"Jogging is the worst, Chris. I mean, I know it keeps you healthy, but God. At what cost?" - Ann Perkins (Parks & Rec)
I'm Samantha Bender and I am not a runner. In 2015 I decided to run a half marathon (on a whim) in OKC. Two years later, that same act of whimsy came back, and I find myself training to run the Austin Half Marathon.
I have a million things to say, but this “about me” page should probably stay a page and not a novel, so I’ll get to the point. The point is this: I know firsthand how sacred safe spaces for LGBTQ people, especially youth, are. I know how needed they are. For 26 years, Out Youth has been a safe space in Central Texas, providing services and support for LGBTQ youth. I want to do anything I can (including asking you donate while I huff and puff my way through 13.1 miles) to make sure they can continue to be that place for those who feel outcast, less-than, or alone.
If you have a spare few bucks to donate, that’s awesome and greatly appreciated! If you don’t, consider donating your time to a LGBTQ safe space near you--or just be a safe space for someone you know.
To paraphrase Wesley/Hillary Clinton: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
Right now, I can run so I am going to run.
Out Youth Mission Statement: Out Youth serves the Central Texas LGBTQ+ (lesbian/gay/bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning) youth and their allies with programs and services to ensure these promising young people develop into happy, healthy, successful adults.
Founded in 1990, Out Youth has grown and changed over the years, but we’ve always retained our most important facet – providing a safe space for LGBTQ+ youth to come together, receive support, and make friends who understand who they are.
We host a variety of programs and services for youth, and provide trainings and resources for parents, teachers and community members.