To work in partnership with young people in Central Ohio to create safe and empowering spaces for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning and Ally youth through advocacy, education, support and community engagement.
LGBTQ youth live healthy, whole lives with acceptance and freedom from oppression.
The first meeting of what was to become Kaleidoscope Youth Center occurred on February 10, 1994, at the Short Stop Teen Drop-In Center. The initial working group developed vision and mission statements, created bylaws, worked with Huckleberry House to create the Rainbow Pride Hotline, and received 501 (c)(3) status for KYC on December 26, 1994.
For the first year of its existence, Kaleidoscope operated as a referral service, providing youth and their families access to supportive professionals. It soon became clear that the primary need of the youth was a place to meet and socialize with other youth to increase their feelings of connectivity to other young people, and reduce their sense of isolation in the greater central Ohio community.
Kaleidoscope Youth Center started to offer youth socialization and support groups a couple of evenings a week. As the Center evolved through its first few years, Kaleidoscope began offering evening drop-in hours that were primarily staffed by community volunteers. From the beginning Kaleidoscope Youth Center also utilized local social work and counseling support services; specifically through the hard work of Patty Daniels who facilitated the Center support groups for ten years (prior to moving to California).
Over the years, Kaleidoscope has called a number of locations “home.” In winter of 2004, the Center moved to a storefront location in the Lennox Center. This move expanded Kaleidoscope’s usable space, allowing the organization to significantly expand its hours of operations to offer after school programs, a recreation space, creative arts programming and a lending library.
The Center’s move to the University District in June 2006 provided greater public transportation accessibility and created the kind of youth-friendly space critical to Kaleidoscope’s work. The Youth Center included a living room, a pool table, the David Bohnett Cyber Center, a group room, a resource area with information on topics ranging from safer sex and substance abuse to nutrition and community resources, a kitchen featuring hot food and other snacks, and a creative arts gallery. From 2012-2016, Kaleidoscope developed additional programs offering self-esteem, health and wellness programs and assistance with Genders and Sexualities Alliances in Central Ohio and across the state.
On February 29, 2016, Kaleidoscope opened its doors at 603 E. Town St., a 5,000 sq. ft. facility in Columbus' discover district. Read more about Kaleidoscope's move and new facility here.
Kaleidoscope Youth Center utilizes proven youth development strategies in its out-of-school program. As has been true since its inception, Kaleidoscope continues to advocate for policies that help LGBTQ youth with regard to safe schools, mental health, personal development and other important areas.
As a youth service agency serving the Central Ohio area, Kaleidoscope Youth Center has become a well-respected community-based organization providing direct services to youth, training and education to youth service providers, and important information relating to sexual orientation and gender identity issues to the community at large. From peer-to-peer programs to HIV prevention and education and after-school programs, Kaleidoscope assists LGBTQ youth in the transition to healthy, productive adults and provides them with the necessary tools to become leaders in the greater community.