I worked with NAGLY in multiple roles over the course of several years, about ten years ago (early 2010s). I first became involved as a researcher interested in learning about LGBTQ youth’s lives, and later returned as the adult coordinator for the youth-led health education and outreach program. During this time, the organization met in the basement of a church, and before the doors even opened for the once-weekly evening meeting, you could tell that NAGLY was an incredibly special place for the youth it served. Young people would arrive early and sit or lean against the rails of the steps to chat, sing to or discuss the most recent Lady Gaga song, no matter the weather. I was humbled by the adult and youth advisors, who would purchase, bring and prepare healthy snacks for youth, knowing that for some of them it may be their main food for that day. I was most impressed by the youth participants themselves—ranging in age from young teens to early adulthood, everyone was included and celebrated. When a hesitant young person walked through the door, someone from this tight-knit community would walk over within seconds with a warm welcome. The Board of this organization was always looking forward, and as a feminist researcher I appreciated that they were somewhat hesitant at first to allow me, a researcher they did not know, into their space. Now that I am a foster parent, I have a different appreciation for the ethical and protective approach taken by the organization’s leadership. This is truly a community-based organization: it relies on the community, partners with other organizations, creates community, and gives back. I was only involved with NAGLY for about two years, but I still feel a sense of pride as I watch this phenomenal organization grow from afar.
I first discovered nAGLY in my late teens through a friend. We attended meetings together WAY back when it was in its infancy. Unfortunately, I was at the aging out age when I found nAGLY so was not able to attend for long. But that small experience had a big impact. I thought often of nAGLY over the years, about how important it is to have a space like that. I came from a home that was not accepting of my sexuality and I came from a time before GSA's. I was bullied in school and punished at home for my identity. Back then, it wasn't even legal for someone like me to get married. So I really appreciated being in a space where there were other people like me and I didn't feel so strange or alone.
In recent years I found myself with time on my hands and I wanted to do something with it. So I filled out a volunteer application at nAGLY. I knew I wanted to pay it forward. I wanted to help give back to the place that had given me space all those years ago. In a short time I became an adult advisor at nAGLY and it has truly been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. Honestly, it reminded me AGAIN that I am not alone. That I have a whole community of people like me out there in the world. I am grateful to nAGLY for this reminder and hopeful that I may continue to be a valuable resource for them.
I brought my son to NAGLY as a way of supporting him and providing him with a social circle he would feel comfortable and accepted in. The added bonus was the support, social circle, and resources I found for myself as a parent! The staff and volunteers are all so wonderful and thoughtful.
Our family needed to find support within the LGBTQ+ community and found it at NAGLY. My husband and I found lots of great support from fellow parents and the advisors, and our child has found a rich and diverse group of friends through the groups and activities offered. Even through the pandemic, NAGLY has worked very hard to provide a safe harbor for all members of this broad community with a variety of offerings that just aren't being seen in other places. While our kid might be missing the monthly dances, they can still enjoy games nights, meetings, and other fun activities online. We are proud to both donate to and benefit from this vital community outreach.
We needed a place where our kiddo could go to find community after she came out in middle school, and found a community in the parents' group as well. Warm, welcoming, supportive--NAGLY is everything you'd want it to be.
nAGLY has been a part of our family's dynamic for many years. When my son came out at 16 years old, he attended his very first nAGLY meeting. I was concerned...would he emerge from the meeting feeling like "this is soooo not my thing" or "I love this place". I prepared myself for either option. When he did jump into my car, he was beaming! He said "There are a bunch of kids just like me! I made so many friends!" As a parent, that's EXACTLY what you want to hear. When my daughter came out at 15 years old, she was already familiar with nAGLY. She jumped right in and found a vast circle of friends with whom she could navigate her journey. nAGLY provided a brave, safe space. The meetings were informative and judgment free. When my kids were there, they were learning how to be safe and maintain good health - emotional and physical. Soon after, I was invited to become an Adult Advisor. I was straight, but it didn't matter. I was "the Mom" that the kids could speak to without worry of penalty or rejection. My work with nAGLY over the years has been one of the greatest joys of my life.
nAGLY's growth has permitted them to open their doors to even more LGBTQ kids and their families. We have nAGLY meetings and a Middle School group. We have EPiC meetings each week for parents, caregivers, and educators that are seeking information on how to assist their youth through life's journeys. We have open hours for "drop-in" so that the kids have a safe place to congregate. There are workshops and cup discussions. There are fun topics and serious ones too. nAGLY is hugely important to LGBTQ youth and their families. It tells them YOU ARE NOT ALONE. For a young person just coming out, that's what you REALLY need to hear. For a parent/caregiver, it's a place to learn how to advocate for the well-being of their young person. There aren't enough stars to properly rate nAGLY and all that they do, but there are plenty of rainbows to share.
I learned about nAGLY 5 years ago when my son came out. nAGLY provided him with a social group, where he could feel free to be himself and accepted. Soon after, my daughter came out and she started attending nAGLY as well. Both of my kids are now young adults and have truly benefited from their experiences at nAGLY, the friendships that they've made, the risk reduction information that they've learned, and the overall sense of community. I was so impressed with nAGLY as an organization that I became an advisor and have found that the time spent working with our nAGLY youth, peer leaders, staff and volunteers is the best "food for the soul" one could ever want. :-) Truly a wonderful place!
