dances, informational booths and food trucks.

To see a full list of events and more information about Welcoming Week, see www.EastsideWelcomes.org.

More in Life

Bear Creek National Honor Society students from left, Kate McDonough, Chuck McDonough, James Wadhwani, Tyler Doyle, Benjamin Ferreira, Kathryn Sutherland, Ryan Bracewell, Nelson Sun and Annemarie Mullet delivered food donations to the Hopelink food bank in Redmond. Photo courtesy of Bear Creek School
Bear Creek food drive brings in six and a half tons of food

The school’s National Honor Society chapter organized the drive and the food was donate to Hopelink.

For veterans, there’s no better cause to push than helping other vets

Jim Curtis and Mark Gorman are two of many veteran advocates on the Eastside.

From left: National Merit Scholarship semifinalists Rita Luk, Lauren Shen, Nelson Sun and commended students Andrew Hom and Matthew Jensen. Courtesy photo of Bear Creek School
Three Bear Creek School students named National Merit semifinalists

Two more students were recognized as national commended students.

The team that created Vitality, the first-prize winning app. Courtesy photo
DelBene hosts annual app-a-thon for local students

Students from Redmond place in competition.

Staying fit through the holidays

It is possible to train yourself to exercise as part of who you are.

In 1967 Nokomis Club of Redmond sponsored a tea at the local branch of the King County Library system to commemorate National Library Week. Photo courtesy of Redmond Historical Society Facebook
110 years of community investment

The Nokomis club celebrates their 110th Anniversary.

Queen Latifah headlines Hopelink’s Reaching Out luncheon Oct. 21. From left: Queen Latifah, luncheon chairs Lynne Varner and Paul Hollie, and Hopelink CEO Lauren Thomas. Madison Miller/staff photo
Queen Latifah headlines Hopelink’s annual fundraiser

Hopelink raised about $1.15 million at the annual fundraiser.

Green Redmond Day is on Oct. 26. Photo courtesy of Alex Christians
Plant trees to celebrate Green Redmond Day

Planting events will take place at numerous park sites on Oct. 26.

Spectators gather for Redmond’s traditional “Thrill the World” event. Photo courtesy of Jessica Morgan/Redmond Town Center
Eastside Halloween roundup

Family-friendly seasonal events throughout the Eastside.

The Nightmare at Beaver Lake runs through Oct. 31. Take a scary stroll through Beaver Lake Park, 2600 244th Ave. SE, Sammamish. Courtesy image
Nightmare at Beaver Lake continues through Oct. 31

The Nightmare at Beaver Lake is back. Experience one of the Northwest’s… Continue reading

Stephanie Quiroz/staff photos 
                                Max Shegnagaev (fourth from left) had a birthday wrestling bash for his tenth birthday at city hall on Oct. 6.
10-year-old boy has wrestling birthday bash at Redmond City Hall

Nearly 30 professional wrestlers came to Max Shegnagaev’s 10th birthday.

From left, Gabrielle Chai, Ian Wood and Emma Robinson of Eastide Catholic School were named semifinalists in the National Merit scholarship program. Courtesy photo
Redmond’s Chai named National Merit Scholarship semifinalist

Eastside Catholic announces National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.