Community Corner is a place where you can share news about the work you are doing with LGBTQ+ young people and their families (or nominate the work of others). To submit information about your program to be highlighted on the website, please email email@example.com.
New Group Therapy Program for LGBTQ+ Teens in Pittsburgh
Being a teenager is tough. Being a teen in the LGBTQ+ community can feel isolating or even scary. That’s what drove Layne Filio, a behavioral health therapist at UPMC, to create a 10-week group therapy program for kids ages 13-18 at UPMC Western Behavioral Health. Teens can meet in person or virtually to discuss topics like coming out, gender identity, body positivity, and distress tolerance with their peers and counselors. The group has been a goal for Filio, who pitched the program to UPMC during her job interview in February 2021. "There are not a lot of group therapy options for LGBTQ+ youth in Pittsburgh," says Filio. "I think there should be more. As a member of the community — if I were a teen and this group were available, I would have really wanted to do that." Learn more
New Knoxville Nonprofit Provides Housing for LGBTQ+ Youth
LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness can have a harder time finding the resources they need to live on their own, and Bryant's Bridge is working to change that. Increasingly, homeless people in Knox County are under the age of 18. While only seven people live in the home right now, it's at full capacity and Bryant said there's a waiting list. Donors have pre-paid all the bills for the first year of this house, and once the tenants get on their feet, they'll start paying a low rent fee. This is longer-term housing, meaning tenants can stay here for one to five years, and the waitlist will just keep growing without additional housing. Bryant hopes more funding and community support will open more space to welcome more LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness. If you're interested in learning more or helping Bryant's Bridge mission, visit their website.
Colors+ Youth Center Offers Safe haven for LGBTQ+ Kids in NE Ohio
Here’s a riddle: What goes from 250 to 3,500 and does it in three years? Answer: The square footage of the Colors+ Youth Center in Fairview Park, the only LGBTQ+ youth center combined with mental health services focused solely on LGBTQ+ young people and their families in Northeast Ohio. It’s a two-for-one organization that holds space for some of the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+ community -- kids aged 11 to 19. Colors+ is the creation of Kristen and Lisa Pepera, a married team of licensed professional clinical counselors. In January 2019, Colors+ Youth Center opened its doors to offer counseling in a two-room, 250-square-foot space. Kristen reflects, “You know, when we started out, we thought -- even if we help just one kid, it will be worth it.” However, they'll be helping many more than that, as in November 2021, The Three Arches Foundation awarded Colors+ Youth Center a two-year $134,000 grant for operating expenses and capacity building. The grant allowed the Peperas to sign a seven-year lease for 3,500 square feet of street-facing space just a couple blocks from the old site. Colors+ now has breathing room for continued growth. The large windows will soon display advocacy posters and the youth center will be more visible and accessible.
Jessi's House Provides Unconditional Love to LGBTQ+ Young Adults
Making the decision to come out can be difficult, even terrifying, for LGBTQ+ youth. It not only affects their understanding of themselves but also puts them at risk. It can cost them close relationships, put a strain on their mental health and even jeopardize basic needs like housing. Recognizing these challenges, a local organization is opening its doors to LGBTQ+ young people navigating adulthood while also experiencing housing instability and homelessness. Jessi’s House, a transitional home for LGBTQ+ young adults in Arkansas, will open in March. The house will offer a six-month residency for individuals 18 years and older, with a focus on providing support to those who are 18 to 25 years old. The residency is open to young adults from any location, but the organization places an emphasis on Arkansas. There are currently three spots open for residents, and Jessi’s House has plans to expand occupancy in the future. Learn more
Venice Family Clinic Serves CA LGBTQ+ Youth Through AFFIRM Program
Venice Family Clinic is a leader in providing comprehensive, high-quality primary health care to people in need. Over the last 50 years, the Clinic has grown from a small storefront operation into one of Los Angeles’ leading community health centers, providing care to 27,000 men, women, and children annually through sites in Venice, Santa Monica, Mar Vista, Culver City, Inglewood, and Hawthorne. Venice Family Clinic has been part of the inaugural cohort of AFFIRM sites this year through the Center of Excellence on LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. AFFIRM groups create a safe and brave space for youth to support one another as they explore their LGBTQ+ identities and learn to manage their thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Within the groups, participants have been able to discuss the effects of discrimination and identify strategies and activities that will help them increase feelings of worthiness, belonging, and overall sense of hope. For those in California and interested in participating, contact JAmayaGonzalez@mednet.ucla.edu. For more information about the AFFIRM program and how your agency can get involved, visit https://www.affirmativeresearch.net/.
Harrisburg Coffee Shop, LGBTQ Artists Fund Program to Help Youth with Sensory Issues
ProjectQ Provides Hundreds of Free Haircuts to LGBTQ Homeless Youth
ProjectQ is more than a hair salon, it is a terrific black-queer-owned community center, collective, and nonprofit organization. It creates a safe space for all LGBTQIA+, QTPOC, and BIPOC folks to feel safe, seen, and supported. Five days a week, it operates as a full-service, full-paying salon. Every second Sunday, it provides free gender-affirming haircuts, clothing, self-empowering workshops, internships, job placement, mentorship, and so much more. ProjectQ provides a place where LGBTQIA+ youth who are experiencing homelessness can thrive. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it has been dropping off food and hygiene boxes to LGBTQIA+ youth and low-income families. To become a ProjectQ supporter, visit their website and follow them on social media.