This last year was one of great resilience and perseverance. It’s crucial for the lessons we learned during the pandemic to stay with us. We now understand how essential workers hold the fabric of our society together. The pandemic made us appreciate how critical quality child care is. It highlighted the need for health care for everyone. Most of all, it made apparent how interconnected and dependent we all are on one another.
Among temporary shutdowns and other challenges due to the pandemic, we were not able to serve as many people across our programs as in previous years — but we were nimble and persistent. The public schools continued distance learning and we launched Learning Pods to support young people with the space and Wi-Fi to successfully participate. Our virtual group fitness classes were more popular than ever. We strived to counter the misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine by hosting a diverse panel of experts who answered our community’s important questions. Racial justice work stayed at the forefront of what we do — we hosted a forum on Black lived experiences, published our Anti-Bias Curriculum for the Preschool Classroom, and continued our annual It’s Time to Talk: Forums on Race™ virtually.
It’s incredible what we can do together. Every day, we are thankful for the energy and tender care our community pours into living our mission: volunteers who packed food kits for neighbors and facilitated dialogues about racial justice; teachers who helped foster curiosity and acceptance in our early learning classrooms; youth who showed tenacity by showing up week after week for virtual afterschool programs; and fitness members who rejoined after a time away to rekindle their fitness and self-care routines. Our beloved YWCA Minneapolis community encompasses a mosaic of stories, experiences and wisdom — this diversity gives us the power to support each other and rise together through hardship.
We are excited for the opportunities to come. Thank you for continuing to be a fierce champion of this important work. We’re so grateful to be in community with you.
“I believe the journey to achieving racial justice requires engaging in courageous, authentic and difficult conversations with our fellow humans. What better way to sharpen my skill set and become more effective in doing racial equity work and engaging with others than to become a YWCA Racial Justice Facilitator?! Through the conversations that I have facilitated at the It’s Time to Talk: Forums on Race™ annual event, I have learned that people are eager to learn and retain the skills that will equip them to do racial justice work for the rest of their lives.”
~ Daniel Perez, YWCA Minneapolis Racial Justice Facilitator
“We have been so happy with YWCA’s Early Childhood Education program. We love that our kids have such a diverse group of staff to care for them — they can see themselves reflected in their teachers and also learn about cultural diversity. We have met some of our best family friends through YWCA — and those friendships have continued even after our children have grown. Our kids have needed child care throughout the pandemic. YWCA has been there for us, keeping our kids safe and cared for with very minimal interruption. The precautions in place have kept our kids healthy — even healthier than pre-pandemic.”
~Laura and Jiani, YWCA Early Childhood Education Parents
“Strong Fast Fit has been a valuable experience for my family. My kids have definitely gained more confidence. Both of them have been more active and have learned more about their culture. They now express, ‘I’m Native and I’m proud of it.’ Being around kids who are similar to them has made a difference. The fitness membership, swimming lessons and programming have all made a difference for us.”
~ Teanna, Girls & Youth Program Parent
“In March of 2021, I stepped inside YWCA Midtown for the very first time in over one full year! Wow! It was so weird and so cathartic all at once. When I found one of my old favorite treadmills, I cried buckets for how liberating it was to have that feeling of “sanctuary” again. There I was, staring out of the same window, at those same trees outside with their branches bouncing around in the wind, looking excited, waving to me like my old friends! It’s an experience that had carried me through so many difficult and beautiful periods in my life. There I was in my happy space!”
~ Ayanna Muata, YWCA Fitness Member
Thank you for being a part of our movement to eliminate racism, empower women and girls and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.