We are excited to announce the new Mama Bears Giving Circle Spring 2023 Grant Round winners!
Each of these LBGTQ+ focused nonprofits will receive funding to continue their amazing work from the funds raised over the next six months in our Mama Bears Giving Circle. These grants will be paid in the fall of 2023. Learn more about the great work of these organizations below.
TFSS Youth Programming provides a continuum of services to transgender and gender non-binary youth (GNB) up to the age of 30 and their families that promote positive mental and social emotional health. All services are provided free of charge and include support groups for youth and parents, family coaching, a mentorship program, outreach to Latinx communities, three closed Discord servers, twice monthly park drop-ins, monthly family playgroups, and a “Gender Junk” program that provides gender-affirming garments to youth who can not afford or access them. TFSS also provides insurance and medical transition assistance, whereby TFSS staff help transgender and GNB youth and their families navigate mental health services, refer them to vetted medical professionals, and ensure that their insurance plans cover all of the costs that they are required to by law.
TFSS will provide:
- Supportive interventions to a minimum of 120 transgender and GNB youth and their families, as measured by registration records
- Referrals to vetted medical and mental health professionals to a minimum of 75 youth and families, as measured by case notes
TFSS will increase the mental and behavioral health of a minimum of 80% of youth participants, as measured by self-report questionnaires.
Resilience1220 connects with youth and families in creative ways in different settings (schools, recreational centers, libraries, and afterschool outdoor experiential programs) and strives to decrease the stigma around mental health issues and promote informed conversations in among high schoolers, middle schoolers, and their parents and others in the community. We offer a monthly speaker series targeting parents/caregivers, in which experts present on a variety of topics such as “How to Support Your LGBTQ+ Child”, “What is a Healthy Teen Relationship”, and “Understanding and Responding to Teens who Self-Harm”. We regularly hold Self-Defense/Empowerment courses at partner locations within our service area with more than 30 participants at each event. We also offer quarterly community events such as an online screenings of films of documentaries like Angst, Screenagers, and Race to Nowhere followed by a Q&A discussion with our counselors and a panel discussion on issues experienced by youth who are transgender and non-binary that over 125 people attended.
Resilience220 has a track record of offering support and services that LGBTQ+ youth and family members trust and utilize. Since 2019, LGBTQ+ youth have participated in 112 facilitated support and social groups, and 175 LGBTQ+ youth have participated in individual counseling with one of our therapists. Our therapists and staff have also conducted 21 presentations in-person or virtually focused on a LGBTQ+ specific topic. We are one of the only nonprofits that provides mental health counseling, support groups and other community-based wellness programming for LBGTQ+ youth in the mountain communities we serve.
This funding will support Resilience1220’s LGBTQ+ resilience promoting activities over the grant period. This includes a (1) a Beyond the Rainbow monthly support group for youth and parents who meet at the same time, but separately with therapists in Jefferson County (2) a middle school LGBTQ+ Allies weekly support group and a high school LGBTQ+ Allies weekly support group in Clear Creek’s School District, (3) at least three social groups in our service area run by volunteers, interns and therapists for LGBTQ+ youth and allies, including a monthly Book Club group and groups that meet socially to watch movies, go ice skating or play Frisbee in the park, for example. Through these groups, LGBTQ+ teens come together and connect and develop important life skills to help them succeed in the following areas: cultivating healthy relationships; issues of gender and identity; finding balance between their studies, activities, and social life; openly and honestly expressing opinions and emotions; developing a voice and by learning resiliency.
Funding will also support an LGBTQ+ Inclusion Panel to reduce stigma around mental health and help families and community members foster a positive identity and sense of belonging among LGBTQ+ youth in these communities. We have facilitated three of these panels to date, with more than 50+ persons in attendance at each event.
