Remaining Steadfast to Our Mission & Core Values | Letter to the Community


Summit Area YMCA Community and Friends:

For the past several years I have had the honor to represent our community and YMCA in Washington, D.C. at National YMCA Advocacy Days. These few days a year were an opportunity to meet our elected officials in their Capitol offices and discuss how the Y can partner in a myriad of ways to strengthen the communities we are privileged to serve. The days are full of friendship, unity and plenty of discussions on how our Y stands for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

The attack on the US Capitol this week was a direct antithesis of the core values that we as the Y stand for: caring, responsibility, respect and honesty. These values are not only inherent in our incredible team of staff and volunteers but bleed through in how we serve ALL of our members, establish our strategic focus and deliver the programs and services with the level of care and respect that you all have expected from our Y since 1886.

Furthermore, our organizational commitment to Diversity, Inclusion and Global initiatives reminds all of us that we must remain steadfast in our mission to creating a culture in which diversity and inclusion are integral to everyday operations. Our Y will empower communities through access to the support and connections all people need to learn, grow, and thrive. Through welcoming, inclusive practices and environments, we will welcome and engage all people from all diverse groups of the community to help and impact lasting, meaningful change.

We will continue to invest in our youth and teens and look for them to leadership. We shall never fail to be inspired by the confidence, optimism and pure brilliance that our youth brings to the table. The experiences of pandemics, social injustice and inequalities across broad spectrums are opportunities for learning, unlearning, healthy debates and calls to action. We are proud to provide a forum for our future leaders to become the change makers that we will need for today and tomorrow.

The Summit Area YMCA is dedicated to creating safe, inclusive and welcoming environments for all. We are forever learning, evolving and adapting to be the best version of ourselves to serve you, our community. Though we may be living through tumultuous times, I am filled with a sense of hope in that this shall bolster our resolve to not only continue holding faith in our core values, but to continue to model what is right and to the important work we do on a daily basis, for a stronger community, for a better us.  


Paul Kieltyka
President & CEO
Summit Area YMCA



View more information and resources about our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion:

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What we are actively working on to increase equity within our organization and/or community:

• 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

• Reviewing existing vendor resources and intentionally building business and vendor directories to include and support local black-owned businesses

• 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

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

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

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

• Providing resources and support for LGBTQ individuals

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