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The Y Highlights its 2022 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts

The Y’s core values of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility and faith inspire us to ensure everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential and be authentic in all aspects of life: ability, age, cultural background, economic status, ethnicity, faith, gender, gender identity, ideology, language, national origin, political view, race, sexual orientation, etc. Together, we celebrate strong, inclusive communities FOR ALL.

In 2022, the YMCA of NWNC’s DEI committee made progress on its strategic priorities and prepared for further advancement of key areas in 2023. Progress included training, events, the launch of a new initiative, enhanced community programming and more.

DEI Training

James WhiteOn March 25, a meeting focused on DEI training was held at YMCA Camp Hanes. Over 100 YMCA of NWNC staff members heard from the vice president of leadership and curriculum development for YMCA of the North’s UnitedHealth Group Equity Innovation Center, James White.

“James gave me a new perspective on diversity and inclusion. I realized my view of diversity among my peers was limited. The workshop provided me with a broader perspective and better understanding of non-inclusive language.” - Patty Bowen, Member Experience Lead

Boys and Young Men of Color

“To build and invest in pathways to success that inspire and transform personal identities so that boys of color reach their full potential.” - National Boys and Young Men of Color (BYMOC) Vision Statement

The YMCA of NWNC works to provide young men of color with the tools they need to feel empowered and supported within the Y and their community through intentional programming and policy. In 2022, BYMOC’s key area of actions included:

Reaching Our Potential - A new YMCA of NWNC initiative that gives youth in crisis a free Y membership and access to other opportunities at the Y.
Teen Talks - Discussing topics relevant to students in partnership with community organizations.
Advocacy - Partnering with local schools and organizations to meet and network with students of color.

To learn more about the BYMOC national strategy, click here. To read how our Association has implemented the areas of focus on a local level, click here.

Reaching Our Potential

Children in our community are being recruited into gangs as early as second grade. A contributing factor to this is a lack of available safe spaces for students to be. The Y is working to combat this by providing middle and high school students with free memberships and access to our YMCAs through Reaching Our Potential, a teen referral membership program and a new YMCA of NWNC initiative. The goal is to cultivate the values, skills and relationships that lead to positive behaviors, better health and academic achievement to help teens reach their full potential.

In 11 months since its launch, the program has positively impacted our teen participants, specifically three young men who faced possible gang involvement within their neighborhoods. One of these young men is now a volunteer at the YMCA mentoring other youth and proving to be a positive example for other teens.

Click here to learn more about Reaching Our Potential.

WGW chapel doorChaplaincy

The Chaplaincy Program is one of many ways the YMCA of NWNC intentionally lives out our mission. Volunteer chaplains demonstrate the love of Jesus by serving, loving and caring for staff, members and guests. They provide support via faith-based programming, offering a listening ear and sharing encouraging words. 

  • 12 volunteer chaplains at 8 locations
  • 40 staff and volunteers attended our annual Christian Leadership Conference
  • National Day of Prayer was celebrated at multiple Y locations

Welcoming Week

Two people with I'm a Welcomer signsThe YMCA of NWNC celebrated Welcoming Week from September 9-18, and was highly successful in engaging members in various activities. During the week we celebrated the diversity of our communities, brought together newcomers and long-standing residents to build mutual understanding, and showed love to one another.

Y branches held multiple events and the Association participated in the Hispanic League’s Fiesta event. We also:

  • Completed “I’m a Welcomer” and World Map activities
  • Distributed gift cards from local immigrant-owned businesses
  • Hosted a Multicultural Fair at the Robinhood Road Family YMCA
  • Asked U.S. citizenship questions
  • Tracked miles cycled across the Association

DEI Tree

Tree made up of diversity equity inclusion words

The concept of the DEI tree derives from a need to further understand who we are and our mission: "Helping all people reach their God given potential in spirit, mind and body." A tree represents life, wisdom and power. It is essential to the environment and the healthy development of human life. The work of diversity, equity and inclusion is an essential and central part of the tree, acting as a vehicle of change from our past to our present. DEI work helps us acknowledge, understand and reckon with our past as we embody our authentic selves while engaging in the experiences of transforming our communities. 

2023 Strategic Priorities

  • Ensure the diversity of our boards reflect each community according to our established matrix.
  • Increase Association-wide DEI communication for staff, members and our communities via transparency, awareness, training and equitable practices.
  • Revive employee resource groups (ERG). These employee-led groups provide opportunities for networking, mentorship and personal and professional  development. If interested in joining an ERG, please contact the People and Culture department or a DEI leadership team member.
  • Staff diversity at all levels of our organization.
  • Continue improving our DEI Strategic Plan to meet the needs of our staff, members, volunteers and the communities we serve.
  • Develop our Transforming Teens youth program.

For more information on the YMCA of NWNC’s DEI work, click here.

Our Mission: “Helping all people reach their God-given potential in spirit, mind and body.”

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