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Positive Images

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Civil Rights, Counseling, Lesbian & Gay Rights, LGBTQ, Mental Health, Youth Development

Mission: P.I. is a member-driven organization that provides support, advocacy and leadership to Sonoma County’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, agender and curious youth, ages 12-24, and educates the greater community.

Target demographics: GLBTQQIA - Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, and curious youth, ages 12-24 and the greater community.

Geographic areas served: Sonoma, Napa & Mendocino Counties

Programs: GLBTQQIA Youth Support Group, PI Petaluma Youth Support Group, PI Trans Youth Support Group, PI Sonoma Valley Youth Support Group, Parents of Trans Youth Support Group, Peer Counseling GLBTQQIA Training.

Community Stories

14 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is an awesome organization for lgbt+ youth that has helped me embrace the community. Positive Images has has very helpful and welcoming leaders and volunteers that evolve with the members to better the organization.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This group is wonderful. My therapist recommended it and I'm so glad I listened. I was feeling like I had no friends and coming here I met the best group of friends I've ever had. If I could give it more than 5 stars I would.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The only positive group for transyouth locally that actually teaches life skills, creates safe space for sharing and brings divided families together. I trust them with my kid, to tell me the truth, to advocate, and to show up when others would not.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a proud mother of a daughter who attends PI. Everyone involved is 100% supportive and positive. I volunteered and attended their 2016 Gayla and i cannot remember when i was surrounded by so much love and genuine emotions. I smiled the whole time i was there and everyone came together to set everything up and the food was put out with thought to vegans, vegetarians etc. No judgements, just smiles, laughter and support with a lot of fun and you can be whom you want to be. I love, love, love this organization and will continue to volunteer. I encourage anyone who has not attended to step up and volunteer. Trust me you will get more out of it. I know i have!!!!!

Aiden M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization has honestly changed and saved my life. They have given me the hope and support I desperately needed, and helped me become part of a community. I love this organization with all of my heart, and I think it's a brilliant addition to the community.

John404

Client Served

Rating: 5

Amazing, fantastic, incredible, awesome, extraordinary, full of some of the most wonderful people I've ever met

Board Member

Rating: 5

Positive Images is a fantastic organization dedicated to empowering LGBTQ+ youth and young adults while educating Sonoma county youth and adults about issues of equality. As a queer person, I'm proud to be a part of an organization working diligently to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ youth and young adults.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Positive Images has created a place that young people, even when faced with with complex economic, family, academic and social challenges, are able to develop a positive LGBTQI identity without feeling alone in the process. Our Sonoma County LGBTQI youth need a safe space, community integration and acceptance, healthy peer relationships, and resources to help them navigate these turbulent times and learn life skills to develop a solid foundation for academic achievement and future employability. Positive Images offers that by combining an effective peer-to-peer support network with an effective community education program that promotes LGBTQI awareness in the community.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our Princess Son was introduced to Positive Images (PI) when he was 12 years old. He had been displaying gender nonconformity HIS ENTIRE LIFE (that was how he expressed himself as long as he was able to convey a need) Yet he was slipping into a much darker and depressed state due to his peer's (and the general student body) becoming increasingly judgemental, negative and extremely hostile at times! This isn't even touching on the adult/teacher dynamic of judgement also being projected towards him, like subtle inuendo's implying he was making a choice to be "girly" or that he was disruptive because of his feminine mannerisms.
We as a family saw his love of living life fully, with a wonderfully positive, loving attitude as being completely normal (Princess Boy) behavior.
In our family he was allowed to express himself (appropriately) in the manner he felt most comfortable, which was always by wearing a Dorthy dress (for weeks on end!) and singing Spice Girls songs all day long. In public it was a different story. As he got older we felt it was important to make him conform and the results were depression and anxiety slowly sneaking into the picture. PI became the safe space where he was allowed to be SHE and everything else; being a true expression of my child's true and original self! Long story short, he iremains living as a HE but a VERY stable, happy he. My son will complete college, getting his degree in dance andost likely attempt to break into the entertainment industry. He is a well rounded, loved man and PI made this possible! Our family is forever grateful for that support and love that our Princess was shown during the darker times in our family. My son found a place where he could express his innermost self and understand that he was OK just the way he is through seeing OTHER boys that like boys and are OK with it! A real heartfelt community of supportive, loving people. Thank You Positive Images and Jim Foster and Nancy Vogel!!

