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Ribbon-Cutting Celebration of the Charles W. Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center Headquarters in Wheaton

For Immediate Release: Saturday, April 7, 2018

A ribbon-cutting ceremony today opened the Charles W. Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center located at 11002 Veirs Mill Road, Suite 506, in Wheaton. The event marked the official opening of the new facility and served to celebrate its volunteers’ contributions.

County Executive Ike Leggett was joined by County Council Vice President Nancy Navarro, Councilmembers Roger Berliner and George Leventhal, Office of Community Partnerships Director Bruce Adams, Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center Director Kaori Hirakawa, and members of the community. 

“For many of our newest residents, the Gilchrist Center is their first step on the road to prosperity. Whether they have come to study, to be with family, or to flee repression or violence, the Gilchrist Center has provided a warm and welcoming environment for more than 16 years,” said County Executive Ike Leggett.

The Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center’s new space is conveniently located in the Westfield South Building in the Wheaton Westfield Mall, a few minutes’ walk from the Wheaton Metro Station. The space includes three classrooms, a meeting room and office space for staff.

Our classes and services, provided by dedicated volunteers and staff, offer clients a jumpstart so that they can contribute their skills and talents and become fully engaged contributors to life in Montgomery County,” said Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center Director Kaori Hirakawa.

The Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center is Montgomery County’s welcome center for immigrants where diverse communities are connected with educational, economic, and civic resources.  It is named after Montgomery County’s second elected County Executive who served from 1978 to 1986. County Executive Gilchrist was one of the most important architects of our modern multicultural Montgomery County.

The Center has three other locations in Gaithersburg, Germantown and East County, providing culturally competent information and referral services, classes and programs to support residents through partnerships and volunteers.  As part of the services offered, County immigrants can obtain information and referrals to programs and services offered by government agencies and community organizations, strengthen their life skills through English and basic computer classes, and increase their knowledge to prepare for civic life and/or U.S. citizenship. The Gilchrist Center has been at the center of Montgomery County’s effort to be among the most welcoming communities in the United States.

In fiscal year 2017, the Gilchrist Center served 9,730 residents through volunteer-taught classes, 8,889 residents through information and referral services, and 3,234 residents through programs offered by partner organizations.

The Center other locations are as follows: Gaithersburg Library, 18330 Montgomery Village Avenue, Second Floor, Gaithersburg MD 20879; Upcounty Regional Services Center, 12900 Middlebook Road, Suite 1100, Germantown, MD 20874; and East County Regional Services Center, 3300 Briggs Chaney Road, Silver Spring, MD 20904.

For more information about the Charles W. Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center, including hours of operation, upcoming classesand a “Quick Start Guide for Immigrants in Montgomery County, MD” in seven languages, visit

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Media contact:  Lorna Virgili, 240-777-6507

Release ID: 18-505
Media Contact: Lorna Virgili 240-777-6507