The Welcome Dayton program promotes immigrant integration into the greater Dayton region by encouraging business and economic development; providing access to education, government, health and social services; ensuring equity in the justice system; and promoting an appreciation of the arts and culture.
According to the welcomedayton.org website, government, non-profit, and business sectors engaged in a series of extensive community conversations regarding immigration in the region. As a result of the conversations, the Welcome Dayton Plan was created and the City of Dayton Commission unanimously adopted it in October of 2011. However, Welcome Dayton encourages commitments and engagement by the broader community, as opposed to being just another government-run program.
During its short life span, Welcome Dayton has achieved a list of community-wide accomplishments. Highlights include increasing positive community police relations, building community through the arts, supporting English language learners through additional academic and family programming, increasing access to City of Dayton services for limited English proficient residents, changing perceptions of immigrants through positive media coverage, and building awareness of existing immigrant friendly services offered throughout the private and public sectors.
Authors of the Welcome Dayton Plan are convinced that there is a consensus of the goals and recommendations of over 100 individuals and representatives of a wide array of immigrant, public, and private groups who voluntarily came together to discuss how to engage new residents in revitalizing their neighborhoods, building the population and strengthening the economic base.
Dieudonne Nsabimana arrived in the United States in 2008 and has worked diligently to improve the lives of the Burundian youth ever since. He has recognized the value of introducing and teaching Burundian culture to the Dayton community. By acknowledging and promoting the importance of his culture, he has created and introduced the Burundian Drumline and a women dance group, which have become some of Dayton’s favorite performances to watch.
Dr. Ayman Salem came to the United States from Giza, Egypt to continue his education. Through his hard work and dedication, he has become a leader in the Material Science and Engineering field. After obtaining his PhD from Drexel University in 2002 and starting a company in 2009, he has demonstrated how commitment can make a difference in a community.
Damira Hayrullina from Uzbekistan says: “ I’ve been here six and a half years. I got a scholarship to be an exchange student in high school, and I went to Centerville for my senior year. Every April, I work with Rebuilding Dayton Together. I’ve been doing that for five years. It’s all women; they choose a person who needs work done on their house and is not capable of doing it. We go early in the morning and work all day, and it’s everything from painting the inside to landscaping the outside…whatever they need done. I like helping out, and it’s fun.”