The Village Exchange Center (VEC) is a collaborative community center formed to build community through social, cultural and economic exchange between arriving and receiving communities. We do this by providing supportive services to newly arrived residents, access to resources and an inclusive space for expression, engagement and dialogue. This project will support our most critical programs, including a food pantry, summer activities for newly arrived kids, and entrepreneurial programs
The City of Aurora presents a highly diverse and international landscape, with over 120 languages spoken, and is host to 80% of refugees resettled in Colorado. This presents major challenges, as the city, schools and support services face the task of integrating new comers, while also struggling to meet the needs of low income hosting communities. Although often isolated from each other, Aurora's arriving and hosting communities face similar challenges and have much to share with each other.
VEC was founded on the fundamental belief that when people of different backgrounds interact and engage with each other in meaningful ways, they become empowered to identify, engage with and create the change they want to see in ways that are inclusive and sustainable for the community as a whole. Through this project we will provide critical community support services and work with community partners to host cultural events that celebrate cultural and religious diversity.
The project allows for several thousand incoming and receiving community members to have encounters that will allow them to overcome fear - the root of hatred. In the process of engaging in empowering activities and religious and cultural events we will create exchange that is meaningful and life altering. Our programs and events provide confidence in individual differences and capabilities and at the same time foster resiliency and community.