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!
About Employee Resource Groups
YMCA of Central Florida Employee Resource Groups (henceforth ERGs) are employee-led network groups that seek to provide a space for the support, networking, and development of YMCA professionals from various cultures and/or different experiences. By sharing and leveraging experiences to create community inside and outside the four walls of the Y. Resources and tools position Team Members to advance in their professional career through coaching, mentorship, and networking.
ERGs are Team Member lead groups who share a common focus. Whether it’s gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation, lifestyle, or interest. The ERGs exist to provide support and help in personal or career development and to create a safe space where Team Members can bring their whole selves to the table. Allies may also be invited to join the ERG to support their colleagues.
African-American Resource Network (AARN)
The African-American Resource Network strives to empower and embrace Black team members. By highlighting values and promoting our cultural heritage, we are creating initiatives to promote anti-racism and cultivate quality leadership and educational support. Through a unique approach to cultural advocacy and community outreach, we are elevating black influence in the Central Florida Y.
Asian Pacific Islander Resource Network
The YMCA of Central Florida Asian Pacific Islander ERG is comprised of API team members can bring their whole selves to work and be valued and receive support to reach their fullest potential; a diverse community that affirms the contributions of and supports each individual; a community that celebrates each other and stands up for each other. Ensuring API team members have access to the support and capacity building they need to reach their fullest potential at the Y. Our goal is to advance the development of Asian and Pacific Islanders by empowering their rise in the Movement through advocacy, networking, and mentoring.
The Emerging Leaders ERG is an employee-led network that aims to give YMCA employees from various cultures and/or backgrounds a place for support, networking, and professional growth.
Hispanic Latino Leadership Network
The mission of the Hispanic/Latino ERG is to develop a network of Y team members and promote the cultural diversity and professional development of its members, thereby creating a supportive environment for the Latino/Hispanic community and contributing to the success of YMCA of Central Florida’s mission.
LGBTQ+ Resource Network
The LGBTQ+ ERG aims to create a brave, inclusive, and affirming environment for all YMCA Team Members and volunteers regardless of biological sex, physical or emotional attraction, and expression of gender identity. We are open to all team members committed to taking a stand to ensure LGBTQ employees are treated equitably.
Women’s Leadership Resource Network
Through education and inspiration, with the support of our allies, we come together to build community and promote the advancement of women in leadership.
Learn More About Our ERGs
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
2021 Taking the Pledge
The YMCA of Central Florida has taken the pledge alongside other educational institutions, nonprofits, and organizations in the greater Orlando area to acknowledge and dismantle systemic racism and its barriers that negatively affect our communities.
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.