True Colors, Inc.

Rating: 4.79 stars   19 reviews

Issues: Civil Rights, LGBTQ

Location: 576 Farmington Ave. Hartford CT 06105 USA

Mission: True Colors works to create a world where youth, adults and families of all sexual orientations and gender identities are valued and affirmed. We challenge all forms of oppression through education, training, advocacy, youth leadership development, mentoring and direct services to youth and those responsible for their well-being.
Results: In 2009, True Colors Executive Director, Robin McHaelen was chosen by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and Lambda Legal Education and Defense fund as one of the two professionals to design and conduct a national master training program for child welfare professionals across the country. The training has been published by NASW and is available on the web as “Moving the Margins: Curriculum for Child Welfare Services with LGBTQ Youth in Out-of-Home Care.” In addition, True Colors staff trained more than 2,400 educators, social workers, clinicians, health care providers, students and others across CT.
Target demographics: LGBT youth, their families and the systems that support them.
2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a mentor and involved with True Colors for a few years now and this organization is top notch in the quality of training, care and expertise offered to the children they protect, the community they serve and the public they seek to educate. As a mentor, I have extended myself and become a living, breathing, positive representation of a future for our LGBT youth. I have also heard stories and been witness to the resiliency of our youth, when given the right tools of love, support and affirmation for their existence.

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

the True Colors Conferences held annually at UCONN in Storrs, CT

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

give them all the funding they needed to keep creating change and safe space.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

Expansion into other parts of the region, perhaps additional offices.

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

I have met lots of new friends, networking contacts, but most important, great kids.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Absolutely amazing. There is so much energy in our community and with our kids, especially when they are in a space that is open, loving and affirming.

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Rating: 5 stars  

34 people found this review helpful

True Colors is a group that has embraced the LGBTQI kids that get lost in the system. Few existing social organizations are able to fund or support programs where kids are labeled anything other than what society wants them to be. Many church groups can't handle LGBTQI youth because they have a need to change kids to what the church wants them to be, and when they can't- youth are cast away for having the courage to be themselves. True Colors embraces the youth of it's program. No one is told to be anything except themselves. The ability True Colors staff has to see each individual and treat their soul amazes me. If I had to name the number one service they provide- it would be acceptance tied with Love for first place. I decided to become a mentor for this very reason. I am impressed with the amount of community outreach True Colors does, from School GSA's, (which I might add provided youth with scholarship opportunities and information), to an amazing (yearly) national conference, to a variety of arts, entertainment, and spiritual groups. It is an honor to volunteer with this group!

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

the youth that have grown emotionally, spiritually and who now have hope in their future.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

What I've learned from staff, other volunteers and interns and what the kids share. The conference. To see so many youth, for some of them, the only days they can be themselves.

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

Kind, dedicated, knowledgeable, hip. These people know what they are doing! There just isn't enough of them!

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

Organize groups across the country and create a more accepting and loving place for LGBTQI youth in society.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-7-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

35 people found this review helpful

True Colors provides and outstanding service to the youth that seek it out by supporting them and affirming their worth as individuals regardless of sexual orientation. Further, True Colors provides and outstanding service to all organizations in the state of CT that serve youth by advocating for lgbtq youth and assisting organizations in understanding the needs of such youth.

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

in countless lgbtq youth that thought they had no self worth....that thought no one actually cared for them....that thought they would be condemned to hell because insensitive, discriminatory, bigoted, and prejudiced people had told them so.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

continue doing exactly what they are doing.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the warm and caring people that are involved. As well as watching lgbtq youth gain confidence and self worth.

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

warm and caring.

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

make the world a better place for lgbtq youth and the general public.

Ways to make it better...

True Colors had even great support and funding.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

discrimination, bigotry, and prejudice foisted upon it by discriminatory, bigoted, prejudicial people.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I hope True Colors keeps up the fine job it does.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

46 people found this review helpful

True Colors opened my eyes to the LGBT world. The 2007 youth conference helped me realize that you know it's okay to be proud. I don't have to hide or be in the shadows. True colors, INC has given me a voice and the courage to do great things in the LGBT commnity. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be sitting typing here. They have inspired me to do such great things and I'm extremely proud to know the peoplw who run True Colors, their volunteers, and the 100s of youth they inspire.

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

Schools therapy centers in the streets the people I met through True Colors in the inspiration they've given me

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Repeat the movements of my predeccsors(sp?)

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Definley all the doors it has opened for me.

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

AMAZING!!!!! plain and simple.

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

change the world. help the LGBT community even more have more events be able to have more mentoring services

Ways to make it better...

N/A

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the number of volunteers and the time constraints and of course the stress. atogether equal quite a large challenge.

One thing I'd also say is that...

my life would not be the same if it was not for True Colors inc. They've helped me in so many ways and I thank Buddha that they are in existense.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

44 people found this review helpful

I have never seen an organization so intimately involved with their mission and so committed to the people they serve. Their tiny staff somehow finds a way to make an enormous difference for hundreds (thousands?) of LGBTQIA... kids in Connecticut and beyond every year. What makes True Colors different from many other organizations is the utter honesty with which they operate. They recruit dedicated volunteers by being unabashedly honest about what will be expected of them; they are honest with the kids they serve when helping them try to make the right decisions; and they advocate honesty in their community. With this honest approach, they pull off the biggest, greatest LGBTQI Youth Conference in the country. Going to that conference is like going home to the family you always wish you had. I am so proud to be involved with this organization. Every activity provides a first-hand account of lives being changed, if not saved.

