EVENT DATE: Mar 17, 2017
Over six thousand youth (under 24) lived on the streets of Los Angeles on any given night during 2016.* 40% of the homeless youth in the Hollywood area self-identify as part of the LGBT community.
For my 26th birthday, I want to donate all of my birthday love to the Los Angeles LGBT Center's Homeless Youth Transitional Housing Program, which served over 74,000 meals and provided 22,858 bed nights to homeless youth.**
This past summer I worked with the Voices of Youth Initiative from the University of Chicago interviewing homeless youth in San Diego, CA. There were many times when, at the end of an interview, I would sit in my car and cry. I met a transgender woman who had been kicked out of her home, and subsequently from apartments, for her gender expression and sexuality. She became homeless and had to resort to sex work for money. I met a gay young man who slept in his car the night before our interview because he had been kicked out of his home by his father for being gay. He spoke of having contemplating suicide before and many nights sleeping in different shelters. I met a straight guy whose Mom found a new boyfriend and neglected him, forcing him out of the house because she wasn't providing for him. I met a young woman whose house was full of domestic abuse and drugs and she had to run away.
These stories broke my heart and I learned how easy it is to be left on the streets, and what some of these individuals have had to do to get by.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center's Homeless Youth Transitional Housing Program offers a transitional home, counseling services, meals, support groups, job readiness and literacy workshops, financial readiness workshops, and help enroll youth in school. It's a unique program, and no one offers more services than they do for homeless youth.
I was fortunate enough to live through a fatal car crash November 2016. A driver coming down the wrong side of the freeway late at night hit the wall divider, flew into the air, and crash-landed on top of my car, both driving over 65 miles per hour. I suffered moderate injuries but lived and am recovering. The accident made me realize I want my life to mean more than it has for the past 25 years, and I want every year to have a purpose I can be proud of. I'd like my 26th year to be devoted to this cause. First, you'll help me fundraise enough money to donate to the Center. Next, I'll devote part of my time all year to the Center by staffing, mentoring, and advocating for youth as much as the Center allows me to (I plan to apply for their counseling internship program).
Please consider helping me make my 26th birthday mean something. I don't need money or presents, and I'd rather you stop by and contribute $5 than write a happy birthday message on my wall. Help me make it happen, and you'll know you've helped keep homeless kids warm, safe, and fed. Thank you!
*2016 Homeless Count Los Angeles Results - https://documents.lahsa.org/Planning/homelesscount/2016/factsheet/2016-HC-Results.pdf