As an intern with Free2Be, I have been gifted with so many opportunities to expand my mind and my skills. Free2Be provides much needed services to an under-served population in an area of the United States where LGBTQ people are often overlooked if not facing outright discrimination. The agency is also venturing into new and unexplored territory for themselves and for the LGBTQ South with their new programs. They are braving the rough waters of grantwriting and working under the auspices of grant administrators in order to supply the LGBTQ community with anti-violence programs such as outreach, advocacy, therapeutic and supportive groups, counseling for individuals, couples, and families, as well as community events related to domestic violence, sexual assault, bullying, and suicide prevention and awareness. Free2Be is an agency that challenges itself to do better and provide higher quality services to a community that often faces unique challenges.
I've been involved with Free2Be for several years, and have watched the organization grow rapidly, expanding services at a phenomenal rate, especially considering they operate strictly on donations with no government or grant funding. For a time, I volunteered at weekly meetings for LGBTQ young people, and witnessed first hand the affect that acceptance has on those who have been made to feel they are different and somehow less worthy than their classmates. It is no exaggeration to say that lives have been turned around, and literally saved due to the efforts of James Robinson and the staff of volunteers and counselors. No one should face life in the isolation of the closet, feeling they have no hope for the future and no chance of acceptance. Free2Be strives to see that no one, young person or adult, no matter where they may fall along the spectrum of gender identity and/or sexual orientation, faces life alone. This is vital in the South, where those who do not fit the 'norm' are quite often in fear for their lives, and with good reason. Violence is all too common as a means of problem-solving in the region, and must be countered with positive measures on all fronts. The integrity of the executive director permeates the agency, and the staff and volunteers are held to the highest possible standards in providing those positive measures so necessary to the physical and mental health of the LGBTQ South. It is impossible to overstate the impact Free2Be has had on the community in Huntsville and the surrounding areas, or to understate the need for it to continue to expand the services offered.
I met James Robinson of GLBT Advocacy and Youth Services at a showing of the movie "For the Bible Tells Me So". I knew immediately I had met an extraordinary man. Here was an articulate, compassionate, honest man, imbued with integrity, unafraid to take a stand for both GLBT rights and faith — a far cry from the images we see so often in the news. As I began to learn more about GLBTAYS, I became even more impressed. Advocacy for GLBT youth is urgently needed when the authority figures in a young person's life may be the very ones who are heaping vitriol upon them. It's a serious problem; from May 1 to May 13 (Mother's Day) ten young people committed suicide after being bullied. Nearly one every day. One of those was 7 years old. These kids need to know beyond a doubt that someone is there for them, that someone will stand between them and those who have targeted them for hatred. James is that someone in our area. I've watched GLBTAYS work tirelessly to support a student bullied by a teacher at a local high school, persevering and determined that things would be made right despite apparent indifference from the school board. I've watched GLBTYAS reach out to the community on behalf of a troubled teen from our area who was in a dangerous home situation. When my own work for the GLBTQ community becomes burdensome, when hope is so fragile a single breath could destroy it, when anger at injustice reddens everything I see, James is there, calm, courageous, constant — always working, always giving, always caring. His is the soul of GLBTAYS, the force that gives it life, and is reflected in its every activity. We need the services that GLBTAYS provides and we need them badly; James ensures we have them. He and the organization have my deepest admiration.
An oasis of compassionate outreach in the otherwise barren landscape of Alabama. The Free2Be LGBTQ resource center in North Alabama is a one-of-a-kind resource center that the Huntsville community is incredibly fortunate to have. It's certainly a feather in the cap of a progressive city to have an organization devoted to equality. Kudos to founder James Robinson for his activism and vision.
I volunteered at Free2Be all summer and had the greatest time of my life. I got too help with everything from basic office function to helping set up Rocket City Pride. I am very grateful to James Robinson for creating this great organization to help the lgbt community of Alabama and I consider it a privilege to have been able to volunteer here.
I was invited to perform at Rocket City Pride in 2012 when I first met James Robinson and the incredible group of volunteers at Free2Be LGBTQ Resource Center. I was totally blown away by the work they are doing there. After seeing all of the people they offer their services to and hearing their stories, I knew that this was an organization I wanted to be affiliated with and support.
