International Community Relations

15 Ways to Welcome your Neighbors in Charlotte

Communities and organizations that practice welcoming and including neighbors of all backgrounds, religions, cultures and ethnicities will create a climate in which all people can thrive.

Please use these as suggestions for how to welcome your immigrant neighbors and include them as a part of building a thriving neighborhood. It is important to think about what it means to be a welcoming neighbor. To be a welcoming neighbor is to respect all that reside in your community and value diversity that they bring to the neighborhood.

  1. Bring new neighbors a welcoming packet with pertinent neighborhood information.
    • This is a great way to share information about the great resources in the neighborhood; closest park, schools, etc. Bring this packet in person, don't leave it on the doorstep or send by mail, this is an opportunity to introduce yourself in person.
  2. Support your neighborhood organizations that help immigrants and refugees.
    • Do more than just donate, spend time with people and learn about what the needs are. The more you grow to understand the people around you the more you will appreciate your differences and commonalities. You can contact the Office of International Relations to learn about your local international organizations.
  3. Support your local immigrant owned businesses
    • Show that you are curious and interested about things outside of your cultural norms. You may learn something new.
  4. Use the More than One Story app at your next neighborhood association meeting
    • This game is good for both new neighbors and longtime residents. It encourages everyone to share their story.
  5. Research your own family story so that you can share with others why welcoming is so important.
  6. Invite an immigrant neighbor over to your home for tea.
    • With tea you won't need to worry about dietary restrictions and many countries have a culinary history that includes tea.
  7. Organize a block party, neighborhood get together; ask one of you immigrant neighbors to help plan it.
    • Organize a gathering with the people you are hoping will join you rather than for them. Their input will help give insights to making the gathering successful.
  8. Join Fruitful Friends
    • This is a program through Refugee Support Services that helps refugees and longtime residents build relationships together so that they can thrive in their new community.
  9. Offer to help a neighbor with yard work
    • If you see your neighbor outside raking leaves bring over your own rake and offer to help.
  10. Plant a community garden, trade produce and ask about plants you are not familiar with.
  11. Take notice, be respectful, be curious, and ask questions.
    •  Perhaps your neighbor is especially talented at caring for their rosebush. Let them know how beautiful it is, ask for gardening tips. Taking notice, showing respect and curiosity, and asking questions help build trust in a neighborly relationship. They may feel more confident in asking you questions in return.
  12. Ask yourself, have I ever felt unwelcome? Think about how you reacted and how you wish things have happened. Keep this in mind as you interact with your neighbors.
  13. Be willing to give help and ask for help.
    • Do you know the cliché of asking your neighbor for a cup of sugar? Be willing to ask for help from your neighbor, be part of creating a neighborhood that takes care of each other.
  14. Volunteer  to tutor Citizenship classes
    • Through this experience you will learn about the process for becoming a citizen. It is an opportunity to share your pride in being a US Citizen. And you will get a refresher on US history and politics.
  15. While you spend time with your new neighbor ask for help learning their native language.
    • Start with learning to say hello in their language and as you get to know each other you can progress farther, it will be an enriching experience for both of you.