Creating safety for LGBT teens through
HelpLine’s Safe Youth Project
According to the nationwide 2009 School Climate Survey published by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in 2010, key findings painted a disturbing picture of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth and safety:
- 84.6% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 40.1% reported being physically harassed, and 18.8% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.
- 29.1% of LGBT students missed a class at least once, and 30% missed at least one day of school in the past month because of safety concerns compared to only 8% and 6.7%, respectively of a national sample of secondary school students.
- 72.4% heard homophobic remarks, such as “faggot” or “dyke”, frequently or often at school.
- 61.1% of students reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation, and 39.9% felt unsafe because of their gender expression.
- Increased levels of victimization were related to increased levels of depression and anxiety and
decreased levels of self-esteem (GLSEN, 2010).
These statistics are startling. HelpLine believes that every youth deserves a safe, caring, and supportive learning environment in which to grow and succeed. Through our experiences of serving the area’s schools with our various programming efforts, we know that school staff and administration, and our community at large share these goals, as well.
In an effort to continue to serve the needs of area youth, HelpLine applied for and received funding to launch the Safe Youth Project. The information below outlines our vision, mission, and project goals for the first year of funding:
HelpLine of Delaware and Morrow Counties, Inc. Safe Youth Initiative envisions supportive educational and community systems where all youth thrive regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
HelpLine is a community non-profit agency providing Crisis Intervention, Suicide Prevention, and Rape Crisis Services. Additionally, Helpline provides sexual and dating violence, and bullying prevention programming K-12 and in the college setting.
The Safe Youth Initiative is funded by the Ohio Department of Health, Sexual and Domestic Violence Section’s administration of the federal Violence Against Women Act Monies. The underlying guiding principal of the Safe Youth Initiative is the belief that active engagement with community partners, youth, and schools will ensure safe schools for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender youths and all students. We accomplish this mission in the following ways:
- Providing training to schools and community members,
- Offering community awareness through HelpLine’s various print and online communications,
- Offering opportunities for adult engagement through active participation on the Safe Youth Initiative Committee and youth support for Day of Silence Awareness activities,
- Offering opportunities for youth engagement and leadership through active participation in Day of Silence and Breaking the Silence activities,
- Offering youth and adults support on the Safe Youth Committee to continue the work of the committee beyond 2011-2012 school year,
- Providing a movie screening of the film Bullied,
- Providing community education about legislation related to safe schools for all.
How you can participate:
Corina Klies, Prevention Educator is spearheading the Safe Youth Project. If you would like to participate on the committee and/or help with the planning of Day of Silence, please contact Corina at (740) 363-1835 or at email@example.com. Youth participation is encouraged and welcome.
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HelpLine of Delaware and Morrow Counties, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization that provides a 24-hour crisis support hotline, information and referral to direct services and advocacy, and serves as the area’s only volunteer center. Committed to empowering people through knowledge, support and resources, HelpLine facilitates stability and self-sufficiency through linkage to services, crisis management, and mental health related & violence prevention education in Delaware and Morrow County communities.
HelpLine is a contract provider of the Delaware-Morrow Mental Health & Recovery
Services Board and partially funded by the Council for Older Adults. A United Way
Agency, HelpLine is accredited by the American Association of Suicidology, National
Alliance of Information & Referral Systems and certified by the Ohio Department of
Mental Health. For more information, please visit: www.HelpLinedelmor.org.
Sue Hanson, Executive Director
740.363.1835, ext. 107