How Trevor Celebrated Volunteer Appreciation Month

This past year, The Trevor Project’s 920 volunteers helped us save young LGBTQ lives with over 50,000 hours of service across all Trevor departments. Whether these volunteers dedicate time to crisis services, outreach, administrative work, special events, or engagement efforts, each one plays a vital role in our mission to end suicide for all LGBTQ youth.

During Volunteer Appreciation Month in April, we wanted to thank them for all the hard work they do, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Throughout the month, we posted inspiring images of quotes from volunteers on social media, and celebrated them at nationwide events.

In New York, Trevor partner Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants donated their beautiful Hotel Eventi ballroom to Trevor Gives Thanks, an evening of volunteer recognition, where over 150 staff, volunteers, supporters, donors, and sponsors celebrated. Los Angeles volunteers were honored at donor Lisa Vanderpump’s elegant PUMP Restaurant and Lounge.

Our volunteers are truly the heart and soul of our mission to end suicide for all LGBTQ youth. To learn more about how to get involved with Trevor, visit our volunteer page here.


D.C. Signs First Law in the Nation to Require a School Suicide Policy To Address LGBTQ Youth Needs

Colorful lockers

According to the Centers for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey in 2012, nearly 15% of the District of Columbia’s students ages 11-17 had contemplated suicide at some point, with statistics more than doubling for the LGBTQ population, ages 11-13.

In an effort to reduce these alarming numbers, Washington, D.C. Councilmember David Grosso worked with The Trevor Project, The D.C. Center, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and others to pass bill 21-361, the Youth Suicide Prevention and School Climate Survey Amendment Act 23 of 2015.  The bill was passed unanimously by the D.C. Council on April 5, 2016 and was signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser on April 27, 2016 as the first law in the nation to require a school suicide policy to address the needs of LGBTQ youth.

This new law requires that teachers and principals in D.C. schools receive training every two years on recognizing the warning signs and risk factors for youth suicide and implement best practices for suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. Clearly, this law will help save young lives in schools across D.C.

“The Trevor Project is proud to have played a key role in helping this bill pass, which will help not only LGBTQ youth, but also foster and homeless youth, as well as those living with mental illness, substance use disorders, self-harming behaviors, and those bereaved by suicide,” Abbe Land, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project says.

Through early intervention, bill 21-361 is a long-term investment in young people’s futures. With the enactment of this bill, there is now model legislative language that other states can use to implement similar laws. Just last month, the California Assembly’s Education Committee held a hearing on a similar bill requiring middle and high schools to adopt suicide prevention policies.

Councilmember Grosso says, “Throughout the legislative process, The Trevor Project was a strong partner and consistent advocate for the mental health services and policies needed to put our students in the best position to learn and succeed. I thank them for their partnership and look forward to working with them on future projects.” On May 6, 2016 at Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco, The Trevor Project is honoring Councilmember Grosso with the Ally Award for his help in drafting bill 21-361 at A Night Out for Trevor D.C.

The Trevor Project will now turn its attention to other states to ensure schools across the country have policies to help students who may be thinking of suicide. Learn more about the policy from Trevor’s Associate Director of Government Affairs, Amy Loudermilk, in The Advocate.

To join us in our advocacy efforts to bring suicide prevention to schools, visit our Advocacy page. Thank you for helping save young lives by being a part of local, state, and federal change.


Grammy Winner Rob Thomas Honored with The Ally Award at Taste of The City

In April, we celebrated our lifesaving work with over 500 supporters at Trevor NextGen New York’s annual fundraiser, Taste of The City: Spring Fling 2016. As Ally Honoree and Grammy Award-Winning singer-songwriter Rob Thomas said, we came together to be “on the right side of history.”

We thank all of our NextGen New York Ambassadors, volunteers, donors, sponsors, and the talent who were a part of making this night possible. We are so grateful that Rob Thomas, comedian Julie Halston, DJs Avan Lava and Tygapaw, and host Braden Bradley graced our stage with their talent to help us forward our mission to end suicide for all LGBTQ youth.

We also want to thank our presenting sponsors Viacom, Kevin Potter, Absolut, as well as all our food, wine, and spirits partners who made our event truly unique.

For more pictures from Taste of the City, visit Flickr. See Rob Thomas’ acceptance speech below and read the Forbes article about the event. You can also check out photos from A Night Out for Trevor San Francisco at Dirty Water Restaurant and Bar. To learn about future events with Trevor, visit our Event Page.


