I have been a part of the Outright family for over 8 years--as an intern, board member, prom chaperone, fire truck puller (yes, you read that right), phone-a-thonner, archivist, brand new facilitator, and general HUGE FAN. There is no other organization that has a bigger place in my heart than Outright. It is a truly youth-driven, empowerment-focused, strengths-based, celebratory, educational, visionary, queer place. This is not always the easiest path to take, or the one that garners the most funding. Youth in our community sometimes want, need, and prioritize things that do not align with popular funding streams. However, Outright is wholeheartedly committed to their values and to being a queer organization in many senses of the word. The staff work their amazing butts off for this place. As do the board, facilitators, volunteers, and youth! Here's to another 20+ years of excellent service!
I have been an occasional volunteer, helping with phone banking. I received clear instructions and support during this volunteer experience. More interestingly, as a "general community member" I have seen the positive impact they make on both the youth they serve and the non-LGBTQ youth they involve. As a staff member at UVM, I have seen non-LGBTQ college students build their understanding for themselves and for queer youth. Outright strategically involves LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ college students to create allies for today and the future.
"The Mission of Outright is to build safe, healthy, and supportive environments for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth (ages 13-22)." In my experience volunteering and interning for Outright VT, I witnessed the mission of the organization being lived out among the staff, volunteers, and youth that are so very important to the agency. The network of love, support, and education is exactly what youth of all ages need to develop and step out in the world. I would absolutely recommend this nonprofit to anyone who is interested in supporting youth and having their life being changed in the process. Outright does an excellent job of using resources to benefit youth while taking the input and feedback of those teens.
Outright Vermont is truly queer, youth driven and empowerment focused. At Outright's annual Queer and Ally Youth Summit this year, multiple youth proudly and loudly amplified how Outright Vermont has positively impacted their lives. I witnessed youth stand confidently and speak courageously. I saw empowerment, strength, and resilience. And, I heard Outright Vermont.
After meeting two Outright staff members during one of their eye-opening presentation, I was moved to volunteer with the organization as a Friday Night Group (FNG) facilitator. Helping to creating a safe and supportive environment for youth to share their experiences, make new friends and just be themselves reached something deep within me. I knew that this weekly opportunity was something truly special and I wanted to do what I could to ensure that queer and questioning youth had that outlet where they didn't need to worry about people misusing their gender pronouns or where they could get a hot meal each week. My experiences as a facilitator inspired me to take the next step and join the staff as the Youth Coordinator. I feel safe in saying that I can speak personally as to how the organization touches hearts and changes lives. - My score is actually representative of how a youth feels about the organization. I asked them to provide us with a rating of 0-5 stars. They said 4, because you're not perfect (and really who is) but you get a 5 for all of your effort.