December 14, 2023

Nurturing Relationships to Support Youth

How Friends-Seattle Develops a Safe Space for Queer Youth

At Friends-Seattle, we offer a safe place for youth to be themselves, feel heard, and realize their power to pursue their dreams. It is vital to offer support beyond the walls of our office and during outings with their mentors. This year, we prioritized strengthening our family engagement to provide more spaces to collaborate with our caregivers and community partners to further support our youth.

Many of our youth identify as queer, and through our work with our families we learned that some caregivers wanted support in connecting with their youth regarding the youth's queer identity. In partnership with Seattle's LGBTQ Center, we offered a family learning night centered on the use of pronouns. It was an opportunity for youth and their caregivers to explore identity through honest conversations. It was especially important in a year when, according to the ACLU, there were more than 500 anti-LGBQT+ legislative bills proposed throughout the U.S., including three in Washington State.

"Our Friends-Seattle Family Learning Night gave us an opening to talk to our youths’ caregivers in a safe space about the queer community, and the phrasing around it," said Tasha, a Friends-Seattle teen program manager. "It helped build our relationship even more."

Through partnering with our caregivers, our combined support helps our youth take pride in who they are, develop strong relationships with their families, and feel supported by their community.