In addition, funding will cover bullying prevention and resilience promoting activities in the schools. Up from 2019, 23% of high school students in our region were teased because of gender identity in the last 12 months in Colorado, compared to 13% statewide, and 57% were bullied on school property in the past 12 months according to the 2021 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey. Based on this survey data and the types of aggression we are seeing in the schools, our school partners, Conifer Middle School, West Jefferson Middle, Gilpin School District, and Clear Creek School District have made youth violence prevention a priority. Resilience1220 will post bullying and violence prevention resources throughout these school districts. In addition, we will facilitate at least two Self-Defense/Empowerment Courses for LGBTQ+ youth and allies at community recreation centers, run evidence-based, comprehensive Question Persuade Refer (QPR) suicide prevention trainings, and host a screening of the film, Upstanders which explores all sides of bullying followed by a panel discussion by our therapists. This funding will allow Resilience1220 to expand our community programming to promote mental health and wellness among LGBTQ+ youth. We will achieve the following objectives by the end of the grant period:
Facilitate at least three-monthly therapeutic support groups for LGBTQ+ youth and their families within our service area.
- At least 75% of LGBTQ+ youth who participate in these therapeutic groups and complete our survey will report positive peer connections and satisfaction with the groups.
- Run a QPR Suicide Prevention training to help mitigate the alarming suicide risks among LGBTQ+ youth.
- Facilitate/host at least two monthly social groups for LGBTQ+ youth and allies to provide a safe space to be themselves and connect with each other. This includes a book club monthly event and another social activity such as Frisbee, movie night, ice skating, and/an outdoor film.
- Host at least one LGBTQ+ Inclusion for Youth Panel with at least 50 community members in attendance to promote communities that affirm inclusion.
- Host a film screening of the anti-bullying film, Upstanders, in two schools’ social emotional class period.
- Host at least two Self-Defense courses for youth and allies to learn life-saving skills and feel more confident in diffusing potentially dangerous situations. At least 8 youth will participate in each class.
- Conduct post-program survey analysis with youth and families who participate in all of our programming.
The KYC Community Wellness Initiative is an expansion of KYC’s current programming with an intersectional focus on the emerging mental health and wellness needs of LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults. This initiative works to implement sustainable community-based wellness programs that improve the lives of adolescents; identify health conditions and environmental factors that are associated with barriers to wellness, and aid in improving the social determinants of health and wellness as it relates to LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults. Clinical approaches include trauma informed, wrap-around services to support young people in meeting their basic needs and building a strong sense of self and self-esteem through affirmation and empowerment, and holistic health and wellness activities.
The initiative is a responsive expansion of current programming with an intersectional focus on the emerging mental health and wellness needs of young people served. Since 2018, KYC has connected with young people through approximately 10,000 visits to KYC’s Drop-in Center located in Columbus, Ohio. During this time, KYC experienced an expansion in diversity in terms of gender identity/expression (approx. 40% are transgender/non-binary), socio-economic status (approx. 33% at or below poverty level), and race/ethnicity (approx. 49% are Black/Brown). As is not uncommon among and within marginalized groups, in line with the shift and growth, KYC observed the emergence of mental health symptoms, suicidal ideation, self-harm, intense impact of family discord and isolation, eating disorders, and overwhelming challenges in navigating peer and romantic relationships; all occurring on top of the traditional challenges of adolescence.
Ensuring high-quality care for LGBTQIA+ youth requires providers to be competent in best practices of LGBTQ+ care, as well as caring for young people. LGBTQIA+ youth often avoid seeking health care and other services due to fear of discrimination, and even once in care, may fear disclosure of their sexual orientation or gender identity and therefore withhold truthful responses from providers. Transgender youth face the added burden of locating providers with sufficient knowledge, competence, and experience to affirm their gender identity. LGBTQIA+ young people are also disproportionately more likely to be homeless, and in many cases, this is due to parental rejection or other trauma. This lack of connection to affirming and culturally responsive care often lends to young people not having their basic needs met; with the potential for this reality to lead them into crisis situations of untreated mental/physical health concerns, ongoing poverty, and living on the land or in unsafe condition due to homelessness/insecure housing. Additional risks include increased reports of depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance use, and self-destructive and suicidal behaviors. By providing a safer physical space, access to supportive and engaged mentors, and the opportunity to engage and develop relationships with other LGBTQIA+ peers, KYC addresses the full range of basic needs for LGBTQIA+ youth.
