SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – Each person has their own identity that makes them who they are. And everyone helps build the community of Sioux Falls. For the past 25 years, a local organization has worked to ensure that all members of the community feel a sense of belonging.
Throughout Sioux Falls, you will notice people from different cultures and backgrounds. This diversity will only increase as the city welcomes more people.
For 25 years, the Multicultural center served as a place where people can learn, celebrate and share the diversity of the community.
âSioux Falls is growing so rapidly, we see so much diversity in our community and the fact that our organization has not only been around for 25 years, but is thriving, shows that there is a need for the programs and resources that we give into the community, âsaid Kadyn Wittman, Director of Development and Marketing.
The Multicultural Center was founded in November 1996.
It all started with a discussion between several people passionate about helping others.
âThere was a wave at that point, the county and state were all saying ‘we need the resources, what are we going to do’, and so it was born out of that, so we asked several members of the community to join us, who had a passion to make a difference for children and families, âsaid Janell Mills, one of the founders of the Multicultural Center.
Janell Mills is one of the original founders.
âIt was necessary to understand how to help all these families who arrive, how to help them to belong, to have a feeling of belonging to the community so that they are not separated, because know that when we work together, the community is louder, âMills said.
Today, a quarter of a century later, the organization still makes a difference. It offers a variety of programs and resources for community members.
âWe have over 20 interpreters on staff and we offer translations in over 25 different languages ââand these services are used by hospitals, healthcare professionals, lawyers, the judiciary, the police, really every once there is a language barrier, we are one of the first people who get the call to bring a translator or interpreter on site, âsaid Wittman.
The organization also does community outreach and has a workforce development program.
âClients come in, meet a program coordinator who can walk them through everything from creating a resume, teaching them how to apply for jobs online, preparing for interviews, and we also provide designer clothing. Free maintenance in our career closet, âsaid Wittman.
Over the past 25 years, diversity in Sioux Falls has grown, according to Wittman, more than 140 languages ââare spoken in the city.
âWe know our school systems are very diverse, I think 40% of the students in school right now are considered minorities, and then with organizations and businesses like Smithfield like the Amazon fulfillment center opening up, we are going to see a lot of things. various community members joining Sioux Falls, âsaid Wittman.
This summer, the Multicultural Center will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Festival of Cultures.
âPeople who may not have been traditionally exposed to other cultures or ethnicities, they can go and learn more about themselves and taste food from different cultures, see entertainment from different cultures, they can buy produced to people who are not from Sioux Falls. or South Dakota, âWittman said.
While Wittman says they look forward to this event this summer, she also looks forward to what the future holds.
“I would like to expand our programs, I know a very hot topic right now in Sioux Falls is child care, I would like to explore what child care would look like across our organization, I want to expand our workforce development program, âWittman said. .
A place where everyone is welcome.
“It seems like today there are so many divisions, so many things that separate us, that we can have one place that says it doesn’t matter where you are from, what you look like, what your color is of skin, the clothes you wear, you are welcome here and we will celebrate you, âsaid Mills.
Later that month, the Multicultural Center would celebrate its 25th anniversary with an anniversary celebration, but decided to cancel due to COVID-19. For more information on the organization and future events, click here.