On Thursday, September 19th, the North YMCA hosted a Naturalization Ceremony- a first for the YMCA of Central Ohio association.
At the ceremony, 125+ immigrants and refugees from 45 different countries took an oath of allegiance to the United States and with that, officially became American citizens. This was the pinnacle celebration to close out Welcoming Week, a national week grattiude and acceptance to all of our neighbors (click here to view our CEO's Welcoming Week statement).
The day was filled with many highlights, including Y staff and the New Americans singing "God Bless the USA" together, the oath being taken, the national anthem and speaker Bhuwan Pyakurel, who is also a Reynoldsburg Community Center YMCA board member, detailing what the United States has done "for a refugee kid".
The gymnasium was filled with many emotions for both those being naturalized and those who came to witness such a special event take place. Becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States is an expensive, time-consuming process that involves many sacrifices that those of us born in the United States take for granted every day. The relief, joy and pride on the faces of those that became citizens that day will not soon be forgotten.
This event has been made possible by the collaborative efforts of our Diversity, Inclusion and Global Engagement (DIG) Committee and the New American Welcome Center located inside the North YMCA. The first of it's kind in Central Ohio and one of just 17 in YMCA's nationwide, the NAWC provides vital programs and services to fully integrate immigrants to this country.
It was a proud day for the YMCA to host such a special event, we hope this is the first of many in the future.