Greetings from the West Coast! After an especially sweet visit with our Kindness in Community Fund recipients in Hershey, Pennsylvania, our next US tour stop was in the golden city of San Francisco, California, where stunning scenery, landmark history, and kindness were on full display. The Bay Area is home to two more of our Kindness in Community Fund nonprofits, LYRIC Center for LGBTQQ Youth and Adolescent Counseling Services (ACS).
Our team was honored to spend an afternoon at LYRIC’s love-filled headquarters in the Castro, a neighborhood that is a beacon for the LGBTQ+ community in San Francisco and beyond. LYRIC’s mission is to build community and inspire positive social change through education enhancement, career trainings, health promotion, and leadership development with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQQ) youth, their families, and allies of all races, classes, genders, and abilities.
We took a lovely walk around the Castro with LYRIC’s incredible staff, and were touched by their dedication to the neighborhood and the deep history reflected in their organization. After our tour, LYRIC hosted a community wellness fair during our visit, and incredible, local organizations were on-site, where they displayed their resources and services to all young people in attendance.
We met with several organizations at the fair, such as the Youth Empowerment Fund of San Francisco, which offers mini-grants to youth around the city to help fund much-needed projects, and The HYPE Center, a drop-in center for youth who have experienced foster care, homelessness and the probation system. LYRIC’s amazing partner, Dimensions Clinic, was also on-site, and they are a welcoming, safe and open space for local queer and trans youth to get free or low-cost medical and mental health services.
Our Born This Way Foundation team had the opportunity to listen to incredible youth who discussed how they remain hopeful and brave while focusing on their mental health. We were also joined for the day by our friends at Zoom Cares. Not only did Zoom provide incredible support for our Kindness in Communities Fund in San Francisco, but they also wanted to see LYRIC’s work firsthand and spent the day with our team learning from and celebrating this amazing organization. We rounded-out our visit with an epic karaoke session, and we remain energized from and grateful for the privilege of meeting the LYRIC team and the young people they serve.
Soon, we will be visiting Adolescent Counseling Services (ACS), and engaging in conversation around youth mental health, access to resources, and kindness for the youth they support in the Bay Area. ACS offers a program called Outlet, which empowers LGBTQIA+ youth and builds safe and accepting communities through social groups and an advisory board. Community counseling services and an adolescent substance abuse treatment program are also offered by ACS.
Onward to Los Angeles, California!