The Impact of a Lack of Diversity in Leadership Positions on Self-Perceptions and Views of Success in Latino/a/x Youth


  • Jordan Thomas Indiana University School of Medicine; Boys and Girls Club of Tippecanoe County
  • Janie Zeh Indiana University School of Medicine; Boys and Girls Club of Tippecanoe County
  • Niki Messmore Indiana University School of Medicine



The Boys and Girls Club (BGC) is a national organization that cares for diverse youths ages 6-18. At a national level, BGC states that a commitment to inclusion is a core value. This research explores the demographic makeup of BGC of Tippecanoe County’s staff/volunteer members and analyzes its impact on the Latino/a/x youth that attend the club.

A 2-part anonymous survey was developed and distributed to all active staff/volunteers that work at BGC of Tippecanoe County. Part 1 consisted of basic demographic questions. Part 2 of the survey had participants answer questions about their Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and an ACEs score was calculated from their responses.

Data analysis found that 89% of employees identified as “White/European”. In addition, 100% of responses labeled “English” as their primary language. Data revealed that 94% of respondents listed their sexual orientation as “heterosexual”. 100% of the participants selected either “male” or “female” as their gender identity, showing no divergence from the “male/female” binary at the club. In the final two demographics questions from the survey, 56% of the respondents indicated that their childhood household had an income greater than $50,000 and another 56% stated that they had an education level at or below a high school diploma.

Potential Impact/Conclusions:
The demographic makeup of BGC of Tippecanoe County puts Latino/a/x youth at risk of struggling when developing their social-emotional and ethnic identities. The current staff/volunteer list does not put Latino/a/x youth in the best possible developmental environment for cultural appreciation and self-confidence. Several strategic diversity recommendations have been created and passed on to the organization. These aim to increase the engagement level and cultural appreciation of Latino/a/x culture to empower youth that identify with this group.