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

every activity I've attended. There is always an air of deep care and support for the youth in the program. You can tell during True Colors activities that the youth are feeling much safer and supported than they are in their daily lives.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

find more effective ways for everyone in the organization--youth, staff, and volunteers--to communicate their needs, ideas and logistics with each other. I would also develop a more formal fundraising effort.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

how committed and supportive the staff are to its volunteers. Whenever I've had struggles or needed advice, Kamora has been right there to listen and help out.

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

the most dedicated, caring, fiercely loyal people in the universe. They are totally dedicated to their youth and are willing to go to any length to make sure their kids are safe and supported.

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

open affirming, supportive group homes for our youth in DCF care staffed with open-minded, positive people. And maybe find a more convenient place for their conference.

Ways to make it better...

the organization was more organized administratively and had clearer streams of communication.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

lack of staff and resources. As with most non-profits, the True Colors staff is spread thin and can't be everywhere at once. If we could just quadruplicate each of their staff members, they might be able to do all the work there is to be done in CT.

One thing I'd also say is that...

this is the best non-profit I've ever been involved with. Their tiny staff works miracles for LGBTQIA kids in the state. I wish an organization like True Colors was around when I was growing up.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

44 people found this review helpful

Any organization that aspires to serve adolescents had better have its act together, and True Colors has a very together act. Life ain't a cabaret, it's a three ring circus. True Colors handles its various programs and services with grace, joy, and professionalism, performing a juggling act while crossing a tightrope on a unicycle! It engages sexual minority youth, their families, their friends, and their allies and advocates. The True Colors annual conference is an astonishingly rich service to Connecticut, and the ongoing services that the True Colors organization provides (like adult/youth mentoring and mentoring training) are invaluable.

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

The numbers of sexual minority youth served, the variety and sophistication of True Colors' programs and services, and its engagement of diverse constituencies.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Observing sexual minority youth and their friends energized and engaged in productive activity, and seeing the concern of the adults in their lives.

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

A tireless, enthusiastic, and professionally skilled executive director, reliable support staff, and energetic, creative volunteers.

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

Expand its support staff and expand its programs.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

42 people found this review helpful

The best non-profits are mission focussed with strong professional practices and standards and with healthy personal commitment from leadership and staff. While I have been around many good non-profits, I think True Colors may be the best of the lot.

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

helping foster kids find appropriate LGBT supportive homes.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

self-destruct.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The transcendent combination of passion and professional skills combined on behalf of their mission.

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

committed.

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

Effectively cover Connecticut and help replicate elsewhere.

Ways to make it better...

had been able to commit more time.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

limited philanthropic dollars, prejudice, trying to respond to needs state-wide with VERY limited staff and a comparatively small volunteer base from one office.

One thing I'd also say is that...

The founder and Executive Director has provided compelling leadership.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

30 people found this review helpful

True Colors is officially a conference for sexual and gender minority youth. I suppose that's correct, but to me it's so much more than that. I first attended the conference when I was in high school, not so long ago. The next year I was in the fray, helping plan and volunteering. Working with True Colors has been my way of sharing the great fortune I've had in my life with youth who have not been so lucky. Many of the children who attend True Colors are not accepted for being who they are and the conference is one of the few places where they can really be themselves, and I think that is a beautiful thing.

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

my high school, where kids who never smiled did for a day.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

need the skills of a ninja, because that's what Robin has; I don't really know how she does it every year.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

coming in contact with such a multitude of people that I would have never had the opportunity to meet without it.

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

absolutely awesome!

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

make even more of difference for youth who are often not given a chance.

Ways to make it better...

I hadn't been sick.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

money, because there's never enough of it to help everyone that we'd like to, acceptance, because there are still people who want to come to the conference but aren't permitted for whatever reason, and a lack of limbs, since we each only have so many.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I don't really know where I'd be without True Colors; it has definitely given me a model for my life and for helping others.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

31 people found this review helpful

I have been involved with True Colors for over 10 years. Their annual youth conference alone is possibly one of the most powerful experiences I have had in my lifetime (of over 50 years). True Colors works diligently to help LGBTQQII youth develop their self image and dignity. They give youth who often feel marginalized and on the fringe of their social circles a chance to be part of a thriving social network. Thru their year-round mentoring program, True Colors gives support to those young people who might otherwise be ignored and left to founder in the layers of bureaucracy. I applaud Robin McHaelan and her staff for thinking beyond their budgets, and structures, and capabilities to enabling the impossible to be done.

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

the lives of young people who have developed into young adults who are proud and self assured.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

hope that I could do as great a job as Robin McHaelan does now. Her tireless commitment and constant dedication is an inspiration to anyone heading a non-profit organization.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

being able to listen to the hopes, dreams and aspirations voiced by young confident citizens who realize that their future is theirs to command.

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

deidcated, involved, and constantly present in the lives of their clients. Each and every one volunteer and paid staff alike are the consumate professionals.

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

could ease the aches in the hearts of so many youth all over the country. They would foster a generation of LGBT youth who were empowered and inspired to live their lives to their fullect potential.

Ways to make it better...

True Colors had more funds and resources to reach every young person who needs their help.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Money, money and money.

One thing I'd also say is that...

True Colors are their own worst enemies, they dedicate so much time to their mission, that they don't leave themselves much time for self-promotion, fundaraising and development

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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