True Colors, Inc. Sexual Minority Youth and Family Services of CT

True Colors works to create a world where youth, adults and families of all sexual orientations and gender identities are valued and affirmed. We challenge all forms of oppression through education, training, advocacy, youth leadership development, mentoring and direct services to youth and those responsible for their well-being.
Jul 12, 2016

In the aftermath of Orlando

Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter

Our work this quarter was made even more poignant by the recent events in the US – the murder of 49 innocents at Pulse in Orlando; the murder of another two unarmed Black men in Minnesota and Baton Rouge; and the murder of 5 police officers in Dallas. Each of these tragedies directly impacts the LGBTQ youth we serve – especially the LGBTQ Youth of Color.

True Colors’ organizational theme is intersectionality – the recognition that each of us is made up of different identities – race, ethnicity, gender, orientation, class, religion, ability and many more. We believe it a core part of our work to respect, reflect and honor the different lens, privileges and experiences of our board, staff, volunteers and constituents. That means walking the talk and we are working hard to do that. 

  • Last year, our Board of Directors took on anti-racism as a strategic initiative.  Our board and staff have objectives related to personal and systemic biases within our organization, our work as organizers and advocates, and in the society at large.

  • True Colors and our board/staff and volunteers are active participants in the Black Lives Matter movement across Connecticut. In fact, our Executive Director was arrested for civil disobedience at an event last year.

  • True Colors collaborated with the Islamic Community in CT after Orlando to host a rally and a teach-in exploring the ways in which homo/trans phobia and Islamophobia are connected. We are now part of an on-going LGBTQ, Islamic, Christian and Jewish initiative to continue this work.

This theme of intersectionality plays out in all the work your support allows us to do. In the second quarter of the year, in part because of you, we were able to provide:

  • Youth Leadership and Mentoring: In April – June, we hosted 29 social and recreational activities for 212 youth! We also met face-to-face with 9 school Gay/Straight Alliances reaching a total of 280 additional youth. Your donations directly support that work.   Imagine how many kids were impacted because you care.

  • Training for professionals to more effectively meet the needs of the LGBTQ youth and families we serve. In this quarter, we provided 48 trainings to over 1,540 youth serving professionals – CT and nationally. Many of those workshops were offered free or at reduced costs to schools or other non-profit organizations. Imagine how many lives each of those participants go on to touch? Imagine the difference your support continues to make.

Thank you for your support. It truly makes a world of difference.  We know we couldn’t do what we do without YOU! And we are very grateful.

Mentoring Teamwork
Mentoring Teamwork
Walking the Talk
Walking the Talk
A recent mentoring activity
A recent mentoring activity
After Orlando
After Orlando

Links:

Apr 13, 2016

Its all conference, conference, conference

Making Connections
Making Connections

In the first quarter of every year, True Colors is all about our annual conference - and preparing for this year's 23rd Anniversary event was no different!  There are thousands of details to attend to.

It takes a village to put together an event with more than 3,800 participants, 300 presenters, 285 workshops and school buses full of youth from 123 different school districts. Whew! 

As a donor, you are so important to our work.  We are grateful you are a part of the True Colors 'village'.  Here is just a taste of what some of the youth had to say about their experiences.

  • I could compose 13,000 tweets about how much I love True Colors and all the people & performers there

  • I've never felt as proud as I am today to be bisexual I was surrounded by so much positivity and great, understanding people

  • So excited to have been the true me at #TrueColors23

  • The one time in my life I've felt truly accepted #TrueColors23

  •  #TrueColors23 was supa lit yesterday. The reason I keep coming back

  • I was feeling low, so they took my hand. We're one family #TrueColors23

  • Loving how accepted, happy, and loved my students feel when we come here every year!!! 

  • I recently attended the conference at UConn and was blown away at what an amazing conference it was. Thank you for all the wonderful workshops, speakers, and useful information.

  • A* LOVED True Colors! It is so great to hear about his experience. I am so happy to hear that you were able to take him this past weekend-it is a great experience for him!

As a True Colors donor, you make these experiences possible.  Consider:  We were able to give away nearly $8,000 in youth scholarships this year.  That wouldn't have been possible without the support of individuals like you. Next year we hope to be able to do even more.*

I hope you will take a minute to check out some of the pictures - if you are on twitter, check out #TrueColors23 to see more responses from participants. It takes our whole staff of 5 and interns and more than 200 volunteers to make the conference happen. The impact on the youth we serve makes it all worthwhile. 

Thank you for being a part of the True Colors 'village'. 

 

Robin McHaelen, MSW
Executive Director

 

 *We had just under $17,000 in requests for support this year - we raised enough to meet 47% of those requests -- better than last year but not as good as we hope to be next year. 

Conference fashion
Conference fashion
Our welcoming committee
Our welcoming committee
Allies are welcome too
Allies are welcome too
Welcome!
Welcome!
A few of the 200 volunteers
A few of the 200 volunteers

Links:

Jan 12, 2016

It is because of you.

A GSA celebration
A GSA celebration

We are so grateful to you. 

You make so many moments possible. Much of the work we do with students is unfunded, except through donations from generous people like you. Consider:

  • Melissa, our youth activities coordinator, was meeting with a group of youth at an event in New Haven. She started to tell them about our annual conference but got interrupted by kids who wanted to tell their own stories about the conference. Turns out, they had all gone to a workshop called, “I’m Beautiful, Dammit”. They connected with each other there and created their own Facebook group -- they haven’t seen each other for a year, but they stay connected and engaged and can’t wait for the 2016 conference when they can see each other again face-to-face. Donations like yours made the scholarships several of those youth attended on, possible.

 

  • During the last quarter of the year, True Colors and one of their interns began working with individuals, organizations and agencies in the Bridgeport area of CT to try to develop some programs for LGBT youth in that area. Although there are programs 30 minutes away, they might as well be in another country for Bridgeport kids without transportation. We hosted our first group last Friday with 8 youth. One middle schooler said, “My parents are trying but they don’t get me. They want me to just ‘choose’ like, be a lesbian or something. I didn’t know that there were other people who could understand that that it isn’t about who I like. It’s about me. I am not just a girl or just a boy. I am a little of both.” The first and third Fridays of every month will offer a free social and recreational program for LGBTQ youth in Bridgeport in locations that are on bus lines and easy to get to. Last year, we helped create programs in Waterbury. After Bridgeport, we are headed to Litchfield. None of this work is grant supported. It all comes from you. We couldn’t do this work without you.

 

  • Yesterday, we hosted our annual youth in the mentoring program holiday party. The theme was rainbow reading. Every youth got a book donated to us by an LGBT author. They also received special gifts designed to help them create new memories: live theater and live concert tickets, museum admissions, activities gift cards. All of those gifts were donated by individuals like you. People who care about the next generation and want to make the world a better place for them…

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Wishing you and yours the happiest and healthiest of New Year’s. You are a blessing to us and the youth we serve.

Robin McHaelen, MSW
Executive Director

Rockville GSA at the conference
Rockville GSA at the conference
A Gay/Straight Alliance (Summit on HIV prevention
A Gay/Straight Alliance (Summit on HIV prevention
Getting ready for craft night
Getting ready for craft night

Links:

 
   

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