DENTON — Program coordinator Angel Perez was excited about the turnout to the Caroline County Family YMCA welcome week kick off that happened on 109 Market Street in downtown Denton.

“It is all about diversity, inclusion and respect,” Perez said.

Judging through that lens, the event was a success, he added.

On the Caroline County Family YMCA website it says, “Today’s Welcoming Week question is ‘How do you promote unity in your community?’”

They did an interesting thing to push the message of welcome.

“As part of welcoming week we have folks take pictures with forms that say why they are a welcomer,” said the Y’s Facebook page.

“Thank you to everyone that came out to our Welcoming Week Kick-Off tonight! Thank you to our sponsors, speakers, and elected officials for taking time to support Welcoming Week and the kick-off. This week is about diversity and inclusion and working to make communities stronger by standing together with one another!!! Stay tuned for more Welcoming Week events going on throughout Caroline County this week!” reads the Facebook page.

Sponsors of the event included Shore United Bank, Choptank Electric Trust, Tenchi Spanish American Kitchen in Greensboro and Niche’s Coffee Shop.

There were also dignitaries in attendance: Shelly Kulp of CASA of Caroline; Brian Byrnes, Caroline County Family YMCA Executive Director; Anthony Casey, Town of Ridgely Commissioner; Angel Perez, Caroline County Family YMCA Program Coordinator, Wilbur Levengood, Caroline County Commissioner, Senator Adelaide Eckardt, and Larry Porter, Caroline County Commissioner.

Keith Johnson of Denton said, “From those conversations with Angel at the Y how much he is willing to serve the community. Meeting with, communicating with, and embracing other people with open hearts and open ears. Accept them for who they are and who they want to be. A community strives to work together, we learn together. We can reflect together and begin to embrace the differences among each of us rather than exclude or dismiss the views of others.”

Another community stakeholder wanted to speak.

Shelley Culp of CASA of Caroline said,”Being inclusive and caring for the most vulnerable among us, all of us need to know that we can be that person that makes a difference to a family that is looking for a home.”

“I have heard that Caroline County is one of the poorest in the state. But what these people don’t know is that this is a community rich in diversity, kindness, care, culture, race, inclusion, respect and tolerance,” Perez said.

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