In February, the Valley of the Sun YMCA celebrates and honors Black History Month by spotlighting our super talented employees of the Black community. Meet Fred Quarles, Executive Director at Southwest Valley YMCA. Fred Quarles is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program in Performance Psychology at Grand Canyon University.

Tell me a fun fact about you

Fun fact about me…I love lifting a lot of weight. I am very strong. I have even joined a couple of competitions. Also, I used to be a youth pastor, and I was in seminaries working on my Master of Divinity to become a senior pastor at some point. A lot of people ask me if I was going to continue in ministry, and I tell them this is Ministry. When I go to work, that’s ministry, because that’s an opportunity for me to share the gospel.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

I do celebrate Black History Month. It’s been an adjustment being here, because when I was living in Indianapolis, it was a part of our culture. The month of February was devoted towards doing things that bring awareness about the Black community. This month is an opportunity to celebrate individuals that came before us. So, when you look at the legacy and the contributions of individuals like Martin Luther King Jr., and others they pretty much pave the road for individuals like me to be able to have success.

Share with us a favorite quote or saying from the black leaders throughout history that has impacted you!

A lot of my mentors have shared some quotes to push me and motivate me. One of my favorite quotes, once shared by a mentor, comes from the scriptures and says: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” The general idea of that quote is to make sure that we are pouring back to the next generation. So, if I have a mentee, I must make sure that my mentee teaches to the next generation, and so on.

Can you share a piece of advice with someone of the black community who is trying to pursue a career?

Find what you are passionate about and share it with others. Do it in a loving and respectful way, and you will be able to change lives and make an impact!

Fred Quarles and other employees make the YMCA what it is

Fred Quarles and other employees like him give our community hope that they can do the same things he did. As we strive to make YMCA a place that stands up for equality and diversity Fred Quarles is one of the many employees that show us that anything is possible.