CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Myers Park Baptist Church, 1900 Queens Rd., has gifted $100,000 to Time Out Youth Center.
The funds will be used to support the center’s new facility up-fitting and renovation, as well as in building a shelter for 10-12 homeless youths.
The center’s executive director Rodney Tucker said that vulnerable LGBTQ youth may “face tremendous cruelty and abuse” at home or even be kicked out of their homes, and the need for a permanent shelter is acute. TOY’s client visits doubled in 2016 over the year before, largely due to the debate over HB2.
“This is a remarkable gift and statement on inclusion of LGBTQ community in a truly welcoming and affirming congregation,” Tucker told the Baptist News Global. Time Out Youth wants to start construction on the shelter in 2019 and have it completed in the following year.
Myers Park provided meeting space for the organization 20 years ago when it was being formed. Scott Crowder, one of the church’s members and part of its outreach ministry said that it was “called to support and protect those who are at risk, dehumanized or excluded.” It has a long history of progressive social involvement, sponsors an LGBTQ fellowship group, is a welcoming and affirming church and has been a staunch supporter of LGBTQ rights, the Baptist News Global reported.
In other news, Time Out Youth announced that new grants are available for regional gay-straight alliance (GSA) student-led organizations in middle and high schools. The purpose of the Time Out Youth GSA Network Grant is to provide funding to student groups that are working towards improving campus climate and LGBTQ visibility and inclusion in schools through advocacy and awareness events, projects and meetings, the organization shared.
“We are thrilled to provide support to GSAs in the region through funding so we can empower students to continue creating more welcoming school environments,” said Rebby Kern, assistant director of school outreach. “Our goal is to provide GSAs access to funds for student-led programming and LGBTQ awareness events for their school.”
The grants are available to use during the 2016-17 school year and applications will reopen in the summer for the 2017-18 academic school year. To apply, visit timeoutyouth.org/youth/gsa-grants.
Eligible schools must have an active advisor or sponsor to the GSA and be an approved student-led club on campus. The proposed project must reach an objective to improve campus climate and bring awareness to LGBTQ issues. Priority will be given to projects that engage with issues facing marginalized communities, including transgender and gender-expansive students, LGBTQ youth of color, LGBTQ students with disabilities, and undocumented LGBTQ youth.
Through the School Outreach program, the center is able to reach and support 68 GSA’s in seven counties, including Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Union, Lincoln and York (SC). The department also provides regional and statewide professional development for K-12 educators and school personnel on LGBTQ topics in order to create more welcoming school environments.