For more than 200 years, Utica has had a rich tradition of welcoming immigrants and refugees into our city and incorporating their culture into that of our own. However, many refugees struggle with language obstacles, poverty, the consequences of trauma, and cultural misunderstandings for years after their resettlement. MUCC addresses the problems of refugees’ adaptation to their new home and inadequate access to services that they need. We provide opportunities for the wider community to learn from and build relationships with our multicultural neighbors. Our organization extends the welcoming feeling beyond the initial period and facilitates integration and maintenance of culture.
Since April of 2014, we at MUCC have been able to give many hundreds of community members of all ages space and opportunities to study, learn, celebrate, dance, work, and serve their community. We have won several awards for community involvement through our work, through the Fort Stanwix National Monument, the Utica Zoo, and the Genesis Group. Refugees and non-refugees have experienced an entirely new world through their interactions at and with MUCC. As an information hub, we have evolved to solve problems daily for people who have fallen through the cracks. As an after-school drop-in center, we have conducted tutoring and participated in a youth employment program, and we continue to do so. Our college partnerships have provided internships and opportunities for collaboration with college faculty and students. We partner with dozens of organizations and groups to provide programs like: traditional and contemporary dance lessons, Regents prep tutoring, inter-generational reading, summer camp, wellness programs (yoga, ice skating, curling), healthy food preparation, arts and crafts, mentoring, career counseling, gardening, and camping. Finally, we have hosted or organized a multitude of artistic, musical, and cultural events that help educate and inspire people throughout the region. We have learned how to connect community members with a range of opportunities to share their stories with Utica and beyond. To stay up to date on the events in the community, check out the Events section of our Facebook page “Midtown Utica Community Center.”