Programming from the KYC Community Wellness Initiative is provided by a wellness practitioner/team, supportive community programming, and resources to collaborate with community partners and providers. The Wellness Practitioner is a licensed professional who provides trauma informed and culturally responsive mental health and emotional support, such as counseling or therapy; and is available for diverse healing and wellness opportunities. Direct mental health services include, trauma informed and culturally responsive mental health and emotional support, such as individual counseling or therapy; with the potential to engage in diverse opportunities such as yoga and other somatic practices. Supportive community programming provides therapeutic group opportunities, such as eating disorder recovery, restorative justice circles, and affinity groups for transgender/non binary youth, as well as youth from Black and Brown communities. Additional services available include resources and support to survivors of crime, violence, and abuse through their partnership and collaboration through Ohio’s statewide organization Buckeye Region Anti Violence Organization (BRAVO).
The Equality Crew (TEC) is launching My Crew, a small group mentoring program housed in a drop-in site for LGBTQ+ youth in Northwest Arkansas. My Crew is designed to ensure that LGBTQ+ youth are getting their social and emotional needs met through strong and consistent mentorship and peer community-building.
LGBTQ+ youth will participate in monthly social-emotional wellness workshops and weekly informal gatherings with their mentor and small group. The monthly workshops will utilize the Proud & Empowered Curriculum, an evidence-based 10-session small group intervention developed and tested for LGBTQ+ adolescents. Mentors (mostly near-peer social work and psychology university students who represent the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ youth) will provide small group mentoring to the participating youth and meet with them every week, as well as facilitate peer community-building amongst members of the small group, in a safe and relaxed environment incorporating fun and engaging activities.
Mentors are seen to offer support for resilience – serving as protective and compensatory influences that reduce deficits and assist youth in gaining assets to overcome challenges they face, while also offering a range of social, emotional, cognitive, and identity development benefits. Furthermore, existing research suggests that mentors who take youth-centered approaches inclusive of the experiences and needs of LGBTQ+ youth may foster greater benefits for this population of youth. Additionally, the proposed program will provide a clinical lens to address the social-emotional needs of the vulnerable student group with the help of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).
The Equality Crew is uniquely poised to provide group-based mentoring and a drop-in facility for LGBTQ+ youth which will directly address many of the barriers this population often faces in accessing traditional youth mentoring programs. The success of and response to The Equality Crew’s events, and the LGBTQ+ youth community response to our recent online survey (over 300 respondents) demonstrates that LGBTQ+ youth trust our organization to be welcoming to LGBTQ+ youth. The drop-in facility is uniquely designed to accommodate small group mentoring, individual counseling, and small group activities. Additionally, it is centrally located near public transit and bicycle routes, with ample security infrastructure.
The goals of My Crew are to ensure that 25 LGBTQ+ youth residing in Northwest Arkansas are getting their social and emotional needs met through strong and consistent mentorship and peer community-building. This program aims to assist LGBTQ+ youth by providing them with mentors, supportive peer community, and the proper resources to experience belonging and connectedness and gain assets to overcome challenges, while offering a range of social, emotional, cognitive, and identity development benefits.
LGBTQ+ youth will participate in a minimum of six Proud & Empowered sessions by the end of the year, as measured by attendance logs. Participation is designed to reduce minority stress and negative mental health systems, broaden understanding, promote mindful identification and coping with symptoms of stress and anxiety, and increase peer support through group sharing of common experiences among participants. These outcomes will be measured by pre- and post-tests conducted at months 3, 7 and 10.
LGBTQ+ youth will complete a minimum of 10 weekly small group meetings by the end of the year, as evidenced by attendance logs. The expectation of consistent mentorship is for the youth to develop healthy relationships with someone who can serve as a role model in their lives, as well as build a supportive community with peers.
A final objective is 100% of volunteer mentors will complete mandatory training from the Program Director prior to meeting with their assigned small group, including training on the Proud and Empowered Curriculum. The training will assist the volunteers in knowing how to work with a vulnerable population and how to mentor them socially and emotionally.