Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Beyond FOUNDATIONS: Swirl: A Mixed Community

Swirl, Inc. has come a long way as a meeting place and advocacy group for people of mixed heritage. Founder Jen Chau returned home to New York City after graduating from Wellesley in 1999, grew frustrated by the lack of organizations designed to support and bring together New Yorkers of mixed heritage, and by early 2000 had established her own non-profit. Today, Swirl boasts three dynamic chapters: SwirlNewYork, SwirlBoston, and SwirlBayArea.

According to the Swirl, Inc. site, each of these chapters offers local members two to six monthly events such as dine-outs, book clubs, film screenings, discussions and panels, museum outings, family events, volunteer activities, and advocacy opportunities. Swirl listservs (one’s just for teens) boast more than 1,000 members from across the country and around the world. That feature alone makes Swirl a top resource for people of diverse backgrounds. Nothing makes one feel less alone than chatting with a thousand or so friends. Swirl members do not connect because they share ties to a single nationality or ethnic group. It’s their collective shared experiences as people of mixed heritage that unify and strengthen the entire, incredibly diverse, Swirl community.


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