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avatar for Gloria Yen

Gloria Yen

University YMCA (Champaign-Urbana, IL)
Director, New American Welcome Center

Gloria Yen received a B.M. in Music History from the University of Illinois in 2011 before earning  an M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. Her commitment to working  alongside marginalized communities has led her to the fields of human development and  disability studies, black oral history, and most recently, immigrant integration. As Director of the  New American Welcome Center (NAWC) at the University YMCA, she has the great privilege of  leading a mighty team of relentless advocates in pursuit of equitable access, economic  opportunity, and meaningful belonging for immigrants in Champaign County where every 1 in 8  residents is foreign-born. 

Over the past four years, Gloria’s built upon a long legacy of welcoming at the University YMCA  – cultivating strategic collaborations and programming to address community-identified needs,  playing a central role in securing over $1.7 million in funding, and developing staff, students,  and volunteers to support resource navigation initiatives, immigration legal services, access to  justice, and community-bridge building efforts. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the NAWC  mobilized emergency rapid response efforts, using innovative outreach and service strategies to  raise and distribute over $300,000 in emergency financial assistance, create a multilingual  COVID-19 resource guide, and advocate for the inclusion of immigrant communities, regardless  of status, in local and statewide relief efforts. 

As a US DOJ Partially Accredited Representative, Gloria provides immigration legal  representation for low-income and indigent persons in Champaign County. Gloria is also an  appointed member of the Illinois Social Services Advisory Council, the Urbana Free Library  Board, and the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission’s Community Action Board. 

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