posted on 6/17/14
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The Y is all about inclusivity and embracing diversity and those values are shown through a variety of ways. Each Y has its own set of values, programs, policies, plans, membership base, and employees that shows and fosters diversity and inclusion for the segments of any given community. I mean, the Y even permeated into the pop culture scene as a place for you to be you regardless of life situations or choices.
I heard a story at a Y training about a little kid who was lost at Target. It was told by a Y employee who was grocery shopping after work and still wearing her staff shirt. The kid went up to her and asked her to help find the mom. Parent and child were eventually reunited and the kid told the mom, “I know I’m not supposed to talk to strangers but she works at the Y and there are good people there.” Talk about amazing marketing and branding. The fact that a child was able to recognize the “Y” on the shirt and connect the staff member with feelings of safety, inclusion, and fun shows how the Y can affect a community.
At the YMCA of Southern Maine, we want to make sure that we’re doing everything we possibly can to make sure that our potential and current membership base feels safe and comfortable in our facility. We have made a promise to all our employees and members that we promise to make sure everyone has the opportunity to learn, grown, and thrive at the Y because we know that is when we are strongest. We are able to do this because we value the diversity of everyone’s personal beliefs. We respect the rights to those beliefs, and we expect all to honor our core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility with one another because everything we do stems from that expectation.
This promise is going to be an important aspect of our operations as the communities and demographics around the YMCA of Southern Maine continue to grow.
We want to be a facility that everyone feels safe and included in and also want the outside communities
We are looking forward to showing our promise to inclusion and encourage other Y’s to adopt a similar promise if you so desire!
Leila became integrated into the YMCA community in August 2013 after graduating from a very small college in Indiana. Currently, she is the Aquatics Coordinator at the Greater Portland branch of the YMCA of Southern Maine. Leila spends her days working on all the staff/pool/lesson schedules, teaching lifeguard courses, and somewhat successfully maintaining precise pool temperatures even with Maine’s constantly fluctuating temperatures and weather conditions. Leila is pretty passionate about nonprofits, swimming, diversity, equality, singing, food, and cats.
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