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.

Rating: 5 stars  

41 people found this review helpful

True Colors, Inc., is an organization with one overriding goal. Provide LGBTQ, etc., youth, their families and allies with the tools and support needed to ensure that these youth grow up knowing the value they themselves bring to the world and that they can truly make a difference and be proud of who they are. As a board member and a long time advocate of True Colors, I have seen the group grow from being run out of a home to the small office space they now occupy, bursting to expand yet again. The annual Youth Conference, provides information and eduction to thousands of LGBTQ, etc., youth from middle school through college along with social workers and other youth oriented professionals. The conference is larger and more dynamic year after year. Other shining examples of their efforts are the Safe Harbor project run with the State of CT Dept of Children and Families, their LGBT mentoring program and their GSA progams. The staff and interns are truly dedicated and caring professionals and have been recognized nationally and locally as have many of their training and other programs. True Colors is working hard to increase their donor base and rely less on grant funding for programs and operating costs, to ensure fiscal stability and growth in years to come. The organization is poised to become a well recognized national player in support of LGBT youth.

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

the faces of the youth that pass through their door, attend a conference, or hear about this from someone they know

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

hope to do one tenth of what Robin McHaelen does every single day.

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

the dedication and professionalism of the entire staff and board

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

beyond amazing and never take no for an answer.

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

continue to succeed in everything it does and reach out to touch every LGBT youth in the United States with the same care and dedication to equality.

Ways to make it better...

I had been able to join as a board member much earlier

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

Funding and need for increased staffing to expand their programs, which is tied to funding of course

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

There is nothing left to say.

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