Trevor Outreach Across The Nation

Lost-n-Found Youth executive director Rick Westbrook (l) and actor and activist Josh Hutcherson (r). (Photo by Patrick Saunders)

The Trevor Project has been connecting with champions of LGBTQ youth across the nation as we raise awareness about our suicide prevention and crisis intervention work. In July, through our PowerON initiative, we co-hosted an event with Lost-N-Found Youth, an organization that works to end homelessness for LGBTQ youth in Atlanta. With nearly 40 percent of homeless youth who identify as LGBTQ and an estimated 650,000 homeless LGBT youth nationally, it is crucial that we show we are there for them, especially when they may struggle getting connected to resources.

Trevor’s Youth Advisory Councilmember Tom Woermer, LGBT Tech, human IT, and Straight But Not Narrow came together to help raise $3,000 dollars for PowerON so that we could provide refurbished computers and cell phones to youth and connect them to Trevor’s lifesaving services. 10 laptops and 28 solar chargers were donated at our event, with Josh Hutcherson in attendance, along with 200 folks, including Rep. Park Cannon – 58th District GA, four Atlanta City Council Members, and two Atlanta City School Board Members. According to ThinkProgress.org, “Having a phone can be the difference between sleeping in a public space, risking physical harm, and calling a trusted friend, family member, or case worker who can give you a place to stay…and 62 percent of homeless youth own a cellphone but only 40 percent have a working phone..” Learn more about why being connected to tech is crucial for the mental health and well-being of homeless LGBTQ youth in the video below.

The Trevor Project has also been lucky to connect with Miss Missouri, Erin O’ Flaherty, the first openly gay Miss America contestant, as she raises awareness about our suicide prevention efforts among the LGBTQ community in the South and beyond. Miss Missouri marched with us and YouTube star Brendan Jordan for our San Diego Pride event. It was so meaningful to the LGBTQ community there, and we thank Trevor Ambassador Joshua Coyne for organizing such an empowering event. We look forward to working with them in the future. You can check out some of our Tweets here and our first Facebook LIVE video, which got over 10K views.

You can join our fight to save young lives at our upcoming events in Miami August 28, Chicago September 16, and San Diego September 24 with Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants. Thank you for being a warrior for LGBTQ youth. Showing them that they matter can help us save lives.


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.


The Lifeguard Workshop: Trevor’s New Online Education Resource

At The Trevor Project, we know one supportive person can make a difference in an LGBTQ young person’s life. We also know that it can sometimes be difficult to have conversations about mental health, suicide prevention, and LGBTQ identity in the classroom. That’s why we are launching a new online educational resource—The Lifeguard Workshop—to help teachers, mental health professionals, social workers, administrators, PTAs, GSAs, and faith groups share lifesaving programs with youth in their communities. With this resource, we are showing youth they are not alone and it is brave to ask for help.

We have heard so many stories about teachers and counselors who have made young people feel safe and accepted.  For example, one 15-year-old trans person in California told us:

“My Spanish teacher had a little sticker on her desk that said that her classroom was a safe space for LGBT students. I decided that I would come out to her because I really wanted to have someone to talk to about school and being trans. She supported me and told me that she was happy for me…She automatically changed pronouns for me in class, and she was always available for me to talk.”

Based on The Trevor Project’s in-person workshop, which is listed in the SPRC/AFSP Best Practice Registry for Suicide Prevention, we’ve designed The Lifeguard Workshop to include a video, Safer Spaces Guide, and empathy building lessons for middle school and high school aged youth. The Lifeguard Workshop teaches youth how to identify the challenges faced by LGBTQ people, recognize the warning signs of suicide, and respond to someone who may be in crisis. TheTrevorProject.org/Lifeguard also provides information on The Trevor Project’s crisis intervention services, like our 24/7 Lifeline at 866-488-7386, TrevorChat and TrevorText, and our online community, TrevorSpace.org.

To celebrate the launch of The Lifeguard Workshop, we’ve designed a classroom poster and other educational resources you can order here. Since these are new resources, please take a moment to provide us with your feedback by completing a Teacher Survey after using them in your classroom.  And, if you’d like to bring The Trevor Project’s staff to your school district, you can sign up for Care and Ally Training.

We launched our resources at Human Rights Campaign’s Time to Thrive Conference in February, where we joined 45 national organizations dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ young people and presented workshops on how to educate young people and youth-serving professionals on LGTBQ-competent suicide prevention, risk detection, and response. Transgender activist and children’s book author Jazz Jennings joined in supporting our efforts, with a shout-out on Twitter to her over 43.7K followers.

