What is the Immigrant Welcome Center?

The Immigrant Welcome Center of Indianapolis is a resource for the growing community of immigrant newcomers to Indianapolis. Through Natural Helpers and community partners, the Immigrant Welcome Center connects newcomers to the resources, services, and opportunities they need to fully participate in the economic, civic, social and cultural life of the community.

Who are Natural Helpers?

As the name implies, Natural Helpers are caring people who community members "naturally" turn to for help. Because they live and work in the communities they serve, Natural Helpers are culturally-sensitive and more likely to reach isolated families who may be facing challenges in meeting their basic needs.

Can I become a Natural Helper?

To qualify as a Natural Helper, you must be multilingual, have access to a computer and an e-mail address that is checked regularly, and be willing to:

  • Volunteer to serve in your community
  • Attend classes for a mandatory 28-hour training program (classes are held on weekends)
  • Attend ongoing bimonthly workshops (held on weeknights from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.)
  • File confidential reports online about your volunteer time

While the following are not requirements to become a Natural Helper, it also is helpful if you are:

  • An immigrant to the United States OR have an understanding of the unique situations faced by immigrant newcomers
  • Willing to be available in the evenings and on weekends to assist with emergency requests or needs
  • Connected within your community and knowledgeable of public and local services

The Immigrant Welcome Center has plans to train two classes of volunteer Natural Helpers each year. Class size is limited to 12. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a Natural Helpers, please contact Dulce Vega at (317) 808-2326 or click here to email.

How else can I support the Immigrant Welcome Center?

There are many ways to support the Immigrant Welcome Center. Consider become a volunteer or Natural Helper, make a donation of money or time or provide an in-kind gift of products or services. From Natural Helpers and community partners to corporate donors and civic leadership, we collectively can make Indianapolis a more vibrant and welcoming community! For more information, visit the Get Involved page.

Are you a 501(c)(3)?

The Immigrant Welcome Center received 501(c)(3) status in 2006. Donations to the Immigrant Welcome Center are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

What is the immigrant population of Indianapolis?

According to the 2000 United States census, the population in Indianapolis has grown by approximately 40,000 residents. Immigrants account for 44% of this population increase.  Updated figures from the 2010 Census show that Indianapolis continues to attract a diverse population of people.  While the metropolitan Indianapolis population grew by 15.2 percent in the last decade, the Asian population more than doubled and the number of Hispanic-Latino residents increased by approximately 64,000 people.

Nearly half of the newcomers to Indianapolis come from Latin American countries. Europe and Asia also are source regions. The top five countries of origin for Hoosier immigrants as of 2009 are Mexico, China, India, Germany and Korea. But newcomers arrive from every country you can imagine. Since 2000, Indianapolis has welcomed immigrants from Sierra Leone and Burma to Slovakia and Ireland, from Russia and Taiwan to Micronesia and Australia.

Do you provide services to undocumented immigrants?

The Immigrant Welcome Center does not directly provide services and does not deal in immigration enforcement issues. Natural Helpers connect newcomers to agencies, organizations, or clinics and are not required to ask a newcomer about his or her status. We will help any immigrant in need, regardless of legal status.

How can I receive services? How do I contact a Natural Helper?

If you have arrived recently in Indianapolis from your country of origin and need assistance in meeting your basic needs, please call Dulce Vega at (317) 808-2326 to be connected with a Natural Helper from your country of origin if possible. Para recibir ayuda en espa˝ol, favor de llamar al numero (317) 808-2339.

Natural Helpers can help connect you with resources in Indianapolis for:

  • Health care
  • Legal services
  • Social services
  • Government agencies
  • Public transportation
  • Public education
  • Public safety resources
  • Housing resources
  • Domestic violence advocates
  • Financial aid
  • Employment and training services
  • And more

How can my organization become a Community Partner?

The Immigrant Welcome Center relies on its relationships in the community for advice and guidance in addressing the needs of immigrant newcomers as they establish their new lives in Indianapolis. If you are interested in becoming a community partner or learning more about how to serve immigrant newcomers, please contact Terri Morris Downs at (317) 808-2340 or click here to email.