The Summit Area YMCA is more than a swim and gym. It is more than a childcare center. It is more than a nonprofit organization. It is a welcoming, safe, inclusive and globally diverse environment.

For the past 2 years, the Summit Area YMCA has been recognized as one of only 74 Y’s in the country with a Diversity and Inclusion and Global Innovation initiative. Our Y is made up of people from all walks of life who are joined together by a shared commitment to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. To be truly inclusive and welcoming to all, it is critical to understand the many factors that make up and influence an individual and their personality. We train our staff in many areas, and inclusivity is one of them. The Y works on 3 pillars: Healthy Living, Youth Development and Social Responsibility. We work each and every day to see that these pillars are upheld and sturdy in foundation.

Becoming a DIG (Diversity, Inclusion and Global) Innovation Y strengthened our social responsibility pillar in many ways- from us holding more global celebrations (Holi Festival at Summit Y, Diwali and Lunar New Year at Berkeley Heights Y, International Week at TLC) to creating more Special Needs programming to training staff with an LGBTQ Safe Space training. We are constantly trying to advance our DIG work to benefit our communities. We refrain from using politics or any outside influences, to ensure that we are following the Y’s mission and DIG initiative mission statements.

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With the resources that the Berkeley Heights Y, Summit Y and The Learning Circle have, we have the ability to work together with our staff, our members and our communities to welcome, serve and educate people in addition to being a community haven for health, wellness and youth development. Together we work to ensure everyone regardless of ability, age, race, sexual orientation, background, faith, income or ethnicity has a chance to thrive and reach their full potential, and that is our social responsibility.

Here’s to being an us, instead of a them.