Saturday, June 7, 2014

SMYAL in Ward 6

This week, the Washington City Paper has its very informative "Encyclopedia of Gay D.C." One of the entries is about SMYAL, which originally started as the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League, but now is called Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders. They are celebrating their 30th year. After starting in 1984 in NW DC, SMYAL moved to 7th St SE, near the Eastern Market Metro station, in 1997. From its beginnings, SMYAL has been an important space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth to socialize and be less isolated. In their new Ward 6 location, according to their website, SMYAL became:
the metro area's first and only youth center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Moving into the center substantially expanded SMYAL's administrative and program space, allowed SMYAL to substantially expand its hours of operations to offer after-school programs, provided greater Metro accessibility, and created the kind of youth-friendly space critical to SMYAL's work. The Youth Center includes a lending library, a computer lab, a group room, a comfortable drop-in area, a resource area with information on topics ranging from safer sex and substance abuse to nutrition and civic action, a backyard patio, and (perhaps the favorite of our youth) a kitchen area stocked with snacks and beverages.  
In line with the new name, Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders, SMYAL works "to give student leaders the skills they will need to raise their voices against injustice and empower their peers to join in their efforts." As the WCP states, "it doesn't 'get better' unless someone works to make it better."

Happy 30th Birthday, SMYAL!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Due to spammers, I am restricting comments.