“To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.” These words make up the mission of the Y but perhaps no words are as important as the last two: For All.
Yes, it’s true the YMCA was founded as a place for Young, Christian Men to come together. But those are not the only people we have served or represented for hundreds of years. The Y has continually evolved to meet the needs of diverse communities. What started as an alternative to saloon nightlife in 1844 London grew into a bible study for young men and evolved into the global Y of today: a place where people of all genders, faiths, ethnicities, and ages come together.
The Y provides services in 119 countries world-wide and adapts to the times and populations served. Some Y’s run universities providing equitable access to higher education. Some host soup kitchens and homeless shelters or access to clean water. Others are leading the way in early education, while others are making strides serving an aging population.
The Y is a place where everyone can come together to build relationships that strengthen the fabric of our community. At the Y, people achieve goals related to their own personal journey or the collective community. Above all, everyone at the Y can find a true sense of belonging knowing they are safe and welcome.
For more than 175 years, the Y has been a source of light across the world. 2020 is no different. In a time of political, racial, and community health unrest the Y is still for all. For All means we stand with our community so every voice may be heard. For all means we unite together to correct the injustices of our collective history. For All means equity and equality. For All means listening, learning, and growing together as a community while celebrating the individuality of each of us.
The Y is for all sizes, all colors, all genders, all beliefs, all religions, all types, all people. Everyone. We join our voice to those around the world saying Black Lives Matter. We are for you. Today and always we proudly wish the LGTBQIA+ community a safe and happy pride month.
We are for you, For All.