CONCORD, N.C. — On March 24, 6:30 p.m., Time Out Youth Center will launch a satellite discussion group for LGBT youth at McGill Baptist Church, 5300 Poplar Tent Rd. They will continue on the fourth Tuesday of each month.
The group is a partnership between TOY and PFLAG Concord/Kannapolis. It is open to those who are 13-20. This core TOY service is “designed to provide a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ youth to gather with one another and their allies to discuss issues relevant to their identities and experiences,” O’Neale Atkinson, director of youth services, said in a release. Supportive adult volunteers and staff will provide supervision and support for each group.
“It is important that LGBTQ youth have a space to gather in a supportive environment and have friends and adults who understand and accept them,” TOY Executive Director Rodney Tucker shared in a release. “Our programming is youth focused and led, providing LGBTQ youth leadership opportunities and acceptance they might not find at home or school.”
“We had a large number of requests for services from youth and their support systems in Cabarrus County. We are excited to be able to fill this gap and give them the programming they have requested,” Atkinson added. “It is exciting to have the support of PFLAG and McGill to make this possible. Our discussion groups are primarily led by youth for youth, with the support of Time Out Youth volunteers.”
Discussion groups are drop-in and no registration or fees are required for youth to participate. Adult volunteers are required to complete the TOY volunteer orientation that includes an application, criminal background check, references and training.
Cabarrus County currently has seven gay-straight alliance (GSA) student clubs in middle and high schools. The center currently provides GSA support to these clubs and professional development trainings on LGBT issues for K-12 schools in the county.