Cleveland YMCA adds programs to focus on minorities
A grant gifted to the local YMCA will result in a focus on diversity and inclusivity.
During a Zoom meeting earlier this week community leaders along with representatives from the YMCA and Duke Energy gathered to discuss what’s in store thanks to the $25,000 grant.
The money, given by Duke Energy to the YMCA, will fund three new programs aimed at celebrating minorities.
Long-time YMCA supporter Stick Williams was one of the many faces on the call. He applauded the new efforts sprouting up after a summer of racial tension across the country.
He said diversity should be a component to bring people together, not push them apart.
“To bring the difference together, to explore, to grow and to come up with new approaches as a result,” he said.
Here’s a look at the three new programs on deck:
1. Diversity and inclusivity training
Organizers with the Cleveland County YMCA will select eight to 10 people to take diversity and inclusivity training. Those trainees will become trainers who can then lead classes in the community. The program already in place at other locations has touched more than 100,000 people, according to Lynda Gonzales with the national YMCA organization.
2. Recognizing minority leaders
This program will shine a spotlight on minority community leaders 40 years old or younger.
The hope is that such young professionals will ultimately become leaders not only in the local YMCA organization but in the community.
Cleveland County YMCA CEO Cam Corder said during the announcement that finding and recognizing these young leaders should be a community effort.
“We need to highlight young leaders in our community... not everyone walks through the doors of the YMCA,” he said.
3. Mentoring youth
Volunteers will serve as mentors not only to college and high school students but younger youth.
Shelby City Attorney Andrea Fite said she was part of a similar program called Black Achievers at the YMCA, and the program had an impact on her life and direction toward adulthood.
Corder said he’s seen success stories like Fite’s, but the crucial component is that the young professionals return home rather than move away once they earn their education.
“We need them to come back home and be future leaders in our community,” he said.