Learning to be Yourself

5/9/2022

The Four Corners Rainbow Youth Center opened its doors in 2015 with the goal of creating a space where LGBTQ+ youths could safely hang out, learn about services available to them, and where parents of LGBTQ+ youths can find resources. The Center offers after-school programs for youths ages five to 18, as well as a couple of parent groups and a couple of community-wide activities aimed at education about and for the LGBTQ+ community. This story is sponsored by StoneAge Tools and Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado

In 2015, a group of students identifying as LGBTQ+ at Durango High School, approached a trusted group of adults about wanting a space outside of school where they could express themselves safely. A place that would provide resources to better assist their needs, goals and development. The Four Corners Rainbow Youth Center opened that fall and has become a resource to youths, their family, and the community. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by StoneAge Tools, and the Community Foundation serving Southwest Colorado. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

We're an LGBT or 2SLGBTQIA+ youth center that, we work with our youth obviously, we work with families, and we work with the general community, providing a number of services that are specific to meeting, the social, the personal, like the physical, emotional, developmental like needs of our youth, and their families and families who are also LGBT.

The Four Corners Rainbow Youth Center or RYC currently serves about 100 young people in the community through after school programs, events geared towards LGBTQ+ families and educational events. One of the goals of RYC is to help better educate not just children and young adults, who are often navigating issues of gender identity and sexual attraction, but also the community.

Like that we provide community trainings to local businesses, medical practices, schools like parent groups, all that kind of stuff just so that we like, provide education to as many people as we can, just so we can create an environment that is safer for our young people. Especially in rural areas where there isn't typically a lot of support and there's not a lot of education around like LGBTQ identities and especially LGBT youth identities. There's a lot of harm that comes, whether intentional or unintentional or otherwise.

The RYC puts a heavy focus on learning how to safely navigate the internet and social media. While for many these are great tools to learn about the world around them, social media and the online world pose many dangers, especially to LGBTQ+ young people. Each program offered by the RYC is targeted to the ages it serves. From play groups and parent support groups for elementary school students, to Tea Times, dungeon and dragon campaigns, and the ever popular Queer Prom.

Our upcoming like really large event, is our Queer Space Pride Fundraiser. That's going to be on June 12th at Buckley Park from 4:00 to 7:00, and that's our annual fundraiser, and it's just there's live music, there's going to be food vendors. Yeah, last year our event was really successful. We had maybe around 350 people, last year and that was so much fun. Just having a whole bunch of young people just like, run around the park just playing and 'cause they, we're in a space where like they're able to be authentic and just have fun. What our center really lives on and what we really try to put across to our community and to families, and to people like learning about LGBT stuff and is that this stuff is life saving. It is not, a trend. It is not something that young people are, just gravitating towards and like the services that we provide, we hear and we see so much that, it is lifesaving.

Learn more about the Four Corners Rainbow Youth Center by visiting their website at rainbowyouthcenter.org. The website includes an events calendar, resources for the community, and ways to be involved. For more information about attending the programs email info@rainbowyouthcenter.org. Thank you for watching this edition of the Local News Network, I'm Wendy Graham settle.

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