Immigrant Welcome Center opens in Aurora school building this month

AURORA — A centralized resource hub for refugees living in Aurora will take up residence at a former Aurora Public Schools building at the end of the month.

The Immigrant Welcome Centerwas formed through the cooperation of several organizations that were looking for a way to actively integrate newcomers to the country, and to Aurora, at a single location.

The result is a nonprofit welcome center where people can take English, parenting and leadership classes, get citizenship support and find legal and other referrals.

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Aurora Public Schools offered up one of its recently vacated administrative buildings on Peoria Street and East 11th Avenue for a reduced lease rate for three years, and the city accepted.

Roberto Venegas, an Aurora assistant city manager, said the approximately 3,000-square-foot space will house partner groups like Rights for All People, the Lowry Family Center, the Denver Foundation’s Strengthening Neighborhoods Program, Focus Points Family Resource Center, El Centro Humanitario, and the Colorado African Organization.

Some of the organizations will offer services in a satellite capacity because of limited space.

“There will be various levels of presence,” Venegas said. “This is just a start; it’s certainly not everything that we’ll have, especially as more space becomes available.” He said Aurora Mental Health is also considering a partnership with the welcome center.

Some start-up money for the move will be provided by the Buck Foundation, the Denver Foundation and merged funds from Rights for All People, Venegas said.

Councilwoman Sally Mounier said there are 34 percent foreign-born citizens in Ward 1, where the welcome center will be. In fact, one in five people who live in Aurora were born in another country.

During a study session Monday, council voted to appoint a new full-time representative to the welcome center’s advisory board in January. That advisory board has seven members now.

City staff is in the process of finalizing a governing board of directors for the welcome center out of representatives from the partner organizations.

Megan Mitchell: 303-954-2650, or

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Immigrant Welcome Center opens in Aurora school building this month
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