Don’t be fooled by it’s title, the Attic Youth Center, offers so much more than just a place for LGBTQIA+ youth to hang out. I even love the backstory of this place. It was originally started as an eight-week program, by two graduate students back in 1993. Hosted in the attic of a building, the kids wouldn’t let it end. Since that time, it has grown to being a significant resource for area youth.
I think what I love about it the most is that the heart of this organization is to help kids to grow as citizens who are engaged in the world around them and have a voice. So, not only are there support groups, counseling, case management, healthy choices education, and life skills opportunities, the kids work on community projects together with opportunities for leadership roles. Plus, the website has inspirational stories and lists of resources.
And, as if that’s not enough, the Bryson Institute offers various trainings regarding current “best practices” for working with LGBTQIA+ youth. You can contact them, explain the intended audience and needs, and they can customize a training for your organization. Clearly, this organization is worth checking out!
GLSEN, an organization devoted to educating the general public on LGBTQA+ current news and issues. Perhaps what they are most known for is promoting and supporting Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA) clubs for students in high school and college settings. These clubs are incredibly important because I have found that they are often the first safe place in a teen’s life where they can let down their guard and express their true-selves and feel real-life support that they haven’t found in other parts of their young lives. If there isn’t a GSA club available in your (or your child’s) school, and you would like to start one, they can help you do this. They also provide ongoing resources to help run a successful, healthy, supportive club.
(As far as I can tell, GSA’s were originally orchestrated and supported by the GSA Network, originating in California. It seems that GLSEN has stepped in as another agency that supports these clubs. As of this writing, Wikipedia reports that GLSEN nationally has 4000 registered GSA clubs and the GSA Network in California has about 900.)
But GLSEN does a lot more than that! They…
- Conduct research to inform our evidence-based solutions for K-12 education.
- Create resources for teachers/educators to use throughout their school community and make them available on their website for free.
- Partner with decision makers to ensure that comprehensive and inclusive safe schools policies are considered, passed and implemented.
Basically, they are a “behind the scenes” organization that does a great deal of work on the behalf of the LGBTQIA+ community.