Taps eight young leaders to implement strategies to build more diversity in its leadership ranks.

In advance of its annual Welcoming Week celebration, the YMCA of Metro North made a commitment to intensify its efforts to build a diverse pipeline of young leaders in the association. Eight young staff members were tapped for its newly announced Diversity, Inclusion, and Global Engagement (DIG) Team. The DIG Team will focus on increasing diversity in leadership positions, recruiting and retention of diverse staff, culturally competent member and staff engagement, and effective collaboration techniques with organizations serving vulnerable populations.

“Diversity and inclusion work is tremendously important to us here at the YMCA of Metro North and to all YMCAs around the nation,” said Andrea Pirela, Aquatics Director at the Torigian YMCA. “The only way to come together as a community and as a team is to continue to have tough conversations about social injustices. Creating a safe space for all to be welcome is an essential key to success, and keeping in mind always that actions speak louder than words.”

The DIG Team will launch its first initiative during the YMCA’s annual Welcoming Week events to celebrate the diversity of our communities by making the YMCA a place that welcomes everyone, including immigrants, refugees, and other people who often excluded from access to community-based spaces and resources. Welcoming Week is celebrating by thousands of YMCA branches across the country.

“Growing up in Lynn, I see people from all ethnicities and walks of life every day,” said CJ Jeanmary, Youth Sports Director at the Lynn YMCA. “The Y has always informally provided safe spaces for all, formalizing this group is saying we will intentionally support our communities as we all navigate through these challenging times. Meeting the needs of our communities is Y work, and this group has the potential to provide opportunities to all in a place that is home to so many.”

Welcoming Week activities will take place September 12-20 across the YMCA of Metro North branches in Lynn, Melrose, Saugus, and Peabody. Activities will include spaces for people to share their backgrounds and lived experiences, a flag celebration with a variety of nationalities, sharing recipes across people with different ethnicities, and more. The DIG Team will continue its work throughout the year to provide more opportunities to celebrate diversity and inclusion and set diversity and leadership goals for the association to track its progress and report to the public on its efforts.

“Tensions are on the rise in so many regions and we need to be more accountable to our community for creating spaces where people feel a sense of inclusion, belonging, and safety,” said Paul Mantell, Vice President of Human Resources. “Racial violence and anti-immigrant sentiments are raging across the country and the Y must continue to be a force that brings people from all races, backgrounds, and life circumstances together for the better.”


September 12 – 20 – Step into our lobby photo booth where you can take fun photos with props that represent “Welcome” in different languages.  Hold our “I’m a Welcomer” sign and let us know how you welcome diversity and inclusion in your community.

September 12 – 20 – Y Academy students will submit recipes from their families and cultures across the globe.  All recipes will be compiled into a “Taste of Diversity Cookbook” that we will pass out to Lynn YMCA members.

September 18th – For “Flag Day Pride” our lobby will be decked out with different flags from all over the world to represent the diversity of our members.

Melrose YMCA

September 12-20 – All week, the Melrose YMCA will display an interactive map in the lobby with photos of families that make up its membership, a pre-recorded cooking demonstrations will be broadcast, and fitness instructors will integrate explanations of the cultural significance and origins of a variety of group fitness classes.

Saugus YMCA

September 12-20 – Members will be asked to share stories from their cultural backgrounds to be displayed in the lobby. Daily cultural facts from different countries will be shared and a representation map with stickers for people to stop and mark the country or state of their heritage will be posted in the lobby.

Torigian YMCA in Peabody

September 12-20 – Join us in the lobby of the Torigian YMCA to celebrate the diversity of our members and the community.  Sign our Citizen Day Celebration Board, where you can write down the date you celebrate your naturalization citizenship date.  Or participate in our Culturally Fun Fact Board where you can write down a sentence about your naturalization citizenship date.  We will also provide resources about voter registration and options for casting your ballot in the upcoming November 3rd election.