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Global Village Welcome Center will host cultural immersion programs for students

School children will enjoy the center and travel around the world without ever leaving the city.

INDIANAPOLIS — Since it opened last March, thousands have come through the doors at the Global Village Welcome Center on the west side of Indianapolis.

Now, thanks to a federal grant, school children will be the next group to enjoy the center and travel around the world without ever leaving the city.

“We’ve created a place where everybody should be able to find a little bit of themselves here,” said Mary Clark, the center’s director. 

By next summer, kids in grade school will be the ones making that discovery, throughout 55,000 square feet of cultural exhibits from around the world in what used to be a Value City Furniture Store on Lafayette Road. 

“The earlier kids are exposed to different cultures, the sooner they become accepting and understanding that it’s OK if people look different,” said Clark, explaining that kids will come to the center and learn about different countries through cultural immersion workshops. 

“They come in here on a Monday and they may get to go to China and spend the whole day learning about China, whether it’s the music, the arts, the food and most certainly the culture,” she added. 

A team of educators and experts are developing the workshops right now, set to launch next summer. 

The $500,000 grant making it all possible is money from the American Rescue Plan Act. 

RELATED: Global Village Welcome Center officially opens on Indianapolis' northwest side

The funds will be spread out over two years.   

After that, Clark hopes other companies and foundations will want to step up and continue what the original seed money started. 

RELATED: Indy's Global Village Welcome Center features cultures from all over the world

“Our goal is to show our differences aren’t so different. So one day, China, the next day Nigeria, the next day Sydney, Australia. Where do you want to go?” asked Clark, smiling. 

It’s a question school kids in Indianapolis will be asking within a year. A question where every day, the answer can be different. 

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