Dear Safe Homes Supporter,
When family gatherings are often marked by nasty comments about homosexual “weirdos,” how do you see members of the LGBTQIA+ community as anything other than outcasts? Needless to say, as a young teenager, I struggled with the idea that I might be one of “those” people?
In fact, when I first came to Safe Homes at the urging of friends who assured me that it was a fun, accepting space, it was in the role of a “straight ally.” Fortunately, Safe Homes gave me the support I needed to embrace my true identity. Today, I want to thank you, as a Safe Homes supporter, for giving me that opportunity.
Not only did the Safe Homes Drop-in offer plenty of fun, it also offered the chance to meet some amazing people who, for the first time in my life, made me feel like I belonged.
I became a Peer Leader, attending trainings and becoming part of the welcoming committee. I learned how to actively listen, to determine when someone might need to check in with one of our clinicians. I didn’t know it then, but those experiences were planting the seeds for my future career.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all smooth sailing after I connected with Safe Homes. After years of feeling accepted and building my confidence, I was in for a rude awakening. My homophobic roommate and her friends made sure that my freshman year of college was not the idyllic experience I had dreamed of. I went to the school administration and they assured me that they were working on moving my roommate out. Not because of her campaign of hatred, but because I made HER uncomfortable.
I dropped out of school and returned home depressed and anxious. The only thing that motivated me to leave the house was the weekly meeting at Safe Homes. I had come “home” to Safe Homes, and with the support of some terrific new friends, I began to heal. I don’t even want to imagine what would have happened to me if you and others hadn’t invested in Safe Homes.
This story does have a happy ending. Actually, I hope it’s a happy “middle” as I have a lot more I want to accomplish in my life. After a stop at community college, I graduated from Framingham State University where I became a Resident Advisor.
After graduation, I was hired by a non-profit serving LGBTQIA+ youth. Because of my experiences at Safe Homes, it was a population I was confident I could help. That position was another step on my path to answering the age-old question: What did I want to do when I grew up?
This spring, I’ll be completing my Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling Psychology. My goal is to use my training and life experiences to build a career helping queer youth and adults.
Safe Homes set me on a path of self-discovery and the staff and youth I met there believed in my ability to succeed. Now, I want to empower other young, queer, confused teens to find their own paths to success.
You and I can’t control all the hurtful things that LGBTQIA+ youth will hear in their lives. But, we can control whether they have a place to come where they are accepted for who they are and can learn to believe in themselves. With your support, Safe Homes will continue to be that place.
Donations to Safe Homes can be made on our donation website. A heartfelt thank you in advance for your generosity.