The LGBTQ Youth Centre has had a major impact on the teens that attend and on the west island community as a whole. We have received a lot of positive feedback from the youth that attend regularly that it is a home away from home where they feel safe and comfortable to be who they are. We have watched several of the youth blossom and use the Centre as a support to come out to their friends and families. We have received crisis phone calls from teens struggling with their sexual orientation and we were able to provide them with compassion and resources. We spend a lot of time sharing our own experiences and having discussions about being part of the queer community. It’s a great place to meet people that have similar questions about sexual orientation or gender identity and make friends. We have helped a lot of the youth work through barriers around coming out, alcohol and drug support, safer sex, and even things that do not have to do with sexual orientation like growing up!
The LGBTQ Youth Centre has been growing substantially. We have 5-10 youth attending the drop-ins every Wednesday and Friday. The majority of the youth that drop-in are female and are between the ages of 15 and 18. We have had 8 males drop-in over the past 3 months.
During drop in’s we watch LGBT themed movies, have facilitated topic discussions on a wide range of topics such as coming out stories. We have had several speakers come to the Centre. Shaun Fryday came to share his experience as well as two transgendered speakers Ruth and Melanie. The youth were very engaged and asked many questions. We have had two workshops. One was with Calacs and the topic was sexual abuse and the other one was with GRIS Montreal where two speakers one that identified as gay and the other that identified as a lesbian shared their stories.
The LGBTQ Youth Centre has attended several health fairs at local high schools and CEGEPS. We had a health fair in February at Macdonald High School. In April there was a flash fair at Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School, a health fair at Riverdale High School and an info day at John Abbott CEGEP. They were all a success and the students showed a lot of interest. We also made some great connections with local organizations that we are planning to collaborate with on upcoming projects.
We are very proud to announce that on May 15th, 2012 the LGBTQ Youth Centre will have been open for one year! We are looking forward to another year of growth as we continue to reach out to the LGBTQ youth in the West Island and provide them with a safe space to call their own.
A Special Thank You to our Church, Corporate and Government Funding
To date we gratefully acknowledge financial support from
Beaconsfield United Church
Beaurepaire United Church,
Cedar Park United Church,
Dorval-Strathmore Trust Fund,
Erskine & American Trust Fund
United Church Mission and Support Grant,
United Church Foundation,
Vision Fund of the United Church,
Provincial Government Ministre de Justice, de la famille, de la santé et des services sociaux,
our local MNA Mr. Geoffrey Kelley
Beaconsfield United Church Youth Group, and
Dix Mille Villages.