Center for Human Development's Empowerment Program provides non-clinical support to LGBTQ+ youth, ages 12-20, in the highly diverse and underserved area of East Contra Costa County. We are the only community based program in this area focused on providing LGBTQ+ adolescents with crucially needed support and linkages to resources. Empowerment's staff work continuously to develop a safe, confidential environment where youth can express themselves authentically, learn about the LGBTQ+ community, and develop important skills for social-emotional wellness and lifelong resilience.
During COVID-19, we, like so many have needed to shift to operating remotely, leaving many LGBTQ+ youth feeling increasingly isolated and lacking critical support. Over the last year, our staff have worked tirelessly to remain connected with our youth participants, continuing to provide individual check-ins, one-on-one crisis assessments and interventions, and online group support services. As an vital service to the LGBTQ+ youth in our community, requests for social-emotional and mental health support for youth from local schools have increased, as have the difficulties for many youth to feel safe and comfortable to openly engage with LGBTQ+ support services while in their home environments. This has caused a necessity for our staff to take calls and texts from youth at irregular hours, when youth feel more safe and have privacy to engage with support.
As we now begin to return to providing in-person services, your donation, will go directly toward helping us to increase our capacity and meet these requests for support for our LGBTQ+ youth in East Contra Costa County. Thank you, on behalf of Center for Human Development and the communities we serve.
"I have been going to Empowerment youth group meetings for almost two years now. I was pretty hesitant on going to my first meeting because I didn't know any of the people there and because I was unsure of myself. Now I can confidently say that I have made the right choice. Empowerment offered me much needed support in starting and continuing my gender journey. Back when I was still questioning my gender, I was able to share my own experiences and hear others’ experiences as well. I have not met one mean or uninviting person during my time at Empowerment and everyone I have talked to have been so supportive and are always offering advice. Having a supportive group of people I could talk to who are like me, really helped me come out of my shell and realize that I am not alone in this world. I was able to gain the confidence I needed to take further steps towards becoming my true self. Empowerment has provided me with so many resources regarding mental health, gender identity, and how to get help. I've laughed and cried with Empowerment, and through Empowerment I feel that I have been able to grow as a person and really find myself. ~Jozeph, 18
"My experience with Empowerment has been really amazing because it is a safe place to be able to talk to people and just have a place to rant. They don’t judge you and make you feel comfortable to talk about anything. I have learned a lot in Empowerment, things that I never knew before and I’m glad that I am apart of it. ~ India, 17
"When I was in my sophomore year, I was approached with the QscOUTs (Empowerment) program in my school’s GSA club. The idea of learning more about the community I was still just walking into, and receiving support was extremely inviting. My group over the two years I was a more active member, were people I looked forward to seeing every week, even if we didn’t talk outside of the group; we all became friends in ways that just isn’t really possible without a program like this. It was an environment you could almost immediately feel comfortable with. Most new members would start sharing and joking with the rest of us within a few visits, which in my opinion conveys just how inviting the group can be. That kind of supportive vibe was what guided me and kept me going a majority of the time within those two years. I am also still in contact with most of the group members, even if we do not talk a lot, I am there for them as I trust they are for me too. This program is incredible in terms of the discussions you will have, the memories you can create with people who will be more than just supportive, and I highly recommend it for any LGBTQ+ youth who needs and/or wants that kind of experience. ~Rem, 18
Center for Human Development
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Address901 Sunvalley Blvd., Suite 220