Village Exchange Center (VEC) began as a concept in early 2016 when the faith community of St. Matthew Lutheran Church considered ways to be responsive to and serve its diversifying neighborhood and the City of Aurora. Aurora, a city of more than 20% immigrants and refugees, is among an increasing number of cities across the U.S. grappling with the challenges of welcoming the growing numbers of immigrant and refugee communities. VEC emerged as a way to address and alleviate these challenges. St. Matthew’s faith community unanimously chose to donate the building and grounds located at 1609 Havana Street in March 2017 for use by VEC. In the first two years of operations, VEC has become an anchor in the community for support and empowerment. We continue to activate the building and develop connections with and between the surrounding communities, the majority of whom are foreign-born.
Village Exchange Center is a non-profit organization formed to serve immigrants and refugees in the Aurora/Denver metro area. By providing a hub for programs, organizations, and services that support integration, engagement, and empowerment while respecting and honoring these communities’ unique traditions and values. We offer youth and adult programs and services as well as cultural and multifaith activities—both directly and through our collocated partners. As a community center and multi-faith worship space, we seek to celebrate cultural and religious diversity by creating an inclusive environment where residents from all backgrounds interact, share, and develop together.
The overarching goal is creating bridges between people and communities, both locally and globally.