From March 9-12, Trevor will be at the American Association of Social Workers Conference in Baltimore, and from March 18-20, we will be in North Carolina at the LGBT in the South Conference to present The Lifeguard Workshop live, joining educators and youth-serving professionals to build awareness and cultural competency, learn current and emerging best practices, and gather resources from leading experts in the field. And, in the summer, watch out for our Summer Reading List on our Pinterest page to further your support of LGBTQ youth when the school season ends.

To help make it easier for schools to prevent, assess, intervene in, and respond to suicidal behavior, The Trevor Project has also collaborated to create a Model School District Policy for Suicide Prevention. This modular, adaptable document will help educators and school administrators implement comprehensive suicide prevention policies in communities nationwide. The fact sheet and full policy can be downloaded here.

Youth-serving professionals can also join our Senior Education Manager, Danielle Orner, for a monthly informational webinar which will explore how to facilitate a Lifeguard Workshop, address tough questions, and make classrooms safer spaces. For more information, you can contact her at [email protected]

With education, we can help prevent suicide. Thank you to the educators and leaders who are sharing lifesaving resources with youth in their communities. You are making a difference!

Photo one features Executive Director and CEO Abbe Land, along with our Senior Education Manager, Danielle Orner, and Vice President of Programs, David Bond, holding our new educational posters.  Photo two features TrevorLIVE Youth Innovator, trans activist, and children’s book author Jazz Jennings.


The Trevor Project Commemorates Human Rights Day

Today is #HumanRightsDay, a time for people to help build a world where LGBTQ people are embraced in every community. All should have the right to feel safe living as their authentic selves. Like always, we create that safe space for youth by having counselors on call 24/7 at 866-488-7386, TrevorChat.org, and TrevorSpace.org. But, we are also fighting for the mental health rights of the community so that they will have brighter futures moving forward.

Through our advocacy efforts, we’ve helped get conversion therapy banned in Illinois and Oregon, and in Burbank, we’re implementing a school suicide prevention policy. We’re also fighting to get mental health services funded across states, tribes, and universities through the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act. By next year, we hope all these advocacy efforts become realities on a nation-wide level.

Help us in this fight for human rights at thetrevorproject.org/advocacy.


In The Office: Self-Care Potluck

With the high-stress crisis intervention and suicide prevention services we provide, compassion fatigue and burnout can be common among our staff and volunteers, so we try to remind one another of how important self-care is, whether that involves meditation, exercise, reading, getting out in nature, taking time off, eating well, getting good sleep, or connecting with friends. On September 3, to inspire our Trevor Lifeline, TrevorText, and TrevorChat volunteers and employees, we held a Self-Care Potluck.

 

We also celebrated the launch of a Self-Care Photo Scavenger Hunt for volunteers, which took place on their private Facebook groups. Volunteers were invited to take photos of themselves practicing self-care, and if they did any five out of a list of ten activities, they were entered to win a ticket to see the “It Gets Better” concert presented by The Gay Men’s Chorus of L.A. on October 10. Check out the winning photo here.

We will continue our self-care practices throughout the year, and if you have any self-care practices you’d like to share with us, please Tweet or Instagram us at @trevorproject with hashtag #LGBTQselfcare. Let’s inspire our community members to nurture their mental health and well-being.


Spring Fling Brings in Huge Crowd

Spring FlingNextGen New York’s Spring Fling was the group’s largest event ever, with over 650 guests in attendance! The evening took place at The Park, where guest performances included: Erich Bergen (JERSEY BOYS, Madam Secretary), Natalie Douglas (award-winning singer), Isabelle (American Idol), Aiden Leslie (top-charting performer), The Big Apple Corps (award-winning marching band), as well as ToUch Performance Art, DJ Anomaly Code, and DJ Vito Fun. Special thanks the NextGen committee members, and to Absolut for powering the event as well as their new three-year sponsorship of Trevor NextGen.

In between experiences, guests took pictures in the Absolut photo booth, walked through the event’s signature silent auction, and participated in the Spring Fling raffle. Attendees also enjoyed a hosted bar by Absolut, Hot Rabbit, Boodles Gin, Dobel, Kraken Rum, Tincup, and Friexenet, and passed hors d’oeuvres.

If you weren’t able to attend Spring Fling this year, you won’t want to miss The Trevor Project’s upcoming events!

May 1 – A Night Out for Trevor: Washington D.C.
Presented by Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
Featuring Alex Newell (Glee)

June 15 – TrevorLIVE New York
Presented by Wells Fargo
Honoring Sir Ian McKellan, Ryan Fecteau, and Johnson & Johnson

To learn more about NextGen New York and stay in-the-know, follow them on Facebook!


