EMPOWERING OUR NEIGHBORS

The Exchange House partners with organizations and leaders to provide programs, classes, and
opportunities to create the community that they want. Many of our classes have focused on empowering
immigrants to build their own skills and sense of agency. Our space is flexible and adaptable enough to
shape the environment of these empowering moments.

New Americans Safe Driving Initiative

In the summer of 2017 a group of volunteers with experience in refugee and immigrant communities in Akron’s North Hill
neighborhood came together to form the New Americans Safe Driving Initiative (NASDI). NASDI sought to remove one
obstacle to attaining a drivers’ license by offering culturally appropriate classes teaching the rules of the road
so that participants can pass the written test. The pilot taught 14 students admitted from a waiting list of fifty.
The core curriculum was based on Ohio State driving school curricula. NASDI’s work preparing the culturally appropriate
material is informed by the experience of staff working with immigrant/refugee populations. NASDI organizers expect
that effect of the program will multiply. They have observed that if one person in a family or group of
friends gets a license, that increased access to transportation positively affects all members of the
group. In addition, those who have attained their licenses have a base of knowledge they can share
that will help others in their communities obtain licenses.

Making Healthy Decisions with Planned Parenthood

Making Healthy Decisions was a randomized controlled trial evaluating Your Move, a sex education intervention.
The curricula incorporated technology and interactive videos, and empowered young women to make healthier
choices about sex. The program delivered to a group of 12 girls from North High School. The class consisted
of 75-minute sessions, each session including 60 minutes of facilitator-led group activities and 15 minutes
of interactive videos on personal tablets.

Empowering Our Neighbors

The Exchange House partners with organizations and leaders to provide programs, classes, and
opportunities to create the community that they want. Many of our classes have focused on empowering
immigrants to build their own skills and sense of agency. Our space is flexible and adaptable enough
to shape the environment of these empowering moments.

New Americans Safe Driving Initiative

In the summer of 2017 a group of volunteers with experience in refugee and immigrant communities
in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood came together to form the New Americans Safe Driving Initiative
(NASDI). NASDI sought to remove one obstacle to attaining a drivers’ license by offering culturally
appropriate classes teaching the rules of the road so that participants can pass the written test. The
pilot taught 14 students admitted from a waiting list of fifty.

Making Healthy Decisions with Planned Parenthood

Making Healthy Decisions was a randomized controlled trial evaluating Your Move, a sex education intervention.
The curricula incorporated technology and interactive videos, and empowered young women to make healthier choices
about sex. The program delivered to a group of 12 girls from North High School. The class consisted of 75-minute
sessions, each session including 60 minutes of facilitator-led group activities and 15 minutes of interactive
videos on personal tablets.

 

CULTURALLY ENRICHING MORE THAN OUR IMMEDIATE COMMUNITY

The Exchange House partners with organizations and leaders to provide programs, classes, and opportunities to create
the community that they want. Many of our classes have focused on empowering immigrants to build their own skills
and sense of agency. Our space is flexible and adaptable enough to shape the environment of these empowering moments.

On the Table Multilingual Meals

With 15 dishes of globally diverse food, over 100 people gathered in our pocket park for 11 conversations spoken in 9
languages for our On the Table Multilingual Meals. Folks talked about action steps around economic issues & poverty
and equity & social inclusion in Nepali, Dari, Arabic, Burmese, Mongolian, Swahili, Spanish, Karen, and English. We
believe in listening to all community voices about how to make our places stronger, safer, and more dynamic.

Gum-Dip Theatre

Since the beginning of 2017, GDT has produced 4 original theatre pieces and facilitated 4 story circles from within
the Exchange House including In Search of Alternative Dreams (as part of Nepali Applause festival), Namaste-WHAT?
A Nepali-American Variety Show, Imprisoned, and My North Hill. GDT’s mission is to celebrate, challenge, and invent
community identity in the Rust Belt. Through neighborhood story circles and PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN theatrical performances,
we aim to enhance civic engagement and participation. The process is focused on creatively community building through
socially engaged performance. GDT facilitates story circles to generate material for an original play.
The community is involved in every step of the process to create productions that are a source for
reflection and connection.

By the numbers 2018

32 countries represented by visitors

6 different religious / spiritual groups who use the main space

3,120 cups of coffee or tea served

250 tours led with organizations & individuals

47 community partnerships formed

144 classes taught

24 languages spoken in the house

620 unique visitors who engaged in productive dialogues like story circles & inerviews

75 hours of stage performances

435 audience members

79 hours of musical performances