Places like NAGLY offer not only a home for those in the LGBTQ+ community, but also a safe haven for them to flourish and educate themselves on matters affecting us today. When I first started going, being different felt like a curse. In the years that followed, I realized that my differences held more value than I had previously considered. Without NAGLY, I don’t think I’d be in a place so well-put together as I am today. I owe them my life, and the credibility to shape me into a better person.
I started going to nAGLY when I was 14 and continued to attend every week until I finished high school. nAGLY gave me more opportunities than I could have ever even hoped for to get involved in the local queer community, which helped my find my own identity and my place in our amazing community.
nAGLY also did an incredible job educating me on the things that I wish I had learned in high school. I learned about queer history, safe sex, and risk reduction in a friendly, safe, and age appropriate environment that provided me with tools that help carry me through adult life.
nAGLY has left me with lifelong knowledge, community, and friendships that I cherish, and seeing the growth nAGLY has experienced in the years since I've left fills me with so much pride and joy for this incredible organization.
I first started at NAGLY as a scared, barely 16 year old girl, identifying as a lesbian with a long trauma history and almost zero social skills. My first meeting topic that night was a serious one, and it was the first time I realized that I was normal- a huge deal for me at the time.
Fast forward through the years, and I've held various positions at NAGLY, most recently as Outreach Coordinator. Through NAGLY, I developed knowledge around everything from life skills to risk reduction, to learning how to genuinely laugh and that my voice has power. NAGLY has taught me so many things, most importantly that I matter. We really put our heart and soul into what we do there, and are there for our youth and staff in a way I've never experienced before.
As a firmly out, transgender identifying person today, I can genuinely say that NAGLY has given me the skills I need, thirst for advocacy, and sense of self that moves me forward every single day. And, I learned all of this about myself while having the best time at our Tuesday meetings, unaware that I was building myself from the ground up.
I look forward to many more years at NAGLY as we continue to grow and be a resource for the North Shore and beyond, and I feel that a 5 star review is great, but I personally would give it a hundred stars if I could. NAGLY saved my life, showed me my purpose, and gave me a family beyond what I could ever imagine.
Wow, where do I even begin?! I'm reaching the age of 20 next month, and I have been going to Nagly since I was 14 years old. Throughout my teenage years I have had struggles a lot of downsides, but knowing that I could look forward to Nagly on Tuesday always helped. Nagly has been a beautiful and therapeutic part of my life. There's nothing but lovely and amazing youth/staff who fully welcomes anyone in the LGBTQ+ community and their allies there. Meetings range from educational and serious to fun and relaxing, but it's always guaranteed to be a great time. If you come here, you will meet your second family. I feel blessed to be a part of the staff here and to watch everyone grow and sparkle in their own way. I've never met such an awesome crowd of people in my life. Please please please come and join us, if you like having fun and being surrounded by embracing and kind people. We're here for anyone who needs help, or just wants to have a good time. I feel inspired because of Nagly, and I'm willing to bet that anyone else would feel the same way too.
I have been going there for almost a decade, and even though I have aged out I still continue to volunteer my time.
For me nAGLY helped me stay social and optimistic when I hit a very dark point in my life. It played a big part of my teen years and really helped me build the confidence in myself. I also built life long friendships from the people I met there and have been very thankful of that.
It is an important place for LGBT youth to really find who they are and be accepted and loved for that because not everyone can be. It has a wide array of meetings from fun and creative to educational and inspiring which help the youth learn and express themselves.
NAGLY is my second home and has made me the person I am today. I started coming at fifteen, insecure and alone, the only queer kid at my school, and have since joined the staff full time. I love NAGLY for building me into a leader, introducing me to the LGBT community, and giving me a reason to live. I would not be here without them.
nAGLY is a pretty neat place.
In all seriousness, I've made a large chunk of friends here and I've felt generally welcomed. The staff are all super nice, kindhearted and helpful. The space is very colorful and relaxing - there's a comfortable youth lounge, a wonderful library, and a boutique where youth can take clothes they might need (especially useful for the Winter). No matter who you are or where you come from I guarantee that you will be welcomed into the nAGLY family.
I went to nAGLY as a troubled teenager, it was a small piece of resbit from my insane adolescence. That was 15 years ago. Recently after losing my mother to cancer I returned as an adult volunteer, and once again found a community where I was welcomed, where I feel I can once find resbit, only in a new way, during another turbulent period in my life. I believe in nAGLY, and I feel blessed to be a part of what is happening there :)
Amazing time! I started out as a youth and the staff/youth were extremely accepting and fun to talk with. The meetings are fun and educational. You will always leave the space with new information and feeling like your thoughts were heard. I eventually became an intern and then a peer leader and it's a wonderful experience. The youth can submit requests for meeting topics or anything else they think will enhance their experience in the space. To add to that there are lots of resources and information to answer any questions that people may have. Overall it's a great space filled with great staff and people. I totally recommend someone to attend ^_^