TN’s HB 1840 Negatively Impacts The Mental Health of LGBTQ Youth

The homophobia and transphobia infused in Tennessee’s House Bill 1840 is a disgrace to the mental health community. Denying mental health services to any person based on a counselor’s religious beliefs is harmful to every marginalized person in need of help and is a violation of The American Counseling Association’s code of ethics. It is shocking to see “The Volunteer State,” which has historically fought for the civil rights of Americans, become the first state government to forward this type of discriminatory bill. HB 1840 puts counselors before clients and will negatively impact the mental health and safety of LGBTQ youth.

At The Trevor Project, the only accredited national suicide prevention and crisis intervention service for LGBTQ youth, we are seeing some of the highest volumes of calls from the South. HB 1840 is particularly damaging to the LGBTQ community in rural areas, where access to services and mental healthcare is already limited due to not only location, but also discriminatory barriers. For LGBTQ young people who experience trauma and marginalization, distrust of healthcare providers, businesses, and religious institutions in their areas can prevent them from seeking necessary help. The passage of HB 1840 and other so-called “religious freedom” bills in Mississippi and North Carolina will further exacerbate this. Thankfully, the American Counseling Association and many organizations across Tennessee oppose HB 1840, while many of North Carolina and Mississippi’s largest employers are publicly voicing opposition against their respective “religious freedom” bills.

If Governor Bill Haslam signs HB 1840, young LGBTQ people in Tennessee may face limited access to mental health services. We are grateful that The Tennessee Equality Project is fighting to veto this bill. To take action, please sign their petition or contact Governor Bill Haslam’s office. Our Lifeline counselors are here 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 and thetrevorproject.org for the young people in Tennessee, Mississippi, North Carolina, and all of those around the United States who are witnessing these anti-LGBTQ policies go through legislation. You are not alone and we are fighting for you.

To sign up for our future updates about our advocacy efforts, visit our Advocacy page. Thank you for helping save young lives by being a part of local, state, and federal change.

Abbe Land

Executive Director and CEO, The Trevor Project


Statement from Abbe Land: “Religious Freedom” Bills Won’t Stop Us From Making Change in Schools

It’s been a week of advocacy victories at The Trevor Project. On April 5, 2016, we helped Council Member David Grosso pass bill 21-361, which will be the first law in the nation to require the development of a school suicide prevention, intervention, and a postvention policy specifically geared towards LGBTQ youth in Washington, D.C. On April 6, 2016, Trevor Board Member Lindsay Chambers and I testified on behalf of young people for Assembly Bill 2246, which if passed, will help California to become the first state in the nation to require their school districts to do the same.

In a time when so-called “religious freedom” bills may have a direct impact on the mental wellness and safety of the LGBTQ community and allies across Mississippi, Tennessee, and North Carolina, and a list of many more, bill 21-361’s language has the potential to positively influence state laws across the nation. Our researched-based Model School District Policy can help school districts draft similar suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention policies based on their specific needs, and we hope these changes in Washington, D.C. and California inspire such progress nationwide.

At The Trevor Project, it is disheartening to note that we continue to see the highest call volumes coming from the South. Discriminatory laws in Mississippi, Tennessee, and North Carolina not only will increase minority stress, but also may contribute to suicidal ideation. For LGBTQ young people who experience trauma and marginalization, these bills may cause distrust of businesses, religious organizations, and healthcare providers, potentially preventing them from seeking necessary help. Fortunately, we are here 24/7 fighting for those young people who feel this backlash and have nowhere to turn to. Our work today is more important than ever. We need your support to continue protecting LGBTQ youth.

To join us in our advocacy efforts to bring suicide prevention to schools and stop discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ measures like those we’ve seen in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Mississippi, visit our Advocacy page or donate here. Thank you for helping save young lives by being a part of local, state, and federal change.

Abbe Land

Executive Director and CEO, The Trevor Project


DC Passes First Bill in the Nation Requiring a School Suicide Policy To Address Needs of LGBTQ Youth

According to the Centers for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey in 2012, nearly 15% of the District of Columbia’s students ages 11-17 had contemplated suicide at some point, with statistics more than doubling for the LGBTQ population, ages 11-13.

