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Inside/Out Youth Services offers refuge from the storm



Inside/Out Executive Director Mary Malia helps create safe space. - DARCIE NOLAN
  • Darcie Nolan
  • Inside/Out Executive Director Mary Malia helps create safe space.

Inside/Out Youth Services has created safe spaces for local LGBTIQ youths for over 20 years. They've stood strong through challenges locally and nationally, celebrated successes and invested deeply. They protect and support those who are vulnerable, wearing their dedication on their sleeves. Every day they offer young people a chance to grow, thrive and develop their individuality while understanding the challenges they face.

LGBTIQ youths are more likely to experience bullying and dating violence as students than their peers. Many also experience challenges at home as families struggle, or even refuse, to fully accept them. Inside/Out helps them navigate their experiences, feelings and potential while providing a safe place in after-school programs and groups. Their work can be life-changing, and life-saving.

"Every dollar that gets donated goes right into this program and ensuring that kids still have this space. We have kids whose parents don't support them, parents throw them out on the street, parents who don't get it and really don't understand their impact to help their kids grow up and adjust to the fact that they are LGBTIQ," says Executive Director of Inside/Out Youth Services Mary Malia.

Kids come from all over the city to drop in, to share a meal together, to watch a movie together or do a project. There are also groups available to learn to handle stress and anxiety, suicide prevention meetings and lots of one-on-one conversations about experiences at school or at home.

"We have these kids who need us to be more present, more determined, more committed than ever before," says Malia, "I have kids walking in the door who need a safe space, who are struggling with suicidal ideation, with self harm, who need this place to be here."

She goes on, "I can't go to D.C. and make a difference. I got nothing but right here in this space with these kids. In this community we can make a difference; people who want to give to our campaign can make a difference. You can help us keep these doors open and expand our programs."

Inside/Out Youth Services has two goals for the Give! Campaign. First, they want to raise at least $15,000. They are working on a space at Library 21C and will be adding programs at several school districts within the next six months. They are also moving to a location that will better suit their staff and allow them to offer more services to LGBTIQ youths and their families.

Their second goal is to be one of the top five nonprofits in the Give! Young Donors Challenge, which focuses on donations from locals 18 to 36 years old. Not only would this give them access to additional grant money, it would show how much young people support their work and a great future for the LGBTIQ community. Find out more at insideoutys.org.

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