I use to think things must be better for LGBTQ youth today than when I was young. After all we have openly gay politicians and entertainers, more companies offer domestic partner benefit coverage, some states have passed same sex marriage even if there is much to be done in that arena. What i did not realize is the price many LGBTQ youth pay for being openly gay and honest at such an early age. They are rejected by family and friends, made fun of and bullied, forced to drop out of school because of the ridicule and lack of support. ROSMY is the only organization in Virginia that works specifically with the LGBTQ youth providing support groups, a means to gain self esteem and, quite simply, a safe haven to be themselves. I have observed the staff and volunteers work tirelessly to assure a youth who has no where to go or may be contemplating suicide is cared for, given a safe environment and the support they need to feel life is worth living and they can be themselves without fear. I cannot say enough for all the good this organization provides.
We found ROSMY when my son came out at age 14. At ROSMY he found a place where he felt fully accepted and safe, found friendships with other sexual minority youth, and simply got the message that he was normal, just fine as he was. ROSMY undoubtedly contributed to his developing into a happy, healthy, self-confident and successful gay man. Every day ROSMY contributes to the positive development of LGTBQ youth. It's hard growing up... and LGTBQ youth have a much tougher road than their straight peers. ROSMY is an organization that ensures LGTBQ youth have an equal opportunity for success through support, education, and advocacy.
ROSMY is that rare kind of organization that is able to do amazing things on a shoestring budget. ROSMY keeps a focused mission and a deep understanding of the needs of the LGBTQ youth it serves and is therefore able to maintaing a committed core of volunteers that make it all happen. My only wish for the organization is that it could expand its resource base so that it could serve a larger number of LGBTQ youths in a wider geographic region, because it is clear to me that ROSMY is needed throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and can serve as a model for other organizations that serve LGBTQ youth.
We are so fortunate to have ROSMY in Richmond. Working to meet needs of GLBTQ Youth in our city and throughout Central Virginia!
It's so painful to learn that the majority of LGBTQ youth suffer, seemingly alone, when realizing that they are somehow "different" in their sexuality. As a happily married adult, I have come late to this awareness (law school actually). When I learned that ROSMY existed and - actually, affirmatively - helped kids, I wanted "in." It is my privilege to help spread the news about ROSMY and the great work we do to help youth "be themselves."
It can be difficult growing up. When you add the struggle of becoming comfortable with one's sexuality or making sense of one's perceptions about one's gender, growing up can become a journey of despair. Emotions aside, research shows that LGBTQ youth have a much tougher road then their straight peers. Over half of LGBTQ youth from a GLSEN study say they've been verbally harassed and called names involving anti-gay slurs. Less than half of the teachers in the survey have ever received specific professional development on gender issues or on families with LGBT parents. ROSMY is an organization that takes these and other challenges LGBTQ youth face head-on and ensure that LGBTQ youth have an equal change of success. ROSMY conducts peer groups 4 nights a week, 24x7 suicide prevention hotline, conducts programs to develop leadership skills, provides accredited training programs for service providers who work with youth on the specific challenges of LGBTQ youth, and most importantly, ROSMY provides a safe space for kids to be who they are.
ROSMY allows youth to be themselves in every way. As a volunteer, I frequent ROSMY often and help with a variety of initiatives. For an 21 year old organizaiton, ROSMY continues to meet the needs of today's youth. If a youth needs a safe and supportive environment in the afternoon, ROSMY is there. If a youth is struggling to to understand more about their sexual orientation or gender identity, ROSMY is there. If a youth needs more than ROSMY can provide, ROSMY is there to find community resources for them. ROSMY is a vibrant organization with wonderful supporters, volunteer and community members. One of the best things about being involved with ROSMY is witnessing a kid taking someone to prom and not worrying about not getting in, using pronouns for the first time that they feel comfortable with and finally seeing them smile because they feel at home.