Our LGBT Fund at Grand Rapids Community Foundation recently awarded its first grant—$20,000—to a new collaborative project between Arbor Circle and the Lesbian Gay Community Network of Western Michigan (The Network) for a program that will help LGBT youth and families. Both Arbor Circle and The Network will work collaboratively to identify youth in need of care and to implement an evidence-based therapeutic program. This model, works to prevent health and mental health risks for LGBT youth, including suicide, homelessness and HIV—in the context of their individual communities. The project, “Safe and Supported,” represents a new collaboration for both organizations which have existing youth components—and builds on each other’s strengths. Arbor Circle has worked with runaway and homeless youth—LGBT and straight for decades and The Network is often a go-to resource for members of the LGBT community and offers a variety of support groups and services for young people and families.
“What stands out most to us is the common goal between Arbor Circle and The Network of preventing LGBT youth homelessness through family and crisis intervention. This grant will help strengthen each of the project partner’s area of expertise and reduce the barriers for LGBT youth who are seeking support,” said Carol Sarosik, chair of Our LGBT Fund committee.
“We are excited about the partnership with Arbor Circle. Through our collaboration we will pursue the best ways to prevent LGBT youth homelessness through family acceptance and support services. The Network looks forward to increasing its services to the LGBT youth in our community,” said Mike Hemmingsen, board president of The Network.
Our LGBT Fund, a field of interest fund at Grand Rapids Community Foundation was created with a matching gift from Shelley Padnos and Carol Sarosik. Since its inception in August of 2013 more than 250 people have made contributions to the fund.