From Resource Center’s CEO Cece Cox,
“During this season of gratitude it’s always nice to hear from the community we serve, especially the younger generation. We recently received a simple thank you from one of our Youth First members Dee, age 16. Dee warmly told us how the program’s inclusivity helps the teen population Resource Center serves, stating that ‘Youth First gives them a place where they belong.’
“The only program of its kind in North Texas, the 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.
“Dee’s response is just one of the many simple thank you’s the staff received this year about Youth First’s mission and purpose. Our Youth First Program serves LGBTQ youth in North Texas, so hearing how we help is especially heartwarming. These kids may not always have a supportive family environment, so we love knowing we can make a difference in their lives.
“The LGBTQ community has seen a lot of progress, including marriage equality and advancements in employment protections, but studies show that school climates have not improved for LGBTQ youth. This is why it’s imperative, now more than ever, to provide LGTBQ teens with a safe and inclusive space such as Youth First, where they’ll have the opportunity to participate in social activities with kids like themselves.
“The Center’s Youth First Program Manager Cami Fields says, ‘It’s so easy to feel alone in a big scary world that doesn’t understand your struggles…especially when you’re a teenager. I struggled with depression and suicide when I was a teen, and it’s really what sparked my passion for working with youth. We all need support, and it’s comforting to know there are people that understand how we feel. Youth First is a safe place that lets LGBTQ youth build confidence and friendships, and we are truly grateful for the donors and volunteers that let our youth know they aren’t alone.’
* Graphic and photo provided by Resource Center