In an effort to reduce these alarming numbers, Washington. D.C. Council Member David Grosso worked with leading suicide prevention and crisis intervention nonprofit The Trevor Project, The D.C. Center, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and others to pass bill 21-361, the Youth Suicide Prevention and School Climate Survey Amendment Act 23 of 2015.  The bill was passed unanimously by the DC Council on April 5, 2016 and now heads to the Mayor for her signature.

Requiring that teachers and principals in DC schools receive training every two years on recognizing the warning signs and risk factors for youth suicide and implement best practices for suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention, bill 21-361 is now  the first law in the nation to require a school suicide policy to specifically address the needs of LGBTQ youth.

“The Trevor Project is proud to have played a key role in helping this bill pass, which will help not only LGBTQ youth, but also foster and homeless youth, as well as those living with mental illness, substance use disorders, self-harming behaviors, and those bereaved by suicide,” Abbe Land, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project says.

Through early intervention, bill 21-361 is a long-term investment in young people’s futures. With the enactment of this bill, there is now model legislative language that other states can use to implement similar laws. California has already taken advantage of this and on April 6, 2016, we were part of passing a similar bill, AB 2246, through the California Assembly Education Committee. AB 2246 will require  middle and high schools to adopt suicide prevention policies for grades 7-12, and is now moving forward to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Council Member Grosso says, “Throughout the legislative process, The Trevor Project was a strong partner and consistent advocate for the mental health services and policies needed to put our students in the best position to learn and succeed. I thank them for their partnership and look forward to working with them on future projects.”

The Trevor Project will now turn its attention to California and other states to ensure schools across the country have policies to help students who may be thinking of suicide. To keep up-to-date with current research, the policy must be revisited every five years.

To join us in our advocacy efforts to bring suicide prevention to schools, visit our Advocacy page. Thank you for helping save young lives by being a part of local, state, and federal change.

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization focused on crisis intervention and suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ youth. Every day, The Trevor Project saves young lives through its free and confidential lifeline, educational materials, online resources, and advocacy. For more information, visit  www.TheTrevorProject.org.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Amy Loudermilk, Assoc. Director of Government Affairs

[email protected]

202-974-5952

Shawn Steiner, Marketing Director

[email protected]

646-350-1021 ext. 402


Trevor Celebrates Transgender Day of Visibility

Rachel Crandall, the head of transgender advocacy and education organization Transgender Michigan, founded Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, 2009 as a way to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of the transgender community. With 41 percent of transgender people who have attempted suicide, giving visibility to positive experiences in the community is a way to inspire folks to live as their authentic selves. At The Trevor Project, we have partnered with our Youth Advisory Council member Eli Erlick, director of Transgender Student Educational Resources, for the campaign, #MoreThanVisibility, which is an opportunity to share resources and start a dialogue about transgender justice. Show support of the transgender community by sharing the #MoreThanVisibility pin above on social media. By being visible as an ally, you are helping raise awareness and liberating folks who fear living as their authentic selves due to transphobia, violence towards the community, and/or lack of support.

We are here for the transgender community 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 and thetrevorproject.org. Here are the stories of two trans women who are a part of The Trevor Project and making a positive difference in the transgender community.

Michaela Ivri Mendelsohn, Board Member of The Trevor Project

Transgender activist, public speaker, businesswoman, and Trevor Board member Michaela Ivri Mendelsohn always wanted to change the world. As a nine-year-old, she read 101 books, 70 percent of which were biographies of people she admired—Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln…but no one on the list was trans. “If there was one person who had asked me ‘Have you ever met someone who’s trans?’, it would have changed my life forever,” she says.

Now, as CEO of Pollo West Corp and the Founder of the California Transgender Workplace Program, as well as the mother of a toddler and three grown children who are making a difference in the world, Michaela is becoming the hero she always wanted for herself. Just last week, she spent time at Out and Equal’s Conference to discuss workplace equality and inclusion. And, on Transgender Day of Visibility, March 31, 2016, she will be at The Oaks in California to answer questions and educate folks about the trans community. “I’m visible in the community as a speaker and activist because when a person can put a face and a name to a word like ‘transgender’—when they can hear me be vulnerable and ask me questions, they’re more likely to open their hearts and minds,” she says.

With 12 transgender employees, four of which have become managers in six of her El Pollo Loco restaurants, Michaela is giving visibility to the trans experience within the workplace by promoting trans-friendly job conditions and advocating for trans folks so that they are able to find employment, social acceptance, and the encouragement to start raising families of their own. “If we really want social justice, we have to lift up the lowest common denominator—so that means giving trans people of color more jobs and opportunities. We all have to evolve with the change or we’ll be left behind,” she says.

