Working together to find a solution.
Woke – To be
It’s 2017 and most of us are trying to stay WOKE on the regular. This year, the True Colors Fund’s True Fellows can give you the right dose of WOKENESS to keep you up to date on the movement to end lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) homelessness! 40% of young people experiencing homelessness are LGBTQ. The True Fellowship brings together six young people from across the country to collaborate with the True Colors Fund to solve this issue. I’m proud to be one of them.
Each one of us, with our own projects and experiences, spent 4 days in New York City training with True Colors Fund staff. Over the course of this experience, the work has been geared to be collaborative, fun, and inclusive.
Starting off with introductions, let’s meet our Fellows and dig a little deeper into what each of us will be up to over the next six months.
True Innovation Fellow, underwritten by Marriott International
Anthony is working to develop and create an app that addresses issues that affect LGBTQ homelessness. The app will help young people find safe housing and other vital resources. Some of his responsibilities include outreach to service providers who will be featured on the app – encouraging them to claim their listings, update their profiles, and to submit photographs of their inclusive and affirming spaces. Antony is also assisting with mobile app wireframes and providing feedback on user experience.
“As someone who has experienced homelessness, I feel it is my duty to pull others up with me. Not duty as in, ‘I have to,’ but duty as in ‘I want to.’”
True Production Fellow
Aurora is planning and co-producing this year’s 40 to None Summit in October. The Summit is the only national convening dedicated to the issues surrounding LGBT youth homelessness so it’s a big responsibility! That includes behind-the-scenes things like budgeting, planning, and evaluating sessions to coordinating the action in real time during the Summit. Aurora has expressed her excitement that this Summit is happening and is proud to be a part of it!
“I’m learning how to strengthen my own brand but also add a new leadership badge in the fight to end LGBTQ youth homelessness!”
True Philanthropy Fellow, underwritten by The Palette Fund
Bryson is managing a fundraising campaign to support the True Colors Fund’s work. His project? Auctioning off some Cyndi Lauper’s legendary outfits and accessories! Bryson will be doing hands-on work with these iconic pieces to raise vital funds for the organization. Soon, you will be able to own a part of HERstory and be part of this brilliant organization because we all know that it takes more than just talk to get work done. We believe that it takes the community to come together as one.
“This training is setting up a skill that I can use in the future.”
Paola Robles Desgarennes
True Education Fellow, underwritten by Tylenol PM
San Francisco, CA
Paola is working on our online content to make sure it is inclusive and up-to-date. This includes collaborating on a toolkit that will act as guide of resources and best practices that service providers can use to develop a better understanding of the specific needs of undocumented LGBTQ youth, to transition them to a better life. This toolkit will be directly informed by youth experiences and community organizers and will be very effective in our work to alleviate and end youth homelessness.
“Undocumented Latinx youth that migrate to United States face an uncertain future, constant fear of deportation, and no legal status, giving them limited or no access at all to healthcare, housing, or government assistance. Because of this reason they are disproportionately affected by homelessness.”
True Advocacy Fellow
West Park, FL
Quintay is doing grassroot movement building to represent us nationally and statewide by scoring each state’s work to end LGBTQ youth homelessness. His project entails preparing and writing policy briefs, sign-on letters, and community request letters to present to state administrative and/or legislative bodies to advocate for funding for runaway and homeless youth programs. He will also liaise with state administrative and legislative office to provide education opportunities for policymakers. This way policy makers can have a sense of what’s happening in their state or district.
“As a youth, I realize and understand ‘I am the future.’ Therefore, if I want to see change I have to step up and grab the torch.”
True Journalism Fellow
And then there’s me… My goal is to document, report, and share the experiences of homeless LGBTQ folk by researching the facts and educating others on what’s happening locally and nationally to address the issue. Now more then ever, I feel like it is time to reach out, advocate, and be visible for LGBTQ homeless youth. I feel that together we can all make an impact, whether you’re an ally or someone who identifies as LGBTQ. So you’ll be hearing a lot more from me this summer.
We’re ready for anything.
During our training retreat in May, we discussed many different tools to push our ability to think outside the box and help us get our message through. and by stating our brand and style. So far, the vibe has been optimistic, informative, and flexible. Even though we are at barely at the start of this fellowship, I felt as if we are valuable and crucial in the fight against homelessness among youth. We each received a new laptop to use for our projects. This made us want to do more and accept any challenges that are going to be thrown at us along the way. In addition, the information that was discussed was insightful. It gave us a foundation on what to base our projects on and how we can create change. In doing so, we are given the opportunity to come up with our own ways to incorporate the advocacy of homelessness among LGBTQ youth. We have the flexibility to reach out to the other Fellows and collaborate on our projects to get the word out and the work done. Although there is much work to be done and it’s only the beginning, many of us feel we are off to a very woke start with the #40toNone mission.
I’ll be keeping you updated on each of these projects over the next few months. Sign up to stay informed about what happens next!