Last November, the Anchorage Youth Development Coalition (AYDC), a coalition of over 60 youth-serving organizations, was one of three Alaskan organizations awarded grants from Pride Foundation. Their goal: to ensure that LGBTQ youth are adequately served by organizations providing services to young people, whether it be the library, the public schools, an after school program, or the local youth shelter. “The inspiration for this project came from numerous students who expressed the view that after-school programs can and should offer more nourishing environments for LGBTQ youth,” said Deborah Williams, Executive Director of AYDC. “This was met with the enthusiastic desire by youth serving agencies to be more understanding and welcoming to their LGBTQ clients and participants.”
This month, AYDC is taking the first big step toward their goal by partnering with Identity to launch their search for LGBTQ and straight ally interns between the ages of 14 and 18. These young leaders will facilitate discussion groups with other LGBTQ youth about their experiences, review programs and services to help create more supportive environments for LGBTQ youth, and create and co-facilitate workshops for adults who serve young people. “To make this project meaningful and responsive, it was crucial that it be led by LGBTQ youth who can speak directly to their experiences and need,” Deborah Williams said. In return for their service, interns will help make Anchorage a safer and more supportive community for all youth, enhance their leadership and presentation skills, and receive a letter of recommendation for college or employment as well as a monetary stipend.
If you would like to learn more about the LGBTA Youth Leadership Internship or would like to share information with a young person in your life, please call Nicole Poole at 907-277-4179 or e-mail Nicole@aydc.org for an application.
Tiffany is Pride Foundation’s Regional Development Organizer in Alaska. Email Tiffany.