ProAct Indy announces partnership with YWCA Greater Lafayette to provide comprehensive diversity, equity & inclusion strategy leveraging youth voice


Contact – Meg Gates Osborne – 317-590-7522

Indianapolis, IN — As a pioneering critical service-learning organization, ProAct Indy helps youth, individuals, teams, and organizations move from the default self-focus of an inward mindset to the results-focus of an outward mindset. Through training, coaching, mentoring, and a suite of implementation tools and programs, we enable youth, organizations, and their people to achieve results that are only possible with an outward mindset.

Leveraging social capital, the nonprofit organization specializes in bringing together youth, corporate leaders, and nonprofit organizations to build a better tomorrow, today. So, ProAct is very excited to announce its partnership with Tippecanoe County and YWCA Greater Lafayette in West Central Indiana. Being less than 50 miles from Indianapolis, this is an excellent opportunity for ProAct Indy to further its commitment to stand in the gap for vulnerable populations while empowering youth to actively transform their communities. 

 “We are delighted to have begun what has already been an incredible experience for our team and the Tippecanoe County community of student and community leaders,” says Derrin Slack, Founder and CEO of ProAct Indy. “It is inspiring to see a community of leaders and educators prioritize youth voice in its development of a comprehensive DEI strategy. And I am honored that ProAct was chosen to offer a fresh perspective on how to accomplish this work in the community in a human-centered, equitable, and intentional way.”

In speaking with representatives from Tippecanoe County and their local YWCA, ProAct learned of challenges faced as the county as a whole seeks to create an inclusive leadership team. It was felt that a professional development experience for key leaders who would be participating would ensure that employees and/or community members had human-centered skills that will allow them to create and offer equitable solutions to social issues, community development, and the culture of the area. 

The overall feeling was that help was needed in socializing an effective approach to discussing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging among students in all three school districts in Tippecanoe County and community members.

They also sought to better understand where the individuals and groups within their organizations need to focus on increasing their intercultural competence – from how they currently connect to cultural differences to how they can more effectively engage diversity.

Lastly, Tippecanoe County was seeking effective Youth Programs that would provide positive and equitable outcomes for vulnerable youth through the YWCA and other organizations in the future. The goal would be an intergenerational approach to youth program development in their own community that prioritized input from youth in the community.

“YWCA Greater Lafayette is excited to have this opportunity to collaborate with other changemakers that allow us to respond to the moment and be proactive as we look to the future,” shared Lindsey Mickler, President & CEO of YWCA Greater Lafayette. “We are grateful to have ProAct Indy on this journey with us to guide community action with both adults and youth.”

ProAct is very experienced in providing the very things that Tippecanoe County was looking for. Having already worked with the same challenges in their own organization, ProAct is positive that this partnership will provide the solutions.

In the words of Mya Daelynn, Vice President of Community Engagement for ProAct Indy, “It’s like plugging in all the challenges they have along with all the possible solutions. You look at one challenge, then one solution, eventually getting all the puzzle pieces to fit.”

In March, ProAct facilitated its popular Outward Inclusion workshop with participating community leaders and educators in Tippecanoe County to kick off this partnership. Outward Inclusion offers the opportunity to create a safe space where everyone is invited into the conversation. This was presented in a four-hour workshop which included everything needed to not only implement but sustain, inclusion practices organization-wide. 

Outward Inclusion calls people in rather than calling people out by focusing on the implications of addressing the pervasive mindsets that drive our individual and collective behaviors. Addressing mindset first encourages authentic conversations that get to the heart of behaviors that need to be changed and leads to the organizational and community culture that is desired. The Outward Inclusion workshop included everything needed to create an inclusive organization – practical tools and resources, an implementation framework, and a participant workbook, including ProAct Indy’s Outward Inclusion self-awareness and management tools for each participant. 

To help give insight into the cultural competence of the individuals and collective mindsets of the Tippecanoe County community, an Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Pre-Assessment was administered by ProAct Indy in late March with adult leaders in Tippecanoe County. The IDI is evidence-based, and unlike other tools that measure separate personal characteristics (e.g., open-mindedness, flexibility), the IDI shows an individual or group’s progression along a continuum of cross-cultural competence. 

Because of this, the IDI provides in-depth insights into how individuals and groups make sense of and respond to cultural differences. The IDI measures both one’s mindset and skillset. The goal of administering the IDI is to provide Tippecanoe County with a cross-cultural assessment of the intercultural competence of leaders in the community to help inform and achieve diversity and inclusion goals and outcomes as they collaborate to address issues in their community. 

In Mid-April, ProAct facilitated a powerful convening of Tippecanoe County youth at the YWCA Greater Lafayette in a community-wide event called Youth Voice Day! The Greater Lafayette community invited over 50 youths ages 12-18 to participate in this youth event, where young people shared their voices by fostering meaningful dialogue about how to ensure their community is responsive, inclusive, and authentic for all members. The participating youth came together as a community to brainstorm practical solutions that cultivate an equitable and empowering future for everyone in the Greater Lafayette area.

“I was glad to be here, able to show up and be around adults who want to listen and to help,” reflected one youth participant. “We want to make an impact, and we are hopeful we can actually have success because leaders are incorporating our voice early in the process to address issues we care about.”

Fifteen students from Tippecanoe County schools volunteered to participate in a youth steering committee meeting to finalize plans for the upcoming Community Connections Summit, which will take place on Tuesday, May 16, from 10 am – 2 pm at the Greater Lafayette Career Academy.

This event is a unique opportunity for both adults and youth to come together to identify, discuss, and develop action plans to solve issues that affect the Tippecanoe County community’s diversity, equity, and inclusion. This event will build bridges and serve as a transformative model other communities can follow to create a comprehensive action plan for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

For more than a decade, ProAct has worked in Indianapolis to realize a vision of its community where youth and adults alike adopt an Outward Mindset – whereas people see others as people, not objects. ProAct has been very successful in bringing together organizations and youth in Indianapolis by helping groups cross social, racial, and economic boundaries. They are so excited to help youth, community leaders, and county representatives in Tippecanoe County promote their own program.

“Our intent is to embrace change and invest in partnerships that allow us to continue to do our work until injustice is rooted out, until institutions are transformed, and until the world sees women, girls, and people of color the way we do,” Lindsey Mickler of YWCA Greater Lafayette stated. “Equal. Powerful. Unstoppable. Together we are on a mission!”


ProAct Indy is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to stand in the gap for vulnerable populations while empowering youth to actively transform their communities. Their vision is to turn the world outward to work towards a community where youth and adults alike adopt an Outward Mindset – whereas, people see others as people, not objects – to help youth, individuals, teams, and organizations move from the default self-focus of an inward mindset to the results-focus of an outward mindset. 




YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. From its inception, the YWCA has been a movement dedicated to empowering women. In later years, the YWCA moved into other arenas of discrimination, working to eliminate racism wherever it exists and by any means necessary. For more information about YWCA Greater Lafayette. 



Previous Post
Monthly Spotlights – May: Check Out Our Awesome Youth, Nonprofit, and Corporate Partner Spotlights!
Next Post
S2 E9: A Friendly Reminder from Anaya to be Who You Are