Why Diversity, Equity and Inclusion? Why Now?

The oppression of people in our community has led to a critical moment of reckoning locally, nationally and globally. Society’s demands for equal rights and human dignity have been loud and they have resulted in changes, but there is still much work to be done. We hear the urgent calls for equity and inclusion each day and we have a responsibility to create the change needed so all identities can pursue the wholeness of life.

We believe being diverse, equitable and inclusive are essential components in delivering the quality programs and services that are the hallmark of our heritage.

Hoyleton's Commitment

We are an all-inclusive social services agency committed to building communities and a workplace where all are enabled to realize the wholeness of life. To advance our mission, we bravely lead innovative ideas and work to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion are ever present resulting in empowerment for our staff, clients and members of the communities in which we serve.

To achieve this goal the P.E.E.R.S. Advisory Council was created. P.E.E.R.S., which stands for Promote, Educate, Empower, Redefine and Support, is a group of employees, across all departments, united through intentional diversity, equity and inclusion objectives in an effort to create an environment where we can learn from each other by embracing our differences.

PEERS Advisory Council


  • Cultivate an inclusive and accepting work environment
  • Educate staff on the importance of social acceptance and inclusion
  • Offer support when issues of inequity, exclusion, marginalization and social injustice are identified
  • Share knowledge and lived experiences for the benefit of the entire agency


  • Provide DEI training to all staff
  • Introduce the agency’s commitment to DEI at  each New Employee Orientation
  • Host a cultural event each year for the entire agency
  • Distribute diverse educational information to staff monthly
  • Participate in a local community event each year that promotes diversity, equity and inclusion.


  • Create educational opportunities
  • Provide materials that allow for self-exploration and awareness of social identities
  • Recommend resources to build capacity for a deeper understanding of other cultures and social identities
  • Offer ongoing support and training
  • Recognize staff for embracing an inclusive culture and sharing lived experiences
Meet The PEERS Members
"We believe being diverse, equitable and inclusive are essential components in delivering quality programs and services that are the hallmark of our heritage." Chris Cox, President and CEO
PEERS group with Dr. Karla Scott

Leaders for Advancing DEI

Dr. Karla Scott
Dr. Karla Scott is a professor at St. Louis University in the Department of Communication. Dr. Scott began her journey with Hoyleton as an observer and facilitator but her role quickly evolved into one of counsel on strategies and initiatives to strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion within our agency.

Dr. Scott was directly involved in the implementation of the PEERS Advisory Council. Dr. Scott was honored as the 2021 Empowerment Champion at the Hoyleton Honors banquet on May 13, 2022

Tools to Build Capacity

Importance of Language

Our commitment to inclusion is reflected in the services we provide and in the environment we strive to create within our organization – an environment where everyone feels comfortable being their authentic self. The information here encourages you to be mindful of your language to ensure you’re not leaving anyone out unintentionally or misusing pronouns or other terms of identity. Thank you for taking the time to read and put these best practices into action.

RaceGenderSexual OrientationDisabilitiesVideoDEI Terms

Self Exploration

Evaluate and challenge yourself on your personal awareness of social identities and cultural constructs. Learn what you don't know so you can to expand your understanding of others.

Backstory bagEquality/EquityKnowledge CheckListening Quiz


As a result of the work we do with youth and families from a variety of cultures and backgrounds we have compiled recommended resources to help members of our community build capacity for understanding and acceptance of all social identities

PEERS Press NewslettersDEI Training ModulesADA VideoTED Talk VideoFamilies of LGBTQ+ YouthSix Easy Do’s and Dont's
to Affirm LGBTQ Youth
Transactional Model of CommunicationHolidays Around the World

PEERS members sharing their lived experiences

  • Ivonne- Bilingual Family and Community Support Advocate

  • Wren - Crisis Counselor - PRN

  • Janae - daughter to Jodie a Foster Care Licensing Representative

  • Pandora - Program Manager - Hager House

Ways to be inclusive while Supporting your community

Our diversity, equity and inclusion vision at Hoyleton can only be realized with the strength and support of our community. We invite you — your family, business, church congregation and community to join us on our DEI journey. Whether making a donation to help us build capacity, volunteering at a community event or exploring our recommended resources to further your own understanding and advocacy, your actions matter. Together we can create communities with understanding, acceptance and inclusion.

Leaders for Advancing DE&I

Juneteenth Celebration

The P.E.E.R.S. Advisory Council hosted a Juneteenth Celebration at our residential campus on June 15, 2023.  Hoyleton staff and youth enjoyed lunch and an impactful cultural performance from dancers and drummers from the Sunshine Cultural Arts Center in East St. Louis.

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