Here For All Our Neighbors
At the YMCA of Central Florida, we exist to improve the lives of all of everyone in spirit, mind, and body. Guided by our core values of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, and faith, we work alongside people of all ages and from every walk of life. Through increased diversity and inclusion, we aspire to continue to strengthen our community and make sure that everyone has the same opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive.
As our Central Florida region continues to rapidly grow and change, we are committed to embrace and celebrate the rich diversity within each other and across the hundreds of distinct neighborhoods, towns and cities we serve so that all feel welcome and all feel they belong at the Y. Below are some of the efforts the Y is undertaking as part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
The YMCA has a longstanding history of advocating for those in need of support.
We established the Diversity and Inclusion Global (DIG) Committee to hold ourselves accountable and stay in-the-know about the necessary work required to help us continuously bridge divides and foster mutual respect. DIG is comprised of Y staff from a variety of programs, locations, and levels within our organization. They serve as subject matter experts and champion diversity and global processes and behaviors!
DIG Committee Guiding Principles
- Recognize and value all dimensions of diversity within the global YMCA movement through learning exchanges, volunteerism, and philanthropy.
- Connect and build bridges between diverse individuals, groups, and communities.
- Champion multicultural understanding and the development of globally-minded YMCA leaders at home and abroad.
- Lead interpersonal and community engagement with empathy.
- Understand the needs and wants of all segments of the community; develop solutions that ensure the greatest possible inclusion.
- Promote the safe exchange of ideas, beliefs, and perspectives at the local, national, and global levels.
Diversity and Inclusion activities, events, and programs throughout the years
2020 Taking a Stand Against Bias
In these pivotal times we’re facing together, the Y’s role as a community builder is needed more than ever. We know we still have work to do to fulfill our commitment to equality and inclusion. We need to listen, we need to understand, we need to learn, and we need to act. Our DIG Committee is conducting internal assessments on mitigating bias and holding discussions to understand differing perspectives.
2019 Coming Together with our community
In June, staff and volunteers from the Y participated in the CommUNITY Rainbow Run which celebrates inclusion while honoring those whose lives were taken in the Pulse tragedy.
During the fall, we expanded our Welcome Weeks to take place at 16 YMCAs! Hosted every year in September, Welcome Week celebrates immigrants and their contributions to the social fabric of our country.
2018–2019 Expanding our training
Through the efforts of the DIG committee, the YMCA of Central Florida was one of just 10 Ys in the nation to receive the LGTBQ Inclusion and Equity Initiative grant in 2018 and again in 2019 which provided funding to support the ongoing training of Y staff in support of the LGTBQ equality within our community. Additionally, some Y staff traveled internationally to further learn about methods to strengthen our diversity and inclusion efforts.
2018 Starting Welcome Week
In September 2018 we hosted our first ever Welcoming Week at five YMCA locations. Created by the YMCA of the USA’s national partner Welcoming America, “Welcome Week” celebrates the growing movement of communities that fully embrace newcomer immigrants and their contributions to the social fabric of our country.
2017 GAINING NATIONAL RECOGNITION
In 2017, the YMCA of Central Florida was recognized by Y-USA as a Diversity Inclusion, and Global Innovation YMCA and formed a Diversity & Inclusion Global (DIG) Committee comprised of a diverse cross-section of Y staff. Additionally, our Y staff traveled to an international location to learn from other cultures about how to continue to bridge communities together culturally.
2013 LAUNCHING EMERGING GLOBAL LEADERS
To aid in advancing our understanding and support of inclusion and diversity at the Y, we launched the Emerging Global Leaders Initiative through the YMCA of the USA in 2013. Through this program, designed to prepare young staff as culturally competent and globally responsible leaders, YMCA of Central Florida staff traveled alongside other Y staff to an international location where they were immersed in learning from other cultures and from each other.
The YMCA of Central Florida’s Diversity & Inclusion initiative aligns with the Y’s longstanding commitment to serve all segments of society. We’re compelled by our mission to serve and love our neighbors as ourselves.