Michaela has also brought visibility to the trans experience in media by consulting on the television show “Orange is The New Black.” While she recognizes how Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, and Caitlyn Jenner’s stories have raised awareness of the transgender community, what she really hopes for is that organizations like Trevor can offer more education about the trans experience on YouTube, in schools, and public places. “What opened my mind was hearing The Trevor Project’s Youth Advisory Council talk about the intersectionality of the trans experience and seeing how many gender nonconforming identities existed. I remember feeling so much pressure to be a certain way as a woman, and that obsession became another box that made my experience worse. This new generation is different and it’s so exciting to see gender nonconformity become a part of our future. People are recognizing that they can accept they are blends and they don’t need one gender to label themselves,” she says.

Eli Erlick, Youth Advisory Council Member of The Trevor Project

Steering the gender nonconformity conversation as the director of Trans Student Educational Resources is Trevor’s YAC member Eli Erlick, who became a transgender activist when she was 15 years old. After organizing an LGBT Conference, she founded Transgender Student Educational Resources, became a media ambassador for GLSEN, and now serves on the YAC to inspire young people to take collective action for the LGBTQ community, especially intersectionally marginalized groups such as young transgender people. “Youth are not only our future, but also our present, and we’re leading movements right now,” she says.

Through Transgender Student Educational Resources, Eli and her team created Trans Youth Leadership Summit, the only national program fostering the activism of young transgender people through collective organization, with applications open now till May 1. At the summit, participants will design activist art, build community, and collaborate on ways to create action around issues affecting young trans people. “Few people know that the most influential uprisings in the LGBTQ community were incited by young gender nonconforming and transgender people of color. Sylvia Rivera was only 17 and Marsha P. Johnson was only 23 at the time of Stonewall. We must get out into the streets. Visibility is not just being seen as an individual… it’s working together to transform society,” she says.

During Transgender Day of Visibility, celebrate transgender people who are making a difference by participating in #MoreThanVisibility events in your community. You can also help support transgender leaders by sharing the donation page of the Trans Youth Summit and consider becoming a part of the confidential, safe, supportive transgender community on TrevorSpace.org. “The more that youth connect on TrevorSpace.org, the more emboldened they’ll feel to be visible as themselves,” Michaela says. “Transgender Day of Visibility is a day of empowerment and getting the recognition we deserve,” Eli says.

The Trevor Project supports all on Transgender Day of Visibility. We are here for you 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 and thetrevorproject.org.


Support Trevor at United Relay: History’s Biggest Coast-to-Coast Challenge

Starting in May, The Trevor Project is joining 9,000 runners in a race across the United States. Help save young LGBTQ lives in the biggest coast-to-coast challenge in history by signing up along any of the United Relay routes.

 

You can be that one supportive person who can decrease a young person’s risk for suicide by 30 percent. To get involved, set up a donation page and encourage your friends and family to take part. If you are underage, differently abled, or don’t feel like racing, you can make a big difference by raising awareness, cheering us on, or donating here. If you would like a discount on signing up for the race, email [email protected] for more information. AfterShokz will be giving away free headphones through a weekly prize draw here.

To prepare for United Relay, Trevor recognizes that self-care is necessary for building endurance. As National Sleep and Nutrition Awareness Months come to an end in March, we’ve compiled some tips on how to get ready for the race.

Get Better Sleep
1. Set a routine to wake up the same time each day
2. Exercise regularly
3. Avoid naps longer than 20 minutes
4. Eat and drink lightly before bed
5. Turn off electronics and dim the lights an hour before you sleep
6. If you can’t fall asleep, try getting up, taking a walk, journaling, meditating, or turning on music

Plan Nutritious Meals
1. A few weeks leading up to the race, plan meals with lean meats like chicken or fish and/or plant-based carb foods that are in season, like vegetables, fruits, and legumes
2. A few days leading up to the race, stay away from food that is not easy to digest or may not agree with your stomach, like processed foods, fats, fried foods, dairy, or extra fiber
3. Three hours before the race, eat a breakfast of carbs and protein or energy bars
4. 30 minutes before the race, continuously sip water to stay hydrated

Whether you race with Trevor or not, we appreciate all your support and we thank you for raising awareness about United Relay!


