True Colors, Inc.

Rating: 4.79 stars   19 reviews


576 Farmington Ave. Hartford CT 06105 USA


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.


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.


True colors' annual conference began as a field work project for its founder and current executive director in 1994 and its now the largest and most comprehensive lgbt youth issues conference in the nation. More than 3,000 youth, educators, social workers, clinicians, family members and clergy participate in more than 150 workshops, films, activities and events over the course of the 2 or 3 day event. School groups participate from more than half of the communities in ct, from across the northeast and nationally. The conference is open to the public and provides up to 15 continuing education credits for professional participants.

the safe harbor project is a public/private partnership between true colors, the ct state department of children and the ct association of foster and adoptive parents targeting the unique concerns and needs of lgbt youth in out-of-home care. The safe harbor project's mission is to ensure the safety, support and nurturance of all children and youth, regardless of their race, inherent sexuality, gender identity or expression by ensuring culturally competent, unbiased and affirming service by all dcf staff and its contracted providers. The safe harbor project includes a state-wide, policy-focused task force that meets monthly; staff and provider training to approximately 400 youth-serving professionals annually; foster parent recruitment for adolescents regardless of their gender or sexuality as well as individual case consultation. We provide intervention and mediation on behalf of approximately 75 youth annually, resulting in the creation of new foster homes, staff development and improved services. We provide interventions and mediation on behalf of 150 youth in the mentoring program, but we also work with directly approximately 200 youth in the youth development program and train approximately 2,400 helping professionals per year.

true colors provides connecticut's only lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (lgbt) one-on-one and group youth mentoring program. Bringing the benefits of mentoring directly to nearly 100 youth from across the state of connecticut. In addition to one-on-one mentoring with trained and screened adults, this program provides weekly group activities such as game nights, movie nights, dances, etc. These activities provide participating youth the opportunity for healthly peer interactions and social development - sadly lacking for most of the youth we serve.

we work directly with approximately 200 youth in our youth leadership and gay/straight alliance (gsa) programming. This work includes the provision of on-site 6-week activist institutes, annual gsa summits; direct advocacy on behalf of lgbt youth in school based settings; and policy work with various state agencies. In addition, true colors provides cultural competency training for approximately 2400 professionals per year.

2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Reviews for True Colors, Inc.

Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

When I was 13, I was on the verge of suicide. I was the only lesbian student in my high school, and I took a lot of heat from the students and staff for it. My days were miserable, I was the victim of numerous hate crimes. In the spring of 2004, my school's Gay/Straight Alliance registered for the True Colors Conference. The conference was held at Central CT State University that year. I had no idea what to expect, I'd never been to the conference before. We pulled onto the campus at 8 o'clock that morning and my life changed forever. Within minutes of arriving, we were greeted by Robin, Nico, and the rest of the True Colors Staff. There were hundreds, if not thousands of GLBTQ youth gathered. I was in shock. Here I was, one girl from a small, conservative christian town, surrounded by all of these fantastic, carefree, very gay people. Two days later, I left the conference with a completly new mindset. I was not alone. I had resources, new freinds, and a self esteem boost that was responsible for me surviving my years in high school. Through True Colors, I found a place where I belonged. I found people just like me. I found resources who stood up for me, and helped me work with my school's administration to stop the bullying and hate crimes. Suddenly, in a matter of two days, I had all of the love and support that any scared, depressed, lonely 13 year old girl could ever need. I attended the True Colors Conference for 7 years. After graduationg high school, I presetned a few times at the conference too, as my way of giving back to the community that saved me. I'm 22 now, I live with my partner of a year and we're hoping to get married in 2014. I can honestly say, that without Robin and the rest of the folks at True Colors, I would not be here. Their love, dedication, kindness, determination, support, and hard work has made a difference in so many lives, not just mine. They bring together the most incredible people you'll ever meet, and they work to make the world a better place for the GLBTQ youth they serve. I owe my life to True Colors, and I know plenty of people who can say the same. That's what makes True Colors a GREAT Nonprofit.

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

48 people found this review helpful

Having just moved to conneticut i dont know much about true colors, but i do know that this is a great organization and deserves this award. they have helped me personnally and many that i know. they are the soldiers for the lgbtq communitty and should be recognized for all that they do.

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

My community as well as the whole of CT

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

Give all the members an award for there hard work.

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

The hospitality and understanding of the members.

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

nice, clean kind, and understanding. they deserve this award more than anyone else.

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

help get bills passed and have an official building and switchboard.

Ways to make it better...

A limo had driven me there.

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

money. there biggest problem is financial, and im sure this award could help that.

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


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