We Are One
Here in San Francisco, we believe that acts of kindness can make a sizeable impact on the greater good.
At the Y, we aim to ensure that every segment of society can access the Y at all levels and we work for every Y to be welcoming and inclusive to all stakeholders, including youth participants, members, staff, and volunteers.
Our Work Towards Inclusion
This fall, the YMCA of San Francisco was honored with the “Affirming Y” status award for our inclusive policies for LGBTQ community members, participants, volunteers, and staff. We received this award from the Y USA National LGBTQ Employee Resource Network. We join more than 50 Y’s (including our southern Bay Area neighbors, the YMCA of Silicon Valley) from around the US that have reviewed their HR policies to determine they are welcoming, partnering, advocating, and affirming.
We received our Affirming status along with these other YMCAs:
Last month, we went a step further toward making our building facilities more inclusive.
At our Stonestown Family YMCA branch in San Francisco’s Sunset District, their six-month, 5 million dollar renovation included new gym equipment, new exercise studios, an upgraded reception area, and an all-gender restroom. Sharing kindness at our Y’s means respecting people’s identities.
Senior Executive Director at the Stonestown Family YMCA, Josh Leonard, recognizes the changing needs of our communities and addressed them in their grand opening ceremony on November 18.
“We serve some of humanities’ oldest needs (the need for connection, health, civic service, education, and growth), but we must adapt to find new programming and approaches to meeting these old needs.”
Read more of Josh’s speech.
This month, Our San Francisco YMCA branches are sharing kindness by training all staff on how to have supportive and welcoming conversations with members of the LGBTQ community and collaborate with them on creating a supportive Y experience.
Former President and CEO of the YMCA of the USA, Neil Nicoll, recognizes the importance of inclusion in our organization:
“There is a place in the YMCA for everyone. It is the knitting together of our individual gifts that makes this such a special movement. To omit some is to weaken the potential for good that is part of the YMCA’s DNA. A healthy, vibrant YMCA is an inclusive YMCA.”
A Place for All
“It feels healing and encouraging working for an organization that continues to prioritize the Y as a place for all,” said San Francisco Embarcadero YMCA Inclusion Coordinator, Dylan Martin.
As LGBTQ individuals continue to thrive across the US and live in areas near YMCA’s, it is essential that the Y is, and always will be, a place where people from all walks of life are welcome and where they can learn, grow, and thrive together. For the Y, sharing kindness means creating meaningful, lasting change for the years to come.