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The Y Highlights its 2023 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts

The Y’s core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility 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 2023, the YMCA of NWNC’s DEI committee made progress on its strategic priorities and prepared for further advancement of key areas in 2024. Progress included training, events, the launch of an employee resource group, enhanced community programming and more.


Employee resource groups (ERG) provide a space for networking, mentoring, knowledge-sharing, personal and professional development, leadership enhancement, strategic input and fostering connections within our YMCA and the broader national movement.

On September 20, 2023, we launched our first employee resource group, the Women’s Leadership Resource Network (WLRN). The intent of the group is to provide a space for employees of the YMCA of NWNC who identify as women or allies, for growth, connection and support. The launch event was attended by over 40 women and allies. WLRN has since hosted a lunch session and planned events for the upcoming year.

If interested in learning more about WLRN please contact Miranda Wyatt and Carmina Eder, WLRN Co-Chairs at


Mental Health First Aid 

In August the YMCA of NWNC partnered with Partners Health Management to offer a total of three mental health trainings that were attended by 65 staff and community members. The 8-hour trainings gave participants the skills they need to reach out and provide initial support to adults or youth who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to appropriate care.

“The mental health first aid training was a great way to learn how to support our members and coworkers. We learned different ways to recognize and assess potential mental health crises and what organizations in our community are available to offer further help. I feel much more comfortable having conversations surrounding mental health and supporting those experiencing mental health crises.” 
- Jenna Patton

Poverty Simulation

In partnership with the NC Alliance of YMCAs the YMCA of NWNC hosted the North Carolina Poverty Simulation Experience at the Fulton Family YMCA on October 24. Over 150 Y leaders from across the state attended to learn more about poverty and its impact on many individuals and families across our communities.

Click here to learn more about the NC Poverty Simulation Experience.

Regional Emerging Multicultural Leadership Experience

In December, 10 staff members from our association attended the Regional Emerging Multicultural Leadership Experience (REMLE) in Roanoke, Virginia. REMLE, is a dynamic learning experience designed to help multicultural staff deepen their connection with the Y Movement, discover their potential as cause-driven leaders and grow their careers in the Y.

“I had an amazing time at REMLE! Each breakout session I attended improved my leadership skills, encouraged new ways of thinking and empowered me. It was fun and exciting to be in community with like minded individuals, who are dedicated to personal, professional and Y growth. It was an experience I will not forget and I look forward to future leadership development opportunities.” 
- Kristina Geddings


“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 2023, BYMOC’s key area of actions included:

  • Reaching Our Potential - Initiative has been expanded across the YMCA of NWNC to provide over 400 youth in crisis a free Y membership and access to other opportunities at the Y.
  • BYMOC National Conference - YMCA of NWNC staff members attended the second annual BYMOC Convening in Washington, D.C., gathering new strategies to empower our young men of color.
  • Achievers - Over $26,000 in scholarship money was awarded to youth in our Achievers program.

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

Created in 2022, Reaching Our Potential (ROP), is a teen referral membership program that provides middle and high school students with free memberships and access to our YMCAs. The goal of ROP is to provide youth with a safe space to go after school, helping to keep them away from potentially dangerous areas and situations.

In 2023, the program was further developed and expanded, altering the lives of over 400 students. Our Y’s continue to provide structured activities that allow them to place themselves where they want, at their convenience, in their safe space–be it playing basketball, doing homework or hanging out and having conversations.

Click here to hear the impact of ROP from a participant. Click here to learn more about the program.

Youth and Government

YMCA Youth and Government (YAG) is a civic program that prepares high school students for moral and political leadership by giving them the opportunity to learn about and experience government policies firsthand. Historically however, this program has not been accessible to all students–to all voices.

Through the utilization of a grant from United Way, partnerships with organizations like Dress for Success, and a dedicated team of individuals, the YMCA of NWNC was able to remove the cost and preparation barriers associated with YAG to establish a new delegation at Carver High School.

During the YAG conference’s closing session, Carver High School was named the recipient of the Model Delegation award. As the newest and one of the most diverse delegations, these students were elected by their peers as exemplifying the Y’s core values and as deserving of the highest accolade awarded to any participating delegation. They were seen, heard and overcame–becoming agents of change.

To read the Carver delegation’s full story click here.


The YMCA of NWNC celebrated Welcoming Week from September 8-17. 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.

In 2022, the Robinhood Road Family YMCA held a successful Multicultural Fair during Welcoming Week. To expand the impact in 2023, Multicultural Fairs were held at the Robinhood Road, Kernersville, William G. White, Jr. and Yadkin Family YMCAs. We also:

  • Participated in the Hispanic League’s Fiesta event
  • Completed “I’m a Welcomer” and World Map activities
  • Held Latin, Samba and African Dance classes
  • Asked U.S. citizenship questions


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.

  • We have 16 volunteer chaplains at 9 branch locations
  • 85 staff and volunteers attended our annual Christian Leadership Conference
  • National Day of Prayer was celebrated at 10 Y locations across our association 
  • Our veterans were celebrated with meals and fellowship on Flag Day


The Y saw some exciting internal changes during 2023! Check out some key highlights.

Parental Leave

Maternity leave has been expanded, allowing mothers to rest and bond with their new family member while using significantly less vacation and/or sick leave.

Non-Birthing Parent/Adoption Leave

Recognizing the importance of the support and bonding time required to welcome a new family member, we created our first policy for non-birthing parents.

Additional Holidays

The only days our Y branches close are on Thanksgiving, Christmas day and Easter Sunday. Now, full-time staff no longer have to use their accrued time-off when those holidays take place during the work week, the Y will automatically cover those days, giving our employees one to two more days off in a year.


Our health plan, time-off accrual, short-term disability and long-term disability eligibility begins on day one of employment. Eliminating the waiting period allows new hires to have a seamless transition into Y employment.

Improved Board Diversity

Our Association Board’s diversity has improved with a 6% increase in female representation and an 11% increase in non-white representation. Branch board diversity has also improved across our association with boards now more closely reflecting their communities. In 2024, we will continue to educate and diversify our boards.


After a successful 2023, we are excited for the year ahead and look forward to continuing our DEI efforts.


In 2024, we plan to offer a variety of trainings for our staff including:

  • Teen mental health training
  • Dimensions of Diversity
  • Cultural Lenses 
  • First Aid
  • National Emerging Multicultural Leadership Experience

Employee Resource Groups

We are prepped for the continued success of WLRN and are excited to launch additional ERGs in the coming year.

Internal Mentorship Program

Desiring to improve staff diversity at all levels of our organization, the Emerging Leaders Mentorship Program is designed to develop leadership and applicable job skills in a manner that is consistent with the YMCA mission and core values of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility and faith. The program goal is to advance career development in our full-time director to executive leadership positions in our Association and across the Y Movement, build relationships and retain staff who identify as part of a marginalized population.

Partnerships and Community Engagement

Connecting with our communities is integral to the Y and our mission. We aim to continue being part of impactful conversations, attending meaningful events, and partnering with organizations that are crucial to the betterment of our community including Winston-Salem State University and Novant Health.

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.”



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