A Group for Trans Youth and Children:
Made Possible By Community Support and the 2015 Giving Challenge
Last Fall, our director received an email from a parent who was deeply concerned about her gender non-conforming eleven-year-old. Maria*, who was in 6th grade at the time, had been assigned male at birth and was at the cusp of socially transitioning to a female gender identity. Maria had persistently presented as feminine when safe to do so, but because of severe bullying she experienced in elementary school, she felt pressure to masculinize her appearance for several years. Although Maria was clearly under ALSO Youth’s age range (13-21), our staff was determined to find a way to assist this family. There was little time to determine how the organization may be able to apply for funds for a new program, or expand hours for a younger demographic. The family needed assistance immediately, and youth input suggested that other attendees were in need of a trans-specific group, as well.
Fortunately, ALSO Youth was able to respond to the needs of Maria and the other young transgender and gender-expansive youth promptly, due to the organization’s participation in the 2015 Giving Challenge which resulted in raising $11,400. These are funds that were donated during the Challenge by supporters of ALSO Youth that were matched, and sometimes doubled by participating community foundations. The resulting $11,400 were unrestricted, and have been key to ALSO Youth’s ability to adapt services and programs.
Today, ALSO Youth facilitates a peer support group for youth who are transgender and gender-expansive from 5-6:30pm each Thursday. There is no minimum age for the group and this group is well-attended by approximately a dozen regular attendees. Maria and her mother are at the center of each of these groups, receiving support they were so desperate for less than a year ago, but also providing their support and knowledge to other youth and families that are going through similar challenges.
As the world and youth needs in our community change, ALSO Youth must have the ability and resources to adapt to those needs. The 2016 Giving Challenge is around the corner and your participation is instrumental in helping us make sustainable additions or changes in services for many years to come. The dates for the Giving Challenge this year are September 20-21 from noon to noon, with many exciting challenges and matching opportunities for individual donations to ALSO Youth and hundreds of other participating nonprofits. The 2016 Giving Challenge is presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County which is strengthened by the Patterson Foundation, as well as support from Manatee Community Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, and the Herald-Tribune Media Group.
More information on how ALSO Youth is participating in the 2016 Giving Challenge and how you can get involved can be found here!
*We have changed the youth’s name for the purposes of maintaining confidentiality and safety of the youth in this publication.