Statement from Abbe Land: Georgia Vetoes Anti-LGBTQ Bill

We are grateful that Governor Nathan Deal has vetoed House Bill 757, a policy which would have made it possible for faith-based organizations and businesses to decline services to the LGBTQ community throughout Georgia. Seeing over 500 businesses and organizations stand together to fight against this bill was inspiring and shows LGBTQ youth in Georgia that their futures matter. This is a signal to the nation that hate and fear-mongering will not win. It also shows the power of standing together to fight discrimination. We must continue to raise our collective voices so that North Carolina and other states learn that we won’t accept anything less than full equality for the LGBTQ community.

To join us in our advocacy efforts against discriminatory policies, visit our Advocacy pageThank you for helping save young lives by being a part of local, state, and federal change.

Abbe Land

Executive Director and CEO, The Trevor Project

Photo via David Goldman/AP, NPR.org


Trevor Celebrates National Social Workers’ Month

In celebration of the end of National Social Workers’ Month, we recognize four social workers on staff who help shape our crisis services and suicide prevention programs, as well as advocacy work.

David Bond, LCSW, B.C.E.T.S., and Vice President of Programs

What David W. Bond loves about social work is that he has played so many diverse roles in the field, from providing trauma therapy to over 800 children and families on a micro level, to shaping a health program for incarcerated youth on a mezzo level, and working on research at Trevor that could potentially change suicide prevention techniques on a national, macro level. “Social work allows us to blend direct practice with policy and research so that we can impact the psychosocial development of people in society as a whole,” David says.

Through a partnership with USC and Jeremy Goldbach, PhD, David is leading Trevor’s initiative of an immediate and long term evaluation of Trevor’s crisis services programs to help us grow and develop our impact. “Our research will help guide our peers in the mental health community about the best ways to serve LGBTQ youth,” David says.

Ashby Dodge, LCSW and Clinical Director

Ashby Dodge is a licensed clinical social worker, a wife, a mother, and a mentor – driven by the values of integrity and leadership.  With a private practice in NYC that focuses on couples/family therapy, young professionals, LGBTQ issues, sexual assault survivors, and substance abuse, Ashby’s clinical style is largely strengths-based, helping people find positive and practical solutions to any number of life stressors and problematic relationships. On March 18, 2016, she was awarded the Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry Humanitarian Alumni Award from her alma mater, Longwood University, for her commitment and selfless dedication to service, which has improved the welfare of the LGBTQ community.

“Social work has always been about connection for me.  Researcher and storyteller Brene Brown defines connection as ‘the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.’ I never want someone to feel alone, that their life is not worth living; to feel that fear inside that they – this beautiful unique creation – are not enough,” she says. As Clinical Director at The Trevor Project, she leads our life-affirming crisis services team so we can continue to be that one supportive place to which young people can turn.

Taryn Crosby, LMSW and Crisis Services Manager

Crisis Services Manager Taryn Crosby is a sex educator, social worker, and fellow at the Kull Initiative for Psychotherapy, where she provides affordable and comprehensive therapy for individuals, groups, and couples. Her goal at Trevor is to develop the ways in which we serve marginalized groups, including immigrants, transgender youth, and people of color. “Social work helps me understand a whole person through the context of their families, communities, schools, religions, economic backgrounds, and races. Through our USC research project, we’re hoping to understand more about the people we’re serving in our crisis services programs so that we can provide them with the resources that will best suit their needs,” she says.

Amy Loudermilk, MSW and Associate Director of Government Affairs

Since 2015, Amy Loudermilk has been working with the Washington, DC City Council on the first bill in the nation that would require suicide prevention training in schools, specifically addressing the needs of LGBTQ youth. Now, the bill will be voted into law in March.

Amy has also been instrumental in banning the harmful practice of conversion therapy in several states across America. Her goal in 2016 is to help make sure that the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act is passed so that vital funding for suicide prevention and intervention services remains available across states, tribes, and schools. “More than 90 percent of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder. Four out of five young people with a diagnosable mental health condition do not receive treatment. LGB youth are four times more likely and questioning youth are three times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, while nearly half of transgender youth have seriously considered attempting suicide. We can do better for young people who should be receiving treatment, but are not being diagnosed, do not have access to mental health professionals, or who face stigma and shame that keep their mental health challenges from being addressed,” she says.

We thank the social workers on Trevor’s staff who are paving a brighter future for LGBTQ youth. With their dedication and unconditional support, we can continue to save young lives, 24/7.