In the wake of this horrific violence against our community in Orlando, Kaleidoscope did what we do best-- we created a warm, inclusive, and affirming space for young people to gather to share their experiences and receive support from their community.
Many youth sought KYC out on Monday knowing that it is a safer space to discuss their feelings and concerns, and a space to receive support from their peers and caring adults. KYC provided a structured group "check-in" with youth to discuss Orlando if they chose, as well as opportunities for youth to speak to adult volunteers and staff members throughout the evening. In addition to discussions, Daniel Sernicola and Jake Hays also provided a free yoga session for youth to focus on their incredible strength, the strength of the LGBTQ community, and the ability for each individual to impact others positively, despite community tragedy. We are so grateful to Daniel and Jake for creating that space of healing!
As with anything, reactions from youth varied from fear to anger to disbelief. For many, it hit close to home. Orlando is not so different from Columbus, OH. Pulse is not so different from the LGBTQ clubs in Columbus that our community gathers for dancing and socializing. Overall, though, youth expressed resiliency. One shared that they "won't let this stop me from being proud of who I am." Youth also hoped to demonstrate their support of the Orlando LGBTQ community through the Columbus Pride parade and through reaching out to LGBTQ youth Centers in Orlando in solidarity.
Our youth expressed some of the longstanding strengths and values of the larger LGBTQ community: extraordinary resilience in the face of discrimination and violence and extraordinary community support.
Michelle Jordan, MSW, LSW
Center Program Coordinator
Kaleidoscope Youth Center
KYC Youth and Staff. Please feel free to comment and recommend topics for future posts. Youth posts are anonymous due to the confidentiality of the Center.