2023 Expressions Exhibition
ALSO Youth was proud to present the art showcase, “Expressions Exhibition” on Thursday September 7, 2023, at the Sarasota Opera House.
The Expressions Exhibition included a silent auction of local artists’ works which raised over $7,000 for the organization. Guests enjoyed live music, free lite bites, and a cash bar. Artwork in various mediums submitted by LGBTQ+ youth from Sarasota and Manatee County was showcased in celebration of their creative expressions. Youth and professional artists were present to talk about their work and share artistic inspiration.
2023 Scholars Celebration
Our extensive services include annual scholarship awards to deserving youth who exhibit tenacity and resilience in their academic endeavors. The organization offers scholarships from two funds: The ALSO Youth Betsy Nelson Scholarship Fund in honor of one of the organization’s founders and the Greg Jung Memorial Scholarship Fund, specifically dedicated to students pursuing studies in education and in memory of accomplished educator, Greg Jung.
On Sunday, June 11th, Chef Christopher Covelli hosted an event honoring the six scholarship recipients selected by the ALSO Youth Scholarship Team. Chef Covelli is the husband of Greg Jung and held the event in his home, where scholarship winners and their families were celebrated for their academic accomplishments. The recipients of the awards come from various backgrounds but share pride in their identities within the LGBTQ+ community.
"It was amazing to see the kids and families interacting together in celebration of their accomplishments and with such excitement about their future,” said Executive Director, Dr. Becky McDonough.
“We are so grateful for the generosity of the Sarasota-Manatee community. Because of their support and encouragement, these young people are able to stretch toward their goals and dreams.”
Anyone who would like to be a part of this impactful program and contribute to the scholarship funds for next year can find out more information on ALSO Youth’s website or call their office at (941) 951-2576. There is currently a $5,000 match offered for any donations made before 9/30/2023 toward the ALSO Youth Betsy Nelson Scholarship Fund.
ALSO Youth Annual Prom: Disco Party
The 2023 ALSO Youth Prom was a major success! The event was held on February 18th at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, where our team of staff and volunteers transformed the space into a disco party fit for grooving the night away! Attendees decorated vinyl records, made corsages and boutonnieres courtesy of Selby Gardens, took photos at the photo booth, participated in contests and so much more!
We are so thankful to our supporters that made the Prom possible, including the Hurlburt Foundation, the DeBartolo Family Foundation, Cindy Barnes of Sarasota Pride, our incredible prom planning committee and volunteers, Sights & Sounds AV, Georgie Moore, Selby Gardens, and many more!
Photos courtesy of Samantha Ponzillo Media.
Manatee County Youth Center Grand Opening
We are so grateful to each and every member of the community that attended the grand opening of our Manatee County youth center. It has been a tremendous joy for our team to celebrate this milestone vent alongside the community that has made this possible. We wish to give a special thanks to the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation for their continued support of ALSO Youth's mission. Additionally, thank you to Kind Cotton for donating a large number of LGBTQ+ young adult books toward our new Center!
30th Anniversary Gala Photos
Samantha Ponzillo was at the 30th Anniversary Gala we hosted at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens on November 9th, 2022. Visit the link below to purchase your favorites!
Pride in the Park 2022
We attended Pride in the Park at JD Hamel Park on October 22, 2022. We had a blast connecting with the community and sharing our pride. We even got the chance to visit with ALSO Youth alumni!
On September 17, 2022, ALSO Youth hosted our first QueerCon event at Sarasota School of Arts & Sciences. This event was held for middle & high school students that participate in their school's GSA/Diversity Club in Sarasota & Manatee counties. QueerCon featured educational workshops, leadership building, and opportunities for students to connect. ALSO Youth provided lunch and fun gifts for each participant.
We are so grateful to all of our volunteers who assisted in ensuring the safety and enjoyment of this event. Additionally, our presenters were integral to the success of QueerCon. The workshops presented were provided by Youth Move Suncoast, Healthy Teens Manatee, Embracing Our Differences, Florida Studio Theatre, Equality Florida, Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, LuluLemon, MCC Church of the Trinity, & ALSO Youth.
At the end of the day, the students were able to provide feedback to our staff regarding their experience. Overwhelmingly, the students responded that their favorite workshops were with Embracing Our Differences & Florida Studio Theatre! Here is some of the feedback the youth participants provided:
-In response to our prompt asking for any additional questions or requests, a student responded, "It was great and I had fun!" This was of course adorned with an enthusiastically drawn smiley face.
-In response to being asked what the least favorite part of the day was, a student responded "having to leave."