According to Resource Center Grants and Foundation Manager Dave Wehrly,
“The only program of its kind in North Texas, Resource Center’s Youth First program serves middle and high school aged lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) youth, ages 12 to 18, and equips them with the skills and resources they need to lead an authentic life.
“Shortly after Max came out of the closet at the age of 14, his parents became concerned when his grades began to drop and he was often ‘too sick’ to go to school. They suspected that he was being bullied, and turned to Resource Center’s Youth First program. After working with his mental health counselor at Youth First, Max revealed to his parents that he was being bullied at school to the point that he was having thoughts of suicide. Today, through counseling, Max has learned that when he shares what is happening to him at school, his parents can be a source of help and support. Over the past year, Max has been actively involved in many of Youth First’s weekly programs and activities including Healthy Relationship Workshops, Art Club, and Friday Family Dinners.
“’He is doing better in school and behaving more like the Max we used to know,’ his mother says. ‘I don’t know where he would be today without Youth First. God has put this wonderful program in our lives, and we truly believe it has saved Max’s life.’
“’I really, really love Youth First! I went from literally having zero friends and feeling lonely and depressed, to having lots of friends and being much happier,’ Max says. ‘This was my first summer being a part of Youth First, and the summer art program along with all the field trips and weekly family dinners really opened my eyes to this amazing place. I’ve met so many cool people too! Youth First is a safe place that lets me to be myself and feel accepted. I don’t know where I would go or what I would do without it. Thank you!
“’My wish this holiday is that other teens who are being bullied at school will find their way to Youth First like I did.’
“To donate to Youth First and support LGBTQ youth like Max, contact Cameron Hernholm at [email protected] or go to myresourcecenter.org.
“Mission: Resource Center is a trusted leader that empowers the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) communities and all people affected by HIV through improving health and wellness, strengthening families and communities and providing transformative education and advocacy.”
-By Dave Wehrly, Resource Center Grants and Foundation manager
* Graphic and photo provided by Resource Center