CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The young people at Time Out Youth call their space “home.” It’s a safe place where they can gather with friends and peers just like them and receive important resources and education.
“I didn’t realize there were other gay youth like me and coming here is refreshing,” said Callum, a 19-year-old Central Piedmont Community College student. “It makes us feel at home.”
Their home just got a bit bigger. In the past few weeks, staff and youth have been settling into their new space at 2320-A N. Davidson St. The group fully opened the first week of November. At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 8, Callum and other youth helped lead tours of the new space, which includes room for several offices for staff, interns and private counseling, a kitchen and laundry facility, a career center with several computers and other resources, a multi-purpose room and youth lounge complete with a TV and video games, snacks, couches and work space.
Rodney Tucker, Time Out Youth’s executive director, said the 3,000-square-feet center will offer more space for the group’s programming and more visibility. For years, the group had been hosted by Holy Trinity Lutheran Church on The Plaza. Staff and youth alike said they loved the old space, but are looking forward to increased opportunities as the group grows and partners with close-by groups and businesses like the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte and Amelie’s Bakery, a coffee and pastry shop popular with staff and youth alike.
The group plans to host more private counseling for youth and their families and will continue to build their relationship with PFLAG Charlotte, which will meet in one of the facility’s meeting rooms.
The new space, said Time Out Youth Board Chair Jeremy Carter, is the result of increased community support.
“Our budget has grown through the generosity of the community,” Carter said.
The new space will represent an increase in rent, but Carter said the group has made sure to keep costs low. Additionally, the increase will pay for a “space [that] expands many times the programs we offer and our ability to support youth,” he said.
An open house for donors, volunteers and community members was held on Nov. 25. Most of the facility is reserved for youth-only when Time Out Youth is open, but staff said supporters and community members can still view the space by appointment. For more information, contact Time Out Youth at 704-344-8335 or visit timeoutyouth.org. : :