A $10,000 grant from the COVID-19 Community Response Fund will help Diverse & Resilient’ s Room to Be Safe program..
By Kathy Flores, program director, Diverse & Resilient
We are thrilled that Diverse & Resilient of Appleton has secured funding to provide programming for LGBTQ youth in Northeast Wisconsin.
The new Room to Be You(th) Program is a part of our Room to Be Safe Anti-Violence Program located at 408 ½ West Wisconsin Avenue in Appleton.
In October 2019, Diverse & Resilient opened its first office in Appleton. In June 2020, we took on the former LGBT Partnership youth program when Goodwill NCW removed it from their programming as a result of the Corona Virus Pandemic and cuts to their revenue. We were able to secure immediate funding for the remainder of 2020 through grants from the COVID-19 Community Response Fund established by the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region and United Way Fox Cities, a budget modification of current grants through the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families and through private donations.
We vowed to seek funding to adopt this program full-time in 2021 and beyond. Last month we secured funding from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families for a full-time position to work with LGBTQ youth as a full-time program in Appleton. Our new Room to Be You(th) program in Appleton has one full-time Youth/Young Adult Advocate Reiko Ramos who hosts a weekly support group for LGBTQ youth with D&R advocate Nick Ross as well as providing 1:1 support to those in crisis.
The funding focus is to help youth build resilience and safety in their own dating relationships, but also provide safety if young LGBTQ people are experiencing other forms of rejection like family or community based on their identities. Our hope is to help build resiliency and strength in LGBTQ youth, a population vulnerable to violence within communities, relationships and families.
One youth shared this reflection on resilience and the impact the program has had on them, “When I first started coming to group, I remember being surprised and having so much admiration for all the other youth because I thought they seemed so confident and could just be themselves together at group. I didn’t know that was even possible and seeing that helped me realize that I might eventually be able to do that too.”