UPDATE 01.06.15 – Q Center and New Avenues for Youth are partnering together to better serve LGBTQ youth. Drop in Hours are now Monday, Friday, Saturdays 4-9pm.
The relocation reinforces services for LGBTQ youth, many of whom identify as homeless. “40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, and 70% of the SMYRC youth identify as homeless; it’s important that we are meeting them where they are,” says Micheal Weakley, Youth & Young Adult Program Manager at Q Center. “This new site provides accessibility for youth, and the partnership with New Avenues for Youth only strengthens the outreach we’re able to provide.”
SMYRC’s new location is currently also home to New Avenues’ Artist Mentorship Program (AMP), which uses music and art to connect with homeless youth. Equipped with computers, a full service kitchen and office space, the downtown location offers greater access to public transportation and gives SMYRC’s youth the opportunity to connect to New Avenues’ array of services including counseling, job-training, as well as participate in AMP.
“There is considerable overlap in the populations SMYRC and New Avenues for Youth serve, and this partnership creates exciting new opportunities for our organizations and for youth,” says New Avenues for Youth’s Executive Director, Sean Suib. “By working together we’ll be able to leverage our resources, coordinate outreach efforts and better meet the needs of LGBTQ youth in our community.”
SMYRC – Sexual & Gender Minority Youth Resource Center Joyce N. Furman Building 1220 SW Columbia Street, Portland, Oregon 97201 Hours: Monday, Friday and Saturday 4pm – 9pm Group facilitation at this location begins January 19th, 2015
About Q Center: Q Center provides a safe space to support and celebrate LGBTQ diversity, equity, visibility and community building. SMYRC has and continues to be a program of Q Center.
About New Avenues for Youth: New Avenues for Youth takes a complete approach to addressing youth homelessness and its root causes, delivering support and resources that enable foster, at-risk, and homeless youth aged 14-24 to overcome their barriers and realize their potential. For more information about New Avenues for Youth, visit www.newavenues.org or call (503) 517-3909.
Since 1998 the Sexual & Gender Minority Youth Resource Center (SMYRC) has created safety and support for LGBTQQ youth in Oregon, through youth empowerment, community building, education and direct services.
SMYRC provides safe, supervised, harassment-free, and alcohol- and drug-free spaces for sexual minority youth 23 and younger. Youth gather to participate in positive activities like art, music, community organizing, youth development, education, peer support, support groups, case management, counseling, and job readiness preparation.
Sometimes I sit and wonder where I would be without SMYRC and the people I met there.
Tara, SMYRC youth
SMYRC provides the only drop-in resource center for sexual minority youth in Oregon. We also bring safe space and developmentally appropriate programming to other youth environments through our community education and outreach efforts. SMYRC programs align with key youth development benchmarks, like increasing academic success, reducing poverty and preventing juvenile crime. The support that youth find at SMYRC helps them stay in school, become leaders in their communities, and make responsible personal decisions.
Credible national research shows that sexual minority youth face high risk in many ways. Suicide is the leading cause of death among lesbian and gay adolescents. Without community support LGBTQQ youth are two times more likely to use alcohol, and three times more likely to use marijuana than their heterosexual peers; and they are eight times more likely to use crack/cocaine. Furthermore, LGBTQQ youth experience social and community isolation as a result of homophobia. On the other hand there is conclusive evidence that LGBTQQ youth are likely to thrive when participating in organized, adult supervised after school activities, meaning that they’re more likely to succeed in their education, and lead happy, healthy, contributing lives.
SMYRC makes a difference.
The SMYRC youth are the most amazing and inspirational people I have ever met. They have taught me everything from fighting racism to making collages in the 10 years I have been working with them. They design beautiful murals, they perform at our packed house open mic nights, they share their dreams and goals with me every week, they ride bikes, they make decisions about the policies of the center, they teach each other how to cook, they challenge each other to be stronger, bolder and more independent. They push themselves to be the best people they can be, and challenge me to many games of pool, air hockey and foosball. They read poetry, they make new friends, they build a fence and a pride float with only a few tools and a lot of great ideas. The SMYRC youth bring joy and meaning to the world we live in.”
-Zan Gibbs, former SMYRC Staff
SMYRC - Sexual & Gender Minority Youth Resource CenterAddress: 1220 SW Columbia, Portland, OR 97201
Use the Basement Level Entrance Sidedoor, Press Buzzer to access SMYRC.
Drop-in Hours: Monday, Friday, Saturday 4-9pm