Welcoming Roanoke

The goal of our Community Inclusion programs is to support the refugee, immigrant, and New American communities in the City of Roanoke.  We celebrate the strength that diversity brings to our City and we provide services and programs to give these communities meaningful and equitable access to all City services, departments, and activities.  Our vision is to see all residents of Roanoke achieving their goals; obtaining employment reflective of their education and experience; living long, safe, and healthy lives; and finding a place in Roanoke where they belong and feel welcomed.


My City Academy

My City Academy is a free leadership training program that empowers Roanoke’s refugee and immigrant populations to better understand and participate in Roanoke’s local government.   Participants will be introduced to municipal government services to help them gain a better understanding of how their government works and ways in which they can be involved.  Participants will also learn about a wide range of available community resources that will enable them to experience a more productive and enjoyable life experience in Roanoke and help others do the same.  

The leadership portion of the training is modeled after the nation-wide Natural Helpers curriculum, which gives individuals tools, training, and a network to help our New American community more effectively.  The intended participant is an individual who is often asked for resources and help by their community, is committed to serving others, and has experience connecting others with services and resources.

The in-person trainings will take place over 4 consecutive Saturdays and will include presentations from City departments and community-based organizations as well as field trips and interactive activities.  The four weeks of training will be followed by monthly sessions which will cover topics ranging from food security, advocacy, and asset mapping, to community-based resources like mental health services, adult education, and workforce development.

The expectation is that participants will commit to at least a year of volunteering within their respective communities, providing leadership and guidance around navigating City services and community-based resources.  Applicants should be from a community in which members are New Americans and have strong proficiency in speaking English.  However, there will be opportunities for discussion and processing in participants’ home languages and translated materials when necessary.

The dates for the Spring 2023 cohort of My City Academy will be announced soon, but please get in touch if you would like more details!

To apply or to nominate someone, click the links to the right.  Forms may be filled out electronically and emailed to [email protected], or they can be printed and brought to the Municipal Building in person.

MCA logo

Application and Nomination Forms (printable)

Welcoming Week 2022 recap

Upcoming Events

We have a lot going on with our community inclusion programs!  Keep an eye out for more information on these upcoming events.

  • New Neighbor series (video spotlights)
  • Nowruz Celebration (March 2023)
  • My City Academy, 2nd Cohort
  • Welcoming Week 2023 (September 2023)
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Thank you to our friends at the Virginia Tech Fralin Biomedical Research Institute for your partnership in Welcoming Roanoke:

Everyone is welcome in the City of Roanoke.

Welcoming Week 

The City of Roanoke celebrated its first Welcoming Week in September 2018, and has continued every year since.  Each year has a unique theme and emphasis, but the celebration is growing every year!

Welcoming Roanoke Plan

The City of Roanoke received the Gateways for Growth Challenge grant, which allowed us to create an immigrant integration plan to help make our community more welcoming and equitable for all people. We will continue to post updates on the progress and implementation of the plan.  Find all the information at PlanRoanoke.org.

Check out our Welcoming Week "Storyteller Videos" by clicking here.


Welcoming Rke plan metrics