BENEFITING: True Colors, Inc.
EVENT DATE: Mar 21, 2014
This organization has held a special place in my heart since a close friend of mine made me aware of it over 15 years ago. In his teen years I had watched him struggle to come to terms with his sexual orientation and the possible ramifications of "coming out" to his friends and family. I loved him, he was my best friend, and so when he came out to me I was happy for him. He didn't have to pretend anymore. In that moment, I felt like celebrating the strength it took to reveal such a private part of his life while not really knowing how I'd react. But then I realized that not everyone was going to react the way that I did; some people were going to be afraid of him, not understand, not accept, and even hate him. I wanted to protect him from all of that...and I wanted him to celebrate who he was. Who was to know that years later, a Master's Student at UCONN was going to be hard at work finding a means to address this very thing....and so much more!
How True Colors Came to Be:
In 1992, Robin McHaelen, a student at the UCONN School of Social Work sought to organize a conference focused on the issues of LGBT youth and the risks associated with that sexual minority status. Long story short, the school approved this proposed project and the seeds for first (one day) conference of it's kind, Children From the Shadows: Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth at Risk was planted.
Now the enormous task of making it happen was underway. Meetings with the representatives of various grass roots organizations produced support from such agencies as the Connecticut State Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Education, Mental Health and Addiction Services, both Connecticut Teacher's Unions, as well 30 + grassroots and community organizations. Finally after 2 years of hard work and commitment, the first conference was held in March of 1994, with over 160 teachers, social service and mental health care providers, and 90 LGBT youth in attendance. THIS was the beginning of something very special.
True Colors Today:
Fast Forward to present day.... the organization is now known as True Colors Sexual Minority Youth and Family Services, and has grown to include Gay Straight Alliance/Youth Leadership Programs, the Safe Harbor Project, and training seminars for social workers, clinicians, child welfare professionals, educators, and more. And the annual conference? Well, that has evolved into an impressive 3 day event that attracts over 2,000 attendees!
It has been inspiring that True Colors, born out of a college project, has grown into an enormously impactful force in so many lives, and it's founder committed so completely to celebrating LGBT youth, adults and families.I was honored and proud to have served on the Board at one time, and saw first hand the far reaching impact this organization makes in the lives of LGBT youth, adults, and families. Although my role on the Board has long ended, my support has not. Knowing that True Colors is there to support and affirm those facing the same challenges that my best friend did, brings me such relief.
I wanted to give back and so my first anual True Colors fundraiser was born, focusing on rasing funds for youth sponsorships to the conference. My first effort raised an awesome $500 and made it possible for 11 youth, who otherwise would not have been able, to attend BOTH days. This year I have upped the ante to a $750 goal and know that with your help, I know we can ROCK this thing! Help True Colors continue thier impactful work with LGBT Youth, Adults, and Familes. THANK YOU!
Click True Colors to learn more.