NewsFeed @ Youth In Need | June 17, 2019
YIN Dedicates Jim’s Memorial Garden
Youth In Need recently dedicated Jim’s Memorial Garden at the agency’s central office in St. Charles in honor of former President and CEO Jim Braun. The reflection garden celebrates Jim, who led Youth In Need for 25 years before retiring in 2012, and creates a space for his spirit to live on year after year.
“My hope is that when people remember me, they will be reminded of their own mortality, take time to cherish and nurture the relationships in their lives, and be mindful to provide kind thoughts, prayers and meaningful actions to those that struggle without the advantage of loving family and friends.” —Jim Braun
Pat’s Chat: Pride
“All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential.” —Harvey Milk
Our diversity and inclusion journey at Youth In Need began many years ago, from education about cultural competence, to becoming much more intentional and purposeful about recognizing unconscious biases and dismantling oppressive systems. Recognizing early on that LGBTQ youth were disproportionately represented in the homeless youth population, Youth In Need gained experience and expertise to be on the leading edge of inclusion and responsive programming in this area, including housing transgender youth according to their gender identity and educating others about why that was best practice, long before it was the norm.
The world has changed a lot over the years, and there is much more knowledge about sexual orientation and gender identity/expression as well as greater acceptance and visibility. At the same time, LGBTQ youth continue to struggle mightily, as detailed in the Human Rights Campaign 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report. More than 12,000 teens from all 50 states were surveyed, and the results showed “heartbreaking levels of stress, anxiety and rejection,” which were compounded for LGBTQ youth of color and transgender youth. However, participants also made it clear that “supportive families and inclusive schools are key to their success and well-being” and that’s where Youth In Need comes in.
At Youth In Need, we strive to provide inclusive training for staff to increase their proficiency in LGBTQ issues, and to be intentional about creating safe spaces for young people. We educate families and schools. We are visible advocates for inclusion and equality on a public policy level. And we partner with several organizations who use our meeting space, including Growing American Youth (GrAmYo) support group, PFLAG parent support group and St. Charles Equality Coalition.
June is Pride month, where we celebrate the progress that has been made, and remember that the struggle for LGBTQ equality is far from over.
Thanks for all you do to make Youth In Need a place where everyone feels welcome, included and safe.
“I believe that telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act. It is an act that can be met with hostility, exclusion, and violence. It can also lead to love, understanding, transcendence, and community.” —Janet Mock
Grant from the Bridgeton Landfill Community Project Fund
Last month, the St. Louis Community Foundation announced the first grant recipients from the Bridgeton Landfill Community Project Fund—and Youth In Need is on the list! Just over $3,000,000 was awarded from this fund to area nonprofits with projects or initiatives dedicated to the betterment of the environment, health, safety and the welfare of the people in the communities near the Bridgeton Landfill. Youth In Need’s three-year grant will be focused on mental health counseling in those communities for children, youth and families.
After nearly a year long informational and research gathering process, organizations were selected by a grant advisory committee that was composed of members of the St. Louis Community Foundation Board, residents and representatives of businesses from the impacted area, and members of the philanthropic community. After several public community meetings, the St. Louis Community Foundation identified four areas that would receive priority funding: Access to health care, behavioral and mental health, public safety and community greening.
This first cycle of funding was earmarked for public safety and mental health initiatives with additional small grants awarded to community-based organizations located in proximity to the Bridgeton Landfill. Youth In Need’s grant is to provide no cost professional mental health counseling to children, youth and families living near the Bridgeton Landfill.