WAUKEE, Iowa -- The Waukee YMCA said in their branch, one out of every six members identifies as a race other than Caucasian. This week they, along with 700 other YMCAs across the country, are celebrating that diversity with some special events.
For “Welcoming Week” each of the 10 branches of the YMCA of Greater Des Moines will be hosting a series of event and activities celebrating the diversity in their community and bring people together.
“There’s studies that say that social isolation is harmful to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and for some people the environment like the YMCA isn’t something they feel comfortable integrating in or they need invitation or they need to know that they’re going to be accepted so for us to reach out to our community and just to share hey the YMCA is a place for everyone, can help people’s health,” Waukee Family YMCA Executive Director Eric Kress said.
On Sunday the Waukee YMCA is hosting a free open house with different activities like cricket, Bollywood dancing, yoga and you can watch the movie Coco while you float in the pool.
All week they have different crafts for kids like decorating a paper dolls with diverse cultural attire. There are welcome signs where people can write why they feel it’s important to welcome different people into their community.
“Everybody has unique skills, talents, there’s so many challenges in our communities these days and we can’t afford to not have people with great ideas and things to offer to help strengthen our community not be represented,” Kress said.
Something that is in almost every YMCA is a giant map of the world where people can place a pin on their native country.
“So much power and strength can come from a community and being able to share where you came from and what led you to become the person that you are today,” Kress said.
And this Friday and Saturday at the downtown Wellmark YMCA, anyone can stop by free-of-charge.