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:

Oct 13, 2015

Thanks to you

GSA Summit for young adults
GSA Summit for young adults

Fall can be a magical time. Crisp, autumn air; new school clothes and books; seeing old friends missed over the summer and meeting new ones. It can also be a terrible time. A reminder that you don’t fit in, that your most authentic self isn’t acceptable, let alone valued or affirmed.

The numbers are staggering. Truancy, violence, homelessness. Especially for transgender and gender creative children and youth. Consider:

                                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tInLr6RX_zA

At the same time, and largely because of people like you, there is hope.

A 2014 study demonstrated that lesbian, gay and bisexual youth who receive support both at home and at school reported higher levels of life satisfaction and self-esteem than their straight peers. Wow. Who would have thought?

Emerging research regarding transgender and gender expansive children demonstrates that when kids are allowed to express their authentic, gender-creative selves, they flourish. They are happy, healthy, well-adjusted, regular kids with their own unique and creative gender web.

It’s because of people like you that the world is changing. Individuals like you who are either actively doing the work – or actively helping to ensure that the work gets done through well-timed and generous donations.

As the leader of an organization that works all year round to ensure that LGBTQA youth are welcome, valued and affirmed, I feel extraordinarily grateful for you. I know that my life’s work is possible because you care enough to support it. I know that the lives we change, the environments we transform and the differences we make are due to you.

This update is not a request for money. It is a recognition that you matter, and an opportunity to tell you just how much.

Thank you for all you make possible for LGBTQA youth with your support of True Colors. We are deeply honored to work with you.

Youth summit
Youth summit
Mentoring hike
Mentoring hike
Dragon Boat racing
Dragon Boat racing
Rainbow Friday
Rainbow Friday
Mentoring in the park
Mentoring in the park
Jul 7, 2015

Marriage and more

Chocolate & Cheesecake - April fundraiser
Chocolate & Cheesecake - April fundraiser

TR* just turned 21.  She graduated from college in May and is trying to figure out what is next for her. She identifies as a Masculine of Center, African, Lesbian Woman – and she has no place to call home.  Her African family rejected her because of her lesbian identity and masculine gender expression. Her white mentors and friends can’t fully understand the depth of her rage and fear about the events in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York and South Carolina.  Her attempts to talk about her experience of systemic racism and/or homophobia have often led to further isolation. She has been rocked off her moorings when people she loves and admires spit out the taint of bias inherent in growing up white and/or straight in America.

Her story isn’t that unique. Many of our youth of Color have to juggle multiple social identities and loyalties – there are too few places where they get to bring their whole selves.  At True Colors, we are working very hard to become a place that all of our youth experience as ‘home’. 

Over the last several months, we have co-sponsored and helped organize a series of “Chicago Dinners” bringing people of diverse backgrounds and experiences together over dinner to talk about the ways in which racism impacts us all. We joined the Black Lives Movement and participate in weekly meetings, direct actions and even civil disobedience. (Our Executive Director was one of the “Hartford 17”, 17 activists who were arrested at a Black Lives matter action in downtown Hartford). We are training our staff; engaging in difficult conversations, and changing the look and feel of our office to be more inclusive. 

Undoing racism isn’t a destination – it’s a journey. With the support of people just like you, we are walking it side by side, day by day, with our youth.  

PS.  Marriage Equality also happened in June when the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to prevent same sex couples from marrying if they chose to.  True Colors was quite active in the marriage rights movement and we are thrilled with the results.  Many, many volunteers, advocates, donors and individuals just like you and I, invested time, energy and resources to make this happen. We are very grateful.  And, we are excited to know that because you help us, help us our kids grow up safely, the world will now allow them to marry if they choose.  How cool is that?

Partnering with NoH8 to raise awareness
Partnering with NoH8 to raise awareness
fun in the office
fun in the office

Links:

 
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