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Founded in 1983, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (The Center) addresses inequalities faced by LGBTQIA+ New Yorkers across multiple dimensions: health, economic opportunity, and community. Before the pandemic, The Center had more than 6,000 people visit their NYC home weekly, and more than 300 groups meet in their space monthly.

Center Youth, their youth programming, is open to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and allied young people between ages 13 and 21. Center Youth focuses on developmental, academic, and vocational outcomes for thousands of young people who face health and social barriers to success. Knowing their youth were facing some of the most significant challenges during this period of social isolation, The Center adapted its programming to include virtual services. With the support and partnership of the Maximus Foundation, their virtual offering translated to more than 4,000 units of services to more than 260 youth.

Dennise is just one of the young people who have benefitted from the programs offered by Center Youth. Watch her share her internship experience offered through their program ROAR (Responsibility, Opportunity, Action, and Results). ROAR helped Dennise channel her passion for social justice to learn about power, privilege, identity, and oppression through hands-on activities, group discussions, films, and more. She engaged in service-learning projects to foster her skills to organize and take action on social and environmental issues that are important to her and her peers.

“Thanks to The Center’s virtual counseling and internships, I’ve learned that regardless of my age, gender, or immigration status, my voice can be heard. I’m not alone, and if we all unite our voices, we are going to change the world for the better.”

To learn more about The Center’s virtual programs and services, visit