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


Power On! Campaign Hits the Basketball Court

Basketball PartnershipOn August 8, The Trevor Project, Straight But Not Narrow, Human I-T, and Josh Hutcherson came together at L.A. Live to raise awareness of Power On: a campaign that brings life-affirming technology loaded with LGBTQ resources into the hands of underserved youth nationwide.

This unique collaboration took center court during Straight But Not Narrow’s 3rd annual 3ON3 Celebrity Basketball Game. Before the first play was made, “Most Valuable Player” Josh Hutcherson and Trevor’s Executive Director and CEO, Abbe Land told attendees about how they could help LGBTQ youth nationwide Power On. The Straight But Not Narrow team even surprised Abbe with a cake in honor of Trevor’s sixteenth year of service.

“It’s awesome to know that [Power On] will be used to help a young person out there who, before this campaign, wasn’t able to get access to information and resources that could really help them,” said Josh in a game-day interview. “I’ve always respected the work that The Trevor Project does, and to have an opportunity for Straight But Not Narrow to collaborate with them on a campaign like Power On is exciting,”

Power On runs until LGBT Spirit Day on October 17, so submit your donation today! After you give, your technology will be erased, cleaned and refurbished by Human I-T before being sent to a youth center, homeless shelter, or LGBTQ community center.

Visit Trvr.org/PowerOn to learn more.


What’s Coming Up for Trevor?

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 17: CEO and Executive Director Abbe Land of the The Trevor Project arrives for The Trevor Project’s 2013 “TrevorLIVE” Event Honoring Cindy Hensley McCain at Chelsea Piers on June 17, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for The Trevor Project) *** Local Caption *** Abbe Land

I am so excited that we’ve now completed the year-long process of developing a comprehensive 3-year strategic plan that will carry us well beyond our 16th year. Its future-forward goals lay the foundation for The Trevor Project’s expansion, and ensure that we focus on continuing to support LGBTQ youth in the strongest way possible.

Over the past several years, The Trevor Project has grown – and this growth will continue as we begin the new fiscal year in August. We have seen that more and more young people across the country are reaching out to Trevor for help, especially in a digital age where a growing number of youth are accessing our online services. To meet this need, we plan to invest in our programs, our infrastructure, and our volunteers.

The focus for this year will be to strengthen and expand the capacity for our crisis services, which will be achieved by adding staff that support the Lifeline, TrevorChat, TrevorText, and Trevorspace; as well as recruiting more volunteers to work with these programs.

With TrevorSpace in particular, we will dedicate resources to dramatically improve the functionality and usability of the website’s platform, and ensure that the social network is optimized for mobile devices. More young people than ever are accessing this life-affirming site from their phones, and we want to make sure that TrevorSpace members never have to be without this supportive online community.

Our education and advocacy work will continue to be key components of our strategy, and we plan to concentrate these efforts in programs and opportunities where Trevor provides unique value. Trevor’s outreach team will continue to focus on recruiting more volunteers, and all of us will be working to secure the financial resources necessary to support our planned program expansion.

I feel confident and optimistic about The Trevor Project’s direction moving forward, and encourage you to check our website for updates as the year continues. Thank you for supporting The Trevor Project and the LGBTQ youth we serve. We can’t do it without you!


Volunteer Appreciation Week

The volunteers at The Trevor Project go above and beyond to change the lives of LGBTQ youth for the better, and we are forever grateful for their service. Whether it is taking calls, chats or texts from youth in crisis, stuffing Trevor Resource Kits for schools, facilitating a workshop, or organizing an event through Trevor Ambassadors or NextGen, we couldn’t do our work without our incredible volunteers.

To show how much we appreciate the hundreds of people who give their time to us each year, we shared stories and messages of support and thanks with all our volunteers in honor of National Volunteer Appreciation Week. In case you missed them, you can read about Brittany, Paul, Dae, Kevin and Melanie on our Facebook page. You can also watch the great video created by the team at Avant Girard, featuring Trevor’s Youth Advisory Council.

The Trevor Project is always looking for volunteers and there are lots of different ways you can help. To learn more about volunteering at The Trevor Project, visit: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/volunteer


Loving Our Volunteers

Trevor volunteer, Gena, at a NOH8 photo shoot.

This month we’re highlighting Gena, a multi-service volunteer who joined The Trevor Project’s administrative offices in West Hollywood this past October.  She quickly found a passion working with the Trevor team – and we quickly fell in love with her generous, eager, and kind personality.

“Gena brings a bright and positive energy to Trevor’s office, and always brings treats for the Trevor staff to show how much she appreciates our work,” said Brent Webster, Development Coordinator, who works closely with Gena. “She’s always looking for more ways to help and spread the word about Trevor.”

Gena, who is CEO of the company she co-founded in 2007, commented on her experience at Trevor, saying, “When I truly believe in something, the most loving thing I can do is to serve its cause. It has been a deeply rewarding experience working alongside Trevor’s passionate staff.  My favorite days of the week are the days I spend here!”

In December Gena also became a donor, purchasing a table at TrevorLIVE to introduce more of her friends to The Trevor Project’s mission. This year, we are also excited to welcome Gena into our training program for crisis services volunteers.

“I can relate in many ways to these troubled youth, having struggled myself as a questioning teen with feelings of loneliness, isolation, desperation, and suicide,” said Gena.  “Trevor would have made a difference in my life back then.  My hope is that I can make a difference in others’ lives, even simply by letting them know they are not alone.”

Interested in getting involved with The Trevor Project? Visit TheTrevorProject.org/section/get-involved.