As yet another year draws to a close, we look back on all the lives that have been changed by the work done at YouthPride. YouthPride received 4,126 visits during the past year. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQQ) youth have been given a safe place to be themselves, free from judgment. Here they meet peers, receive counseling, social services, and have access to free health care. They discuss issues and topics that affect their everyday lives with each other as well as with trained counselors.
Not only has YouthPride changed young lives for the better, in some cases it has even saved them. This year 22 suicideshave been prevented. And hundreds more gain valuable assistance through the 24/7 helpline. YouthPride continues to be a safe haven for LGBTQQ youth who are not accepted by their families and communities. One such youth is Jenny. We hope that hearing her story will illustrate how vital our work is, and how we need support from generous donors like you to continue helping LGBTQQ youth in Atlanta.
Jenny was a young teen who from all outside appearances seemed to have it all: a loving family, good grades, and a large and popular group of friends. Then, she came out as a lesbian and everything changed. Her parents struggled to accept the fact that their daughter was not straight, and her extended family stopped speaking to her altogether. Her close relationships with her parents disintegrated; her father became distant and spoke to her as if she were a stranger, while her mother acted as though Jenny was just going through a phase. All of their conversations now revolved around how Jenny could and should attract boys. Jenny felt as though her mom did not even listen to her when she reiterated that she was gay. School became unbearable, as whispers and stares followed her through the halls and her friends had trouble relating to her.
Alone and alienated, Jenny became increasingly depressed. She felt like she did not belong anywhere, shunned simply for being herself. Her internal monologue began to imitate the external messages she was receiving, and Jenny wished more than anything that she could be straight. She just wanted to be like everyone else and fit in. Despondent, she began to contemplate ending her own life. That is when she heard about YouthPride. “What is that?” she wondered. The next day, she decided to check it out.
Jenny began coming to the YouthPride center after school. She was surprised to see how many other teens were there, even kids from her high school; she had felt as if she was the only one who was different. Meeting other LGBTQQ youth and hearing about their lives made Jenny realize that she was not alone and she was not the only lesbian teen in the world. She felt like she was a part of the community again. At YouthPride, she felt accepted for who she was, and through group counseling and meetings like Teen Discussion Group, she was able to talk openly about her feelings, and make friends. Slowly, Jenny’s depression lifted and she began to feel comfortable in her own skin. Today, Jenny is a self-confident young adult who is proud to be herself.
This holiday season, please give the gift of acceptance to youth like Jenny. Through your support, we can continue to provide much needed services like counseling for LGBTQQ youth who need support and a place to be themselves. Your gift of $25 or more would help pay for trained counselors, an HIV test, even refreshments for a group meeting, to help youth feel more relaxed and comfortable in the center. Thank you, and happy holidays from your friends at YouthPride, Inc.
Please send donations to 955 Washington Place SW Atlanta, GA 30314
Here are just a few reasons why your support is needed...
"I can vividly remember going to YouthPride for the first time. It was a cold winter night, and after another tearful experience explaining to my parents the foundations of my life, I entered the door of the YouthPride Center and walked in to a life-changing experience..."
"If YouthPride has done one thing for me, it has changed my guilty, horrible feelings about being gay into a positive and inspiring feeling of pride, happiness, and love. I have made more friends, gained more knowledge, and overcome more fears by being a part of YP than I could have anywhere else. I only hope that future GLBT you will have the opportunity to be a part of YP..."
"Since my first experience at YouthPride in April of 2006, I have "come out" to my friends and family. I have started a gay-straight alliance at my high school, become more aware of who I am, and have had numerous opportunities to help the LGBTQ community. All of these achievements were made possible with the support I was given by the staff and volunters at YouthPride..."
PLEASE HELP BY MAKING A DONATION TODAY
Youth and young adults (ages 13 to 24 years old) walk through our doors each and every day looking for a place where they can be accepted, become empowered and find comfort, understanding, and compassion. YouthPride staff and volunteers help youth to develop better "life skills", assist with suicide prevention efforts, aid homeless youth and provide free HIV/AIDS testing and counseling.
Please support our youth and help provide funding for vital programs that are needed to assist metro Atlanta's LGBTQ!
Your contribution TODAY can help a youth TOMORROW have a safe place to call home, realize that there IS a "light at the end of the tunnel", or simply have a place to hang out with friends and know they are accepted and appreciated for who they are, just as they are!Click hereto make a donation.
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