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Positive Images lifts up young people so that they have a place to provide support and sustenance for each other. P.I. creates a community for young people to deal with homophobia and heterosexism, during times of exploration and transformation. I've seen many young people become advocates for themselves through their work with Positive Images.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Positive Images is an organization that transforms the lives of queer youth and young adults. With a broad range of services, the organizations provides youth membership with diverse opportunities to develop social connections and advocacy and leadership skills. Most importantly, the organization provides a safe temenos for youth to dig deep, discover who they are in their heart-of-hearts, and manifest that essence in the world. I have consistently been impressed with the profound impact Positive Images has had on its youth and refer clients with whom I work to the organization without reservation.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Positive Images is a vital resource in the community that literally saves lives for LGBTQ youth. As a community college counselor (and previously a PI mentor), I have seen firsthand the impact PI has on ensuring youth have a safe place to explore their identities, connect with other queer youth, and receive professional help for themselves and their families in dealing with coming out and other related issues. Many times young people have nowhere else to turn for help, and PI is the oasis on the desert island.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Make no mistake: Positive Images matters. It saves lives and serves as a beacon of hope for generations of youth whose voices are authentic reminders that self-identification is a process and the journey toward it is heroic and necessary, and welcome here.

The heart of Positive Images is action in service of human dignity. The legacy of Positive Images is, therefore, immeasurable. Its work, while local, has had profound effects on communities beyond our borders. I know firsthand how PI supported Adam Heintz who courageously came out in an editorial in the Vintage High School student newspaper in 1994. The piece begins with a confession of nights of insomnia, despair and depression. It continues with a fervant plea to every reader: “If racism is a loud whisper on campus, homophobia is a prolonged shriek, and it needs to be stopped.” And, it concludes with Adam’s heartfelt gratitude for the care and support of Jim Foster and Positive Images, because as he reminds those who might be struggling in the closet “the world is not Napa and Vintage, and even books and adults can be wrong.” Adam challenged us to ask a different set of questions.

On the day the newspaper was distributed, Jim Foster and members of the PI community joined Adam’s parents and older brother, the school principal, teachers, and students from the campus Amnesty International group to celebrate this milestone and to hold space in solidarity with Adam. Suffice it to say, the editorial was shocking by Napa standards and its publication was controversial among the staff, students and their families; however, it was also liberating and undeniably the start of a much needed larger conversation—one that would now take its place in the public discourse.

But, the story hardly ends there. Adam’s parents went on to organize Napa’s first PFLAG group. Adam graduated from Oberlin, worked at the NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, completed law school, and now practices in NYC. The Amnesty International student group produced more than 40 all-day teach-ins with focuses on identity-based issues, the global campaign to end violence against women, and other topics which expanded the definition of literacy to include human rights education. Jim Foster and members of Positive Images served as workshop presenters.

Immediately following its publication, hundreds of copies of Adam’s editorial were distributed to activists, artists, and teachers during human rights trainings for nongovernmental organizations, both here and abroad. An updated interview with Adam in 2001 and a reprint of the editorial were included in an expanded edition of The Fourth R magazine to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Amnesty International. The text is an important historical artifact—a testament to the courage of one young man and the power of hope he found at Positive Images.

It is my privilege to be a witness to this extraordinary story and to assure you that it is true. Indeed, the measure of Positive Images’ influence is incalcuable. Please be a part of supporting this life-changing work.


10 Michael326

Board Member

Rating: 5

I started going to Positive Images in May of last year. At the time i was a silent and socially anxious guy. For the first 2-3 months i spoke when needed. During that time i mostly listened. The time i was quiet i listened to people checking in on their life and then feedback given from the group. The wisdom that i had heard from PI is like any other i ever had in my life . My favorite is "Don't feel or say sorry for being who you are" from Jacqueline. After the my first Thursday meeting at PI i gone to their prom. It was my first prom i had ever gone to. Being a part of this community has helped me get over my social anxiety. I trained with adult volunteers and other youth to become a peer counselor. Jim Foster and his wonderful peer counseling trainers really taught us to actively listen. I also felt i had learned a lot about myself and other people in the training. In the youth leadership i have gone from greeter to co-facilitator. The skills i learned from PI has and will be effecting my whole life. At the moment i am one of the co-facilitators for the youth group, a peer counselor, and a board member. Without PI i would of still been at home doing nothing and knowing no one.