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July 1, 2009

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July 1, 2009

GLSEN changed my life. Their student organizing program gave me a week of training with other LGBT and allied 13-17 year olds. We learned about community organizing tactics, communication strategies, the legislative process, and workshop facilitation skills. Their staff provided ongoing support and summits throughout the year as each of us implemented action plans in our widely varied areas of the country. We went way beyond founding Gay-Straight Alliance clubs in high schools. Students did everything imaginable: hosted statewide summits for youth on their rights or transgender advocacy, organized lobbying for anti-LGBT harassment and bullying laws, provided resources to local GSAs, networked clubs to hold rallies and days of action, made asks of our administrations to cover inclusive curricula, provide gender neutral bathrooms, or address bias in other ways. The students I met through GLSEN inspire me to this day. They were the most diverse group of people I have ever met in my entire life. Because GLSEN paid for ALL expenses, youth came from every economic, ethnic, geographic, rural/urban background and united for a common cause. The program was truly empowering of grassroots leadership, enabling the people affected by oppression to address it themselves in ways that were appropriate to their area and changed the relationships of power within the schools. We created real change in people's lives with an incredible support network of inspirational friends and knowledgeable paid staff. GLSEN helps youth become not the leaders of tomorrow but the leaders of today. This experience in many ways made me who I am- someone who knows her power to organize change.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the improvements and transformation in my own and others lives, including those I touched in my community with GLSEN's support and those GLSEN also worked with directly.

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

brilliant, experienced, sensitive to all types of diversity and to students' emotional needs, and truly dedicated to a grassroots movement.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

save lives, like the suicides and murders of LGBT youth, but also the lives of people living but so emotionally battered and beaten down in their internalized conviction that they did not deserve more, their childhood was almost not worth living.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

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