Prism Youth Community

Prism Youth Community


A GROUP OF BLOOMINGTON TEENS, INCLUSION OFTEN MEANS UNDERSTANDING.>>I HEARD ABOUT PRISM AT THE 2013 PRIDE FILM FEST. OUR PROGRAM DIRECTOR NOW CAME OUT ON STAGE AND TALKED ABOUT HOW PRISM WAS A GROUP THAT WAS STARTING IN THE IN THE COMMUNITY FOR LBGTQ USE AND ALLIES. AT THAT TIME, I DIDN’T KNOW IF I COULD GO BECAUSE I WASN’T OUT TO MY PARENTS AT THAT TIME. I WANTED A PLACE WHERE I COULD BE AROUND PEOPLE THAT MAYBE UNDERSTOOD WHAT I WAS GOING THROUGH, AND MAYBE COULD GIVE ME HELP, BUT MAINLY JUST FOR THE COMMUNITY ASPECT. AND THEN I STARTED GOING TO PRISM ABOUT SIX MONTHS LATER.>>I DON’T REALLY HAVE A LOT OF OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE LIKE ME IN MY EVERYDAY LIFE. SO I COME HERE TO BE WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE LIKE ME BECAUSE THERE’S A REALLY STRONG COMMUNITY HERE.>>OUR MAIN GOAL IS TO PROVIDE A SPACE FOR LGBTQ USE AND ALLIES IN THE COMMUNITY. SO IF WE ARE REALLY FOCUSED ON OUR MEETINGS THAT WE HAVE TWICE A WEEK.>>ON TUESDAY NIGHTS WE COME AND TALK ABOUT DIFFERENT IMPORTANT MATTERS TO THE ENTIRE LBGTQ SUCH AS SUICIDE AND HOW TO REPRESENT YOURSELF AND IT’S A VERY SAFE PLACE TO GO AND JUST HANG OUT AND RELAX.>>EVERYTHING THAT WE DO WITH PRISM IS YOUTH LED AND YOUTH DESIGNED. WE HAVE A REALLY ACTIVE YOUTH LEADERSHIP TEAM WITH ABOUT 25 MEMBERS. WE HAVE A VOLUNTEERING AND OUTREACH COMMITTEE DEDICATED TO IDENTIFYING VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES IN OUR COMMUNITY, AS WELL AS GETTING INVOLVED WITH BLOOMINGTON PRIDE AND THEIR PRIDE FEST. WE ARE INVOLVED WITH HELPING SET THAT UP.>>I THINK IT’S BEEN REALLY HELPFUL FOR ME TO HAVE AN ORGANIZATION THAT I FEEL SAFE IN, THAT’S BRINGING ME OTHER PLACES TO DEVELOP THE SKILLS AND GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY. I THINK THAT’S REALLY HELPFUL. IT TAKES ME FROM A PLACE OF COMFORT AND FAMILIARITY, AND TO A PLACE WHERE I MIGHT NOT GO BUT DO SOMETHING REALLY IMPORTANT.>>WE GIVE BACK BY EDUCATING PEOPLE. WE CREATE TRAININGS THAT WE THEN GO TO CONFERENCES AROUND INDIANA AND IF WE ARE LUCKY NATIONWIDE, TO YOUTH SERVING PROFESSIONALS MOSTLY.>>SO THAT COULD BE ANYONE FROM A SCHOOL TEACHER OR A SCHOOL COUNSELOR TO AN ADMINISTRATOR TO PEOPLE WOULD WORK WITH JUVENILE JUSTICE. ANYONE LIKE THAT WHO MIGHT WORK WITH SOMEONE WHO IS UNDER 18. WE CAME BECAUSE WE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE REALLY RELEVANT FOR PEOPLE TO LEARN ABOUT LBGTQ YOUTH.>>OUR TRAININGS CONSIST OF DEFINING SOME GENERAL TERMS FOR PEOPLE ABOUT THE LBGTQ COMMUNITY THAT THEY MIGHT NOT HAVE HEARD OF, AND THEN WE TALK ABOUT CONCRETE WAYS WE FEEL THAT YOUTH SERVING PROVIDERS CAN MAKE THEIR OFFICES OR CLASSROOMS OR WHATEVER SPACES THEY HAVE A SAFER ONE FOR LBGTQ USE.