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.   You will be introduced to City of Roanoke services to better understand how our government works and ways you can be involved.  You will also learn about community resources that can help you to experience a more productive and enjoyable life in Roanoke and help others do the same.  

The in-person trainings will take place over 5 consecutive Saturdays and will include presentations from City departments and community-based organizations as well as field trips and interactive activities.  The 5 weeks of training will be followed by monthly sessions which will cover topics like from food security, advocacy, and leadership, to community-based resources like mental health services, adult education, and workforce development.

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 your home language and translated materials when necessary.

The dates for the Fall 2023 cohort of My City Academy are: 

  • Saturday, October 21, 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
  • Saturday, October 28, 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
  • Saturday, November 4, 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
  • Saturday, November 11, 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
  • Saturday, November 18, 8:00 am - 3:00 pm

A graduation ceremony will be held on Monday, November 20, at 6:00 pm.

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.

You can also fill out the form below.

MCA logo

Application and Nomination Forms (printable)

My City Academy Application

  1. Applications are due October 9 by 5 PM!

    If you have questions or need help completing or submitting this form, contact Katie (540-853-1283 or [email protected], or on WhatsApp at 540-588-0621).

  2. Leave This Blank:

  3. This field is not part of the form submission.

Welcoming Week 2023

We believe that being welcoming is much more than being friendly, tolerant, or peaceful.  To be truly welcoming, a community needs intentional, inclusive policies, practices, and norms that enable all residents to live, thrive, and contribute fully.  Welcoming Week is one of the tools that can help us achieve this vision.  During Welcoming Week, we pursue equity in the City of Roanoke by providing resources and education, supporting non-profit partners, connecting residents with meaningful work, and so much more!  This year, we participated in:

  • the 3rd Annual Roanoke Runs for Refugees 5K and Kids' 1 K

  • the Welcoming Week Job Fair

  • the Municipal Building Tour and Open House

  • our annual Citizenship Celebration

We can't wait to see you next September for the best week of the year!

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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