New Youth Advisory Council Meets in NYC

This past weekend, the new Youth Advisory Council (YAC) met in New York for their annual leadership summit. During this pivotal time, new and returning members took time to bond, share common goals, brainstorm ideas for the future, and create lasting relationships that carry on far after their tenure with the YAC.

During the Summit, members spanning in age from 16 to 24 focused on many key topics, such as learning about Trevor’s programs, discussing advocacy initiatives, understanding how to share their stories, exploring ways to reduce suicide risks, and expanding their knowledge of LGBTQ youth.

This year, the YAC Summit would not have been possible if it weren’t for the support and generosity of Trevor’s co-founder, James Lecesne. James helped fundraise to ensure that everything was covered for this crucial conference – thank you so much, James!

In between official council business, Trevor’s staff took the youth to several iconic places, including The Stonewall Inn, The Village, Times Square, and a ferry ride to see the Statue of Liberty. The members even got to see James Lecesne in his new show, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey. It was certainly a packed weekend that none of us will forget!

Now, for the first time, please help us welcome the following new YAC members! And of course, let us also celebrate the former members who have helped make this council a critical part of The Trevor Project’s mission to end suicide among LGBTQ youth.

Marisol Cervantes, 20
Caldwell, ID

Pat Cordova-Goff, 19
Azusa, CA

Cody Courtney, 20
Ellisville, MS

Dannie Dobbins, 19
Bloomington, IN

Rachel Epperly, 20
Clifton, ME

Eli Erlick, 19
Claremont, CA

Amelia, 17
Wisconsin

Kegan Jones, 18
Marblehead, MA

Charlie Kerr, 22
Brooklyn, NY

Neeta Lachmandas, 16
Escondido, CA

Detrick Manning, 17
Baltimore, MD

Sabina Mendoza, 19
Provo, UT

Conner Mertens, 20
Kennewick, WA

Jessica Milford, 22
Pocatello, ID

Dominic Ravina, 18
San Rafael, CA

Anna Talajkowski, 17
Castro Valley, CA

Naijasia Thomas, 18
Galloway, NJ

Tom Woermer, 21
Washington, DC

Matthew Yeung, 17
San Ramon, CA

Appearance in Photo (L to R):

Back Row: Conner Mertens, Tom Woermer, Pat Cordova-Goff, Andy Talajkowski, Charlie Kerr, Dannie Dobbins — Middle Row: Cody Courtney, Matthew Yeung, Marisol Cervantes, Kegan Jones, Dominic Ravina, Eli Erlick, Detrick Manning — Front Row: Amelia, Neeta Lachmandas, Sabina Mendoza, Naijasia Thomas, Jess Milford


Trevor Celebrates the Life-Affirming Work of Graduating YAC Members

Dozens of inspiring and heroic young people have served on the Trevor Youth Advisory Council (YAC), helping to increase Trevor visibility, advocate for pressing issues facing LGBTQ youth, and show young people with diverse identities that they’re not alone.

As we welcome a group of new YAC members this season, we also say “thank you” to seven graduating members who have spent the last two years making a difference. “The YAC’s graduating members have inspired me because they represent my hopes and dreams for all LGBTQ youth,” said The Trevor Project’s Outreach Coordinator, Mike Jorgensen, who organizes the group. “I look forward to the day when all young people will be able to thrive and achieve great things while celebrating their diverse identities and backgrounds.”

Here are a few of their most notable accomplishments, and reflections:

Travis Amiel (Westchester, NY) was inspired by our founding film, TREVOR, and produced a play about a contemporary gay teen. Travis’ story took place in a world where The Trevor Project exists – and because of that, the teen was able to receive necessary life-saving resources. He reflected, saying, “The YAC has introduced me to people that are devoted to Trevor’s cause in the most inspiring ways. It’s been humbling and exciting to be part of a team filled with such passion, excitement, and genius.”

Madelyn Gelpi (Slidell, LA), a 2014 YAC Co-Chair, helped foster safer and more loving places for LGBTQ youth in Louisiana. Madelyn gained support and advocacy from community leaders and political representatives by creating an inspiring coming out video. Madelyn said, “My future goals in life have everything to do with Trevor’s mission. Everything I’ve done in the YAC has better prepared me for this goal and has also solidified that this is the kind of work I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Luke Knudsen (Dallas, TX) was one of the 2014 YAC Co-Chairs, and promoted advocacy and resources for LGBTQ youth in often-overlooked rural areas. As a leader in the transgender community, Luke strives to create a world in which all gender identities are validated and celebrated. He said, “The YAC provides an unmatched ability to amplify Trevor’s reach and ability to be effective in its services for youth. We are, in essence, the youth Trevor serves, so the YAC is able to help ensure Trevor is effectively achieving its mission.”

