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Supporting Our LGBTQ Youth: A Story of Connection and Hope During Pride Month

As Pride Month unfolds, United Way of the Bluegrass wants to highlight the importance of support systems for LGBTQ+ youth, especially those in rural areas where resources can be scarce. One such story from our 211 navigators, Vonda, shines a light on the impactful difference that compassionate assistance and community connections can make in the lives of individuals facing adversity.

Recently, Vonda received a referral report from Kynect resources that included the name of a gentleman seeking help for his high school-aged son. This young man was struggling to fit in at school due to his sexual orientation. Living in rural eastern Kentucky, he faced additional challenges due to the bullying that often occurs in less accepting environments.

Determined to find a solution, Vonda utilized the extensive network of resources available through the United Way of the Bluegrass. This process involved tapping into a wealth of information within the 211 system and reaching out to case managers who had been reliable partners in previous cases. Vonda was determined to find a support group where the young man could connect with peers who understood his experiences and provide him with a safe space to express himself.

After numerous conversations, Vonda succeeded in connecting the young man to a SAFE SPACE support group specifically designed for middle and high school students within the LGBTQ+ community. This group, part of a broader initiative to support LGBTQ+ youth, offers a sanctuary where these young individuals can share their stories, find support, and build resilience together.

The young man began attending the support group regularly, finding not only friendship but also a sense of belonging that had been missing from his life. Through the support group, he received additional resources and referrals tailored to his needs. RRJ Solutions, the agency that facilitated his entry into the group, provided ongoing support that extended beyond the young man's immediate concerns. Vonda also helped the family secure healthcare services for the father, ensuring that his medical needs were addressed. Additionally, they facilitated access to SNAP benefits, alleviating some of the financial pressures the family faced.

Our 211 navigators are committed to being a lifeline for those in need, bridging gaps and providing support where it's most needed. This story shows the importance of comprehensive support systems and the positive outcomes that can come when individuals and families are connected with the right resources.

As we honor Pride Month, let us continue to champion the values of inclusion, support, and acceptance. By working together, we can create a more inclusive community where everyone, regardless of their background or identity, has the opportunity to thrive. United Way of the Bluegrass remains dedicated to this mission, and we are proud to be a part of stories like this that highlight the strength and resilience of our community.

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