The Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) provides a community for middle and high-schoolers who somehow connect with the gay community in one way or another (gay dad, lesbian mom, they themselves are gay or bi-sexual, etc.); to educate on the LBGT history/background; and last but not least, to create service projects; field trips (PRIDE parade, donation drives in the area (homeless youth), etc.)
This group meets in the Metropolitan Market Room at the Sammamish YMCA each second Tuesday of every month. The next meetings will take place on July 10th and August 14th from 2-3pm. These meetings will be run by Allora Tvedt, the Sammamish Y’s mental health counselor, will partner with Plateaupians for Peace to facilitate and provide structure; local high school students will help to lead the conversation. These meetings are open to everyone, but focused on tweens and teens.
Sammamish resident and YMCA member Sarah Kimsey co-founded a recognized non-profit group called Plateaupians For Peace in late 2016, just after the presidential election, “to ensure our neighbors were feeling safe and valued,” she says. “Plateaupians For Peace was devised to be a social justice group aimed at furthering a sense of community and understanding between neighbors. In the past year we’ve raised money for refugees, started a monthly global story time for families at the local library, hosted a Charlottesville Vigil, arranged adult lectures and started this Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) group for middle and high-school students.
“We were approached by the PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays) group, who educated us of the dearth of services for lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals and transgender (LGBT) youth on the plateau,” Kimsey explains. “They told us that while many of the high schools do have GSA’s or LGBT clubs, the middle schools do not. We wanted to start a group open to ALL kids regardless of where they go to school. Perhaps they don’t gel with the group at their school, or they are in middle school where there are no services. We hope the older kids may mentor the younger kids, and that any kid needing extra help and support will find it with this group.
“We are so excited about Allora partnering with her wealth of expertise with LGBT issues and she can help us look out for kids with anxiety, depression or any other problem they may be experiencing,” Kimsey adds. “The adults who have partnered to volunteer with this group are equally passionate and want to set a positive and supportive tone for the group, while also allowing for the kids to take the lead and decide ultimately how to run the group.”