I'll be deadlifting 166-176lbs during the Pull for Pride Atlanta mock deadlifting meet on June 15th. Hence, I'm seeking to fundraise that same amount of money to benefit Lost-n-Found Youth, an Atlanta-based nonprofit (501c3) that exists to end homelessness for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ+) and all sexual minority youth.
Georgia O'Keeffe once said, " I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life - and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do." My personal journey to Pull for Pride is part a journey of the strength training, part a journey of mental grit and imagination, and part a journey of community. The week of the event marks one year since I started strength training. It was a bold step in believing that I could hone my body to be able to support activities I hadn't thought that I would ever be able to do for the simple reason of believing "I'm not strong enough," and "I don't know how." Activities like inversion yoga, parkour, gymnastics. Strength training is an activity I do for myself, for my wellness. It's becoming who I want to be, inside and outside.
Pull for Pride Atlanta, benefitting Lost-n-Found Youth works across the spectrum, with LGBTQ+ youth who are vulnerable to homelessness, a vulnerability exacerbated by the possibility of social persecution, and potential familial rejection. Pull for Pride shares that, "After coming out to their families or being discovered to be LGBTQ, half of all teens receive a negative reaction. More than 1 in 4 are thrown out of their homes." This in addition to many dimensions of abuse and intersectional challenges of race, poverty, and transphobia which they may face throughout and beyond theyr journey to self-expression and affirmation. Erica Smith, M.Ed, attests, "[Youth are] at higher risk than their non-LGBTQ homeless peers for being victimized by others and for experiencing negative sexual and mental health outcomes."
Pull for Pride's mission is to use its collective strength to benefit t he world in a meaningful way. So, if I can lend my strength in the same manner to supporting those more acutely vulnerable than me - arising equally out of my passion for humanity and my professional credo as an urban planner, caring for the well-being of people, including the homeless - and if I can continue to strength train and work towards doing parkour, gymnastics, and inversions, arguably activitites which "absolutely terrify" and thrill me simultaneously, then this will be a life worth living.