These groups play a pivotal role in supporting our young people, and since 2007, Pride Foundation has enhanced our strategic support of them through the Queer Youth Initiative. With special programming, we have aspired to strengthen these youth groups and ultimately the LGBTQ youth themselves. In 2009 the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave Pride Foundation a special grant to increase this project.
The Queer Youth Initiative helps LGBTQ youth centers become more sustainable in their missions through consulting, training, coaching, and special funding. We are partnering with TACS to make sure these groups are getting the specialized training they need to be effective in their mission and also strengthen their infrastructure. All groups who participate will also be eligible for special funding. The following LGBTQ youth groups are participating in the Queer Youth Initiative:
- Oasis Youth Center (Tacoma, WA)
- SMYRC (Portland, OR)
- Stonewall Youth (Olympia, WA)
- Triplepoint Vancouver (WA)
- Triplepoint Walla Walla (WA)
- Vista Youth Center (Kennewick, WA)
Even with growing societal change and acceptance, LGBTQ youth are still at risk due to the stresses of marginalization, harassment, transphobia, and homophobia both within their families and in community institutions such as schools. These complex stresses can sometimes foster tendencies in youth toward suicide, homelessness, mental health crisis, and create problems with completing their education. In fact, in most of these areas, LGBTQ youth unfortunately outrank their heterosexual peers in the statistics, especially regarding homelessness.
It is Pride Foundation’s hope that by strengthening the organizations that are reaching these youth we will be able to turn the tide on these statistics.