>>AND OUR GOAL WITH THAT IS TO GET PEOPLE KNOWING ABOUT THE TERMS THEMSELVES AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO BE CULTURALLY COMPETENT. WE WANT THEM TO RESPECT THEM AND GIVE THEM THE RESOURCES THEY NEED.>>WE FEEL EVEN IF SOMEONE’S PERSONAL BELIEFS DON’T ALIGN WITH OURS, THAT THE THINGS WE TALK ABOUT IN OUR TRAININGS AND THE SUGGESTIONS WE PROVIDE ULTIMATELY WILL HELP MAKE YOUTH MORE SAFE AND MORE HAPPY AND WE FEEL THAT REGARDLESS OF YOUR PERSONAL BELIEFS, AS YOUTH SERVING PROFESSIONALS, THAT IS SOMETHING THAT EVERYONE WANTS.>>WE REALLY THINK IT’S IMPORTANT FOR THE YOUTH IN OUR GROUP TO LEAD THE PRESENTATIONS BECAUSE WHEN WE ARE AT CONFERENCES LIKE THIS, THERE’S NO OTHER PRESENTATION LED BY YOUTH. SO THERE’S NO WAY FOR THE PEOPLE LISTENING TO KNOW WHETHER THEY REALLY SPEAK FOR WHAT THE YOUTH WANT, BUT WHEN YOU SEE TEENS AND YOUTH UP, THERE WHO ARE ACTUALLY TALKING AND TELLING YOU ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCES, YOU CAN BE 100% SURE THAT YOU CAN HELP THE YOUTH HOW THEY NEED IT.>>I FEEL LIKE CONFIDENCE IS SOMETHING THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE GAIN JUST FROM BEING AROUND PEOPLE THAT WILL RESPECT THEM AND VALIDATE THE EXPERIENCES THAT THEY HAVE HAD, MAKES PEOPLE FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE IN ALL ASPECTS OF THEIR LIFE.>>IT MADE ME FEEL MORE SECURE IN MY IDENTITY BECAUSE I FEEL VERY VALIDATED AND I FEEL LIKE I CAN BE MYSELF AROUND THESE PEOPLE. IT’S IMPORTANT TO SOMEONE WHO IS GROWING UP AND STRUGGLING TO FIND THEIR OWN IDENTITY TO KNOW THAT THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE LIKE THEM THAT THEY CAN GO TO AND BE ABLE TO RELATE AND BE ABLE TO FIND WAYS TO HELP THEMSELVES.>>AS WILL BE AN LBGTQ YOUTH, OFTENTIMES, THERE’S A LOT OF ISOLATION THAT YOU FEEL.>>WE MIGHT HAVE PARENTS WHO MIGHT NOT AGREE WITH US OR BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND OR PEOPLE WHO JUST MIGHT NOT BE OKAY WITH WHO WE ARE.>>AND PRISM IS COMBATTING THAT BY PROVIDING THIS SPACE FOR EVERYONE TO MEET UP AND EVERYONE TO SEE THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE LIKE ME OUT THERE. THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT ARE DOING OKAY.>>IT’S ALWAYS NICE TO COME HERE TO HAVE ALL OF THAT EXTRA SUPPORT THAT SOMEONE LIKE ME WOULD NEED, WHO IS STRUGGLING WITH OUR IDENTITY AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT CHANGING YOURSELF FOR ANYONE ELSE. IT FEELS REALLY EMPOWERING TO JUST KNOW I’M HELPING OTHER PEOPLE OUT THERE, AND KNOWING THAT THEY CAN

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