This program fulfills a great need in the Alabama area. There are so many LGBTQ youth that have been turned away by their families, churches, friends and schools for simply being who they are. This organization provides resources to these valued members of society. They have made a huge difference in many lives and manage to do the best they can with meager finding. It my hope that this vital program get as much funding as possible so that even more lives can be saved.
I am both a volunteer for this group as well as a donor. James Robinson is an awesome person who has a never ending love for humankind and believes strongly in civil and human rights for all. I am proud to be affiliated with GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services, Inc. I am even more proud to be a friend of James Robinson. We have worked together for many years in the public school system. We have seen it all when it comes to the abuse, bullying and indifference to children. This organization is the salvation for kids in the south who find themselves in impossible situations. They provide support, love, resources for these children/youth who otherwise may feel there is no option for them other than suicide. The real life stories that come to the attention of this advocacy group are nothing short of completely heartbreaking. Until I got involved with this group, I had no idea how fast and large this problem has gotten. There are far too many children as well as adults who are "shunned" or abused by their families, friends, community simply for being who they are. To me, this is totally unacceptable in this day and age. People are people period. I wish labels could be completely eliminated and replaced by being individuals. I think a lot of the problems come from misinformation, misunderstanding, and just plain ignorance. This group is out there, making people aware of the problem and offering ways for others to help. I totally support GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services, Inc. and encourage others to check out the work they do and help in anyway possible. We are all children of God...the details really don't matter.
Through the magic of social media, even up here in nyc we have become very familiar with James Robinson and the amazing work him and his league of extraordinary colleagues have done. The work they have accomplished in a relatively short period of time is astounding.
My husband and I were lucky enough to get to attend a holiday event last year and meet the team and learn about all they do, and what they have planned for the future. It's exciting and inspiring. James and his team together have done great things and will continue for a long long time. I can't wait to see how they grow and hope we get to be lucky enough to be a part of it!
The LGBT Youth Advocacy Group has been a true blessing in my life. I feel that as a young adult looking back being able to see that there were people like me who cared about my safety & well being was a wonderful thing to get me through the point I was at in that time. James Robinson was the one who really touched my life and showed me that it was okay to be gay, to be proud, and embrace all that I am as an LGBT individual. He also was able to help awnser questions I had about being gay & a Christian. I am honored to have had this group apart of my life!
The Huntsville GLBT Advocacy Group is a growing opportunity to help young teens and young adults with family problems, counseling, self acceptance, and provides a safe warm environment. I personally feel it is a credit to society and making young lives better, one person at a time. Any support given to them is a gift, one that is treasured whether is financially, with giving time, and support in general. The director James Robinson is a good man, who is after Gods own heart. I highly recommend getting involved in this growing community that represents Love, Tolerance, And Support.
The people that volunteer for this organization are so passionate and sincerely care about the work they do. GLBTAYS promotes equality and diversity through advocacy and activism, counseling, support groups, and community events such as Rocket City Pride. The positive impact this organization makes is amazing, especially given that they are only around 5 years old and are working with very few resources. I am extremely proud to be even a small part of what they do.
This fabulous organization is doing everything they can to further equality and offer a sense of community to everyone on the LGBT scene. The work they do for queer youth cannot be met in the area. I've attended a few events sponsored and have always felt welcome, comfortable, and a part of some bigger picture of unity.
I have been in touch with GLBT Adocacy and Youth Services, Inc. and have known many of those in leadership and clients also served by this organization since the inception of the organization. I am please to see the growth and unfluence of those involved and served. I have seen a lot of education and assistance given by this group. Many have grown in self esteem and freedom of expression. I am pleased to see what they have done for many in the community and in the surrounding area.
This program is doing so much with so little resources, it is amazing the outreach it has. From as far away as 3 to 4 hours people come to know what exist in Huntsville Al. From counseling, to support and everything in between, the people that make up its staff or God sent angels in my eyes. The sacrifices they make to give someone a voice, a friend, a colleague, an opportunity an ear to listen. It is what non profits do that make the blessing be personal and life sustaining. This non profit organization is outstanding even though challenged amazingly.
