HRC Foundation’s Children, Youth and Families Program Empowers LGBTQ Youth

As we close out Pride 2017, it is a pleasure to shine the light on an organization that is making strides for the LGBTQ community. Human Rights Campaign was founded in 1980 and has been promoting fairness for LGBTQ people since. Our guest post is written by Sula Malina, the HRC Foundation Children Youth and Families Program Coordinator.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for LGBTQ people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

HRC was founded in 1980 and began expanding our reach in 1995, creating a Family Project that became part of our educational arm, the HRC Foundation.

HRC Foundation builds support for LGBTQ people among families and friends, co-workers and employers, pastors and parishioners, doctors and teachers, neighbors, and the general public. Through several programs and projects, HRC is enhancing the lived experiences of LGBTQ people and their families, as we change hearts and minds across America and around the globe.

One of the programs, Children, Youth, and Families, creates welcoming, affirming and supportive environments for LGBTQ prospective parents, LGBTQ-led families and LGBTQ youth through innovative training and direct consultation with schools, child welfare agencies and other service providers.

The program’s projects include:

  • The All Children — All Families Project trains child welfare professionals to improve agency policies and practices around LGBTQ foster and adoptive families, as well as LGBTQ children and youth.
  • The Welcoming Schools Project is the nation’s premier program dedicated to creating respectful and supportive elementary schools in embracing family diversity, creating LGBTQ-inclusive schools, preventing bias-based bullying, creating gender-expansive schools, and supporting transgender and non-binary students.
  • HRC Foundation’s Youth Ambassadors amplify the important voices of teens and young adults and help HRC Foundation improve the lives of LGBTQ youth at home, at school, at work, and beyond.

Roddy Biggs, an HRC Youth Ambassador who experienced bullying and harassment after coming out as gay at the age of 12, sees his position as a unique opportunity:

“I now work to promote the message that life gets better, and it is important to never give up. I know first hand that being a member of the LGBTQ community in today’s society can be very difficult. I know how hard it can be to come out, to feel accepted in your school or community. I hope that, as a Youth Ambassador, I can help LGBTQ youth get the resources they need to feel safe, loved, and accepted, and to let them know that there is hope and someone who loves them out there.”

Biggs and his fellow Youth Ambassadors travel to the annual Time to THRIVE Conference, a national conference to promote safety, inclusion and well-being for LGBTQ youth. Youth Ambassadors Tyler Yun and Paolo Veloso expressed their appreciation for the intersectional focus of the 2017 Time to THRIVE conference:

“Attending the Time to THRIVE conference was a great way to feel solidarity with the youth of color ambassadors throughout the country as we are pushing for our combined liberation.” — Tyler Yun

“I am a poor, bisexual, Asian-American immigrant. Each of these are often invisible identities in the larger LGBTQ community, and because of that, many queer people like me do not feel like we belong. Time to THRIVE has been such an important and formative experience for me because it showed me that my experiences and identities have value.” — Paolo Veloso

HRC is proud to call the Born This Way Foundation an ally in our effort to empower LGBTQ youth and families across the nation. Click here for a comprehensive look at HRC Foundation. Click here for highlights of HRC Foundation’s programs and projects follows.