Together We Can Do Better: A Message to the Community


Dear Y Family,

The death of George Floyd and recent tragic events in Minneapolis and around the country have reminded our Y that lasting, meaningful change can only be accomplished when we begin treating every individual with dignity and respect. Our fellow citizens, our friends and our neighbors all deserve to thrive. We feel the grief, the pain and frustrations of those who have lost loved ones, those who have been hurt, and those who face injustices on a daily basis.

We at the Y are listening, hearing and learning from the voices in the protests taking place nationally and here in New Jersey, who are echoing generations of systemic and societal abuse, prejudice and inequality in our country.

As a YMCA dedicated to bettering our communities, we will continue positive systemic change within our own family of staff and team members. This in turn extends to the thousands of youth and families in our communities that we currently serve.

We do not have the answers, but we will encourage dialogue to gain a deeper understanding. We will hold ourselves accountable for our own biases, whether they are conscious or not. We as an organization that strives to make true, meaningful change are sincere by starting at the roots, through a lens of diversity that truly welcomes all with equality, empathy and pride.

We will join with our community of youth and teens to explore the social injustice of today, ensuring that they become the change makers of the future. Our responsibility to our youth is to help them understand our past and to provide them the platform to chart a course of action in creating a future that embraces diversity and inclusion. We will work with our community partners and administration in working towards a more equitable and welcoming community.

The Summit Area YMCA stands for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. We have evolved as an organization since our founding in 1886 and will continue to learn and evolve while working together to ensure an equitable community for all. We are at a crossroads of historical crisis; a global pandemic, rising racial tensions, abuse of power and a growing societal divide. It is our mission, and our will, to provide a safe space for our youth to grow, our community to be healthy in mind, body and spirit and to engage all for a stronger community, stronger family and stronger self.

For a better us.

Please stay safe and be well.

In solidarity,

Paul Kieltyka
President & CEO
Summit Area YMCA

What we are actively working on to advance equity:


• Reviewed and updated hiring practices and interview questions to ensure hired staff support our YMCA values and beliefs towards diversity and inclusion

• Included diversity and inclusion values in Essential Functions of job descriptions

• Providing and reinforcing the importance of diversity and inclusion to staff and volunteers with trainings and resources

• Reviewing existing vendor resources and intentionally building business and vendor directories to include and support minority groups



• Participating in the Berkeley Heights Truth Racial Healing and Transformation Committee to work with local administration, police, school system and more to address and drive positive systemic change

• Active participant in Summit Suburban Chamber of Commerce

• Community partner with Berkeley Heights Diversity Council in hosting cultural holiday celebrations, awareness and educational workshops, discussions and more

• Connecting meaningfully with local community businesses, nonprofits, schools, Diversity Councils and more and working together to advance equity

• Providing the community with a physical and virtual space to gather for social interactions, peaceful protesting, important educational workshops, dialogues and more

• Hosted Racism, Injustice and Where to Go From Here virtual teen panel



• Providing individuals of all ages with a safe, welcoming space

• Providing resources and support for LGBTQ individuals

• Providing Mental Health Resources and support

• Providing free resources to Learn How to Stand Against Racism

• Created an online form and community directory to support local black-owned businesses

Submit a Business  View Directory




Every day we work side by side with our neighbors and community partners to strengthen community and provide opportunities for every individual to discover and reach their full potential, with dignity. View more about our dedication to Diversity and Inclusion, programs and initiatives to advance equity.

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