The YMCA of Western North Carolina has been named an LGBTQ Championing YMCA by the YMCA of the USA in recognition of its diversity and inclusion work in the LGBTQ community.
“This honor is the highest honor your Y can achieve on the LGBTQ Inclusion Scale, and it is not easy to attain,” said James Spearin, senior vice president of youth development at the YMCA of Greater Kansas City and LGBTQ Resource Network Chair. “You are part of a small but prestigious group of YMCAs leading this country with your inclusion work. You are lifting up very important conversations, valuing differences and life-long learning, and your Y’s work is a significant reason your community continues to make dramatic progress toward the full inclusion of all people.”
The recognition was presented at the Y-USA Employee Resource Group, Diversity Inclusion Leadership Council, and Emerging Multicultural Leadership Experience conferences in Dallas last month.
The YMCA of WNC is a member of Y-USA’s Diversity and Inclusion Global Innovation Network, and is dedicated to creating a welcoming culture for all, said Paul Vest, president and CEO.
“The YMCA of Western North Carolina is honored by this recognition, but it goes much deeper than that,” Vest said. “Our commitment to welcoming all starts with our staff, and I salute our staff-led efforts to make diversity and inclusion a priority at all levels.”
One staff member leading those efforts is Tina Weaver, director of program development. “This ERG has given staff a safe space to vocalize concerns and the confidence to know that our association is working to be more inclusive for all segments of our community,” Weaver said. “The YMCA of WNC’s development of its first ERG was historic. We’ll be expanding this work with more ERGs, including a Multicultural ERG to begin in January.”