My husband and I (both recently retired) find this organization to be a respite to all in the community, since everyone is welcomed, loved and accepted right where they are. The GLBT Center reaches out to help those who have no where to go, and need the support of those who may have similar experiences. How fortunate and grateful we are to have such a progressive and truly inclusive place in our community !It is a place we know we are always loved and welcome. I would like to mention that we are a heterosexual couple who feels honored to be a part of this wonderful place.
I have the honor of being the Volunteer Coordinator at GLBTAYS. All of our staff including our Executive Director are volunteers putting in around 7000 hours this year alone. I have volunteered at other organizations but none as well organized, compassionate or professional as this one. We have many activities going on during the week from AA, NA, craft circles, youth support group, trans support group, breast cancer survivor support group , and a social time to build community on Sundays. Please go to our web site to see what else we do and come volunteer with us!!! Together we are making a difference!!
GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services is an excellent service-oriented organization for the GLBTQ youth and adults they serve in Huntsville and surrounding areas in North Alabama. They started with so little and have grown to a bigger location due to their growth in helping others in the GLBTQ community. Jame Robinson and his volunteers have participated in many community activities in order to expand their outreach to any GLBTQ youth and adults that may not have any supports systems at home, school, or work. They hold support group meetings for GLBTQ youth and adults so they can have a safe place to meet others in the GLBTQ community. They have been recognized in the media for the work and in helping students fight discrimination in their own school. I havent got to volunteer as much as I had planned due to living and working in Tennessee, but I would definitely devote my time to helping James and his other colleagues in making GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services a safe place for all people.
GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services is a wonderful and vital non-profit organization that advocates for and supports gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth as well as adults in the North Alabama region. James Robinson works very hard in trying to secure funding to keep this organization alive for the benefit of our glbtq youth and adults. The organization offers a variety of services from peer support groups to a host home program. I, myself, have attended and assisted several safe schools workshops in Alabama and South Florida as well as volunteered for several glbtq youth events in South Florida. So I can recognize a great and valuable organization from my own experience as well as from the viewpoint of an educator that accepts all youth from all backgrounds. So please support GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services if you can so our youth will have a safe place to go and be themselves.
I cannot say enough positive things about this organization. They care deeply and they work hard to help all people in our community feel included as valued citizens. The strive to help the community see that we are all humans with feelings and families and desire to live peacefully together. They offer educational support for all ages and especially stand with youth against discrimination and bullying. Their professionalism is above reproach. Now that they have adequate space to accept personal growth groups, news of their caring is spreading.
I am a volunteer as well as the Chair of the Board of Directors for GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services, Inc. I currently moderate the transgender support group that was the North Alabama Gender Center and is now a part of GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services, Inc. I first learned of the organization as it was forming and knew that I had to help. I immediately became a volunteer for the youth support group in addition to the transgender support group and share my knowledge and experience where needed.
Youth today face enough troubles without being shown intolerance or bullied because they are or perceived as being GLBT. Being in the South where religion sometimes shows its extremism, kids are often thrown out of their homes if they come out as GLBT and often have no where to go. That's where we step in as an advocate.
In the few years we have been around, we have expanded our services immensely. We have been grateful to the Spirit of the Cross church here in Huntsville for donating their hall for our groups and now that we have our own space, Our Space Community Center, we continue to grow. Besides the youth and transgender support groups, we have a Host Home Program, AA support group, breast cancer support group and caregivers support group, craft circle, just to name a few.
Please consider donating your time and money to help this organization continue to grow by supporting and advocating for our community.
GLBTAYS is the only agency of its kind in Alabama and serves a large number of people within the LGBT community as well as any one else who may need assistance. It has provided a safe, non-judgmental environment for many people, and is an invaluable asset to the community and the enrichment of the city of Huntsville and state of Alabama
GLBTAYS is an amazing organization that provides a safe place for members of the GLBTQ community and allies to come to hang out, receive free community counseling, discuss today's issues, and make new friends! I'm proud to be a volunteer at such an exceptional, caring organization!
I have the pleasure of volunteering at this most awesome of agencies with the most awesome people doing the most awesome things. We're small but we do HUGE things to support and act as allies for the GLBTQ commUNITY here in the bustling metropolis of Hunstville, AL.
My wife and I were recently wed and the support from our friends and family here at OurSpace was heartfelt and abounding. I hope you'll recognize us and help us spread the word that we are here and welcoming to all with open arms.