Hannah Kopach (Elmhurst, IL) paired with local artist Steve Musgrave in her two-night “Art with Trevor” event to show LGBTQ youth the importance of self-care and creative expressions. For attendees, it was an empowering and healing experience. She said, “It has been a life-changing experience to see how important Trevor’s work is. Even as an ally, I still have the power to help save LGBTQ lives.”

MaKayla Reed (Belfast, ME) was the keynote speaker at Pride Youth Gathering in Maine, where they educated the local community about Trevor’s life-saving resources. MaKayla has the following message to struggling LGBTQ youth: “While things don’t always get better overnight, there will always be someone to talk to in order to get you through. The Trevor Project is here. You are loved, valued, and appreciated.”

Adam White (Ashburn, VA) spread awareness of the importance of faith-inclusivity and family support for LGBTQ youth within the Latter-day Saint community. In 2013, Adam was also presented with the Trevor Youth Innovator Award for his life-affirming work. As a future elementary school teacher, Adam hopes to further his LGBTQ activism within educational systems to provide safe and supportive environments for students of all identities. Check out Adam’s inspiring words to LGBTQ youth in his “It Gets Better at Brigham Young University” and “Just be There” videos.

Emma Zyriek (Bel Air, MD) helped foster a safe and supportive campus environment at Greenville, South Carolina’s Furman University by highlighting RuPaul Drag Race: Season One winner Bebe Zahara’s story of self-exploration and love. Emma hopes to continue her passion with LGBTQ populations, while spreading a beautiful message of positivity and hope.

The Trevor Project celebrates the accomplishments of these seven graduating members and wishes them all the best in their future endeavors. We know that our YAC graduates will go on to do incredible things and continue to advocate for the well-being of LGBTQ youth nationwide!

For more information and important updates (such as the approaching announcement of our newest selected YAC members!), visit our YAC page here.


Donate a Photo: Help Save Lives

The Trevor Project is proud to partner with Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies through “Donate a Photo,” an app available on Android and iOS devices. From now until November 30, you can upload a photo of your choice to this free app once a day until the program’s end-date. For each uploaded picture, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 in support of The Trevor Project.

All you have to do is choose The Trevor Project from the “Donate a Photo” list of trusted causes, upload a picture from your camera or take one in the moment, and share your photo through the Donate a Photo gallery. Set a reminder in your phone to upload one picture per day, and help The Trevor Project reach our maximum donation amount of $16,000! Each dollar you help raise goes toward our life-saving mission of preventing suicide among LGBTQ youth.

Choose Snap Share

Participating in Donate a Photo is just one piece of Trevor’s partnership with Johnson & Johnson, having joined Care with Pride™ earlier this year. Supporters without an iPhone or Android device can also help The Trevor Project through Care with Pride™ by using coupons found at HealthyEssentials.com/printable-coupons. By purchasing these everyday items, you can help support LGBTQ youth in crisis!

Visit http://www.donateaphoto.com/ to upload your first photo to help save lives!


Volunteer Potlucks Celebrate Trevor

Volunteers nationwide have come together over the past two months to recognize The Trevor Project’s 16 years of service. In Los Angeles and New York, staff and volunteers gathered in the park to share a celebratory cake. Washington D.C. volunteers brought their potluck party to the rooftop of The Whitman. In Salt Lake City, a group picnic gave volunteers a chance to connect and have fun.

During these Sweet 16 potluck celebrations, Trevor volunteers shared what they most loved about The Trevor Project:

“I love how Trevor is all about community. We’re all there to support each other.” – Lindsey

“I just love knowing that at the end of the day, I’ve made a difference in someone’s life every time I volunteer.” – Jason

“I love how the training we go through is so applicable to life outside of volunteering at Trevor.” – Jeff

“Everyone at Trevor is amazing! It makes me happy to see all these people. I’m happy in my heart, every time.” – Faye

We are so proud of each and every volunteer who gives their time and energy to the youth we serve. Show your support for these incredible people by donating $16 through Trevor’s Sweet 16 campaign: Trvr.org/Sweet16. Every dollar will go toward fulfilling our mission, and help ensure Trevor’s volunteers are always here to help LGBTQ youth in crisis.

To learn more about becoming a volunteer at The Trevor Project, visit: Trvr.org/volunteer