Established in 1974, YouthCare’s mission is to build confidence and self-sufficiency for homeless youth by providing a continuum of care that includes outreach, basic services, emergency shelter, housing, counseling, education, and employment training. During the 1990s, YouthCare made a commitment to provide LGBTQ-specific programming. LGBTQ youth experience homelessness at disproportionate rates: up to 40% of homeless youth self-identify as LGBTQ and many of are kicked out of their homes for being who they are.
YouthCare has a 12 queer and gender-neutral housing programs where LGBTQ youth can stay for up to 18 months. YouthCare staff are trained and supported to understand, advocate, and teach about the inequities for youth. YouthCare’s Orion Center is one of only five programs in the nation that provides transitional housing and education (including life skills) with the goal of helping homeless youth find their way back to school and into jobs, plus providing 24-hour drop-in services including access to food, showers, laundry, and social services. Executive Director Melinda Giovengo is published on issues surrounding homeless youth and speaks locally and nationally on youth homelessness. She is highly regarded for her expertise and her passion.
GSBA recognized nine amazing businesses and individuals that support the LGBTQ community at the 38th Annual GSBA Business and Humanitarian Awards. In addition to YouthCare, GSBA honored ZippyDogs, 701 Coffee, Aidan Key of Gender Diversity, David Breland of Seattle Children’s Hospital and board president of Seattle Counseling Service, YouthCare, Dow Constantine, King County Executive, Ann Paris of Paris Insurance Services, John Zmolek of Verity, and Sara Elward.
GSBA President and CEO Louise Chernin spoke of building bridges: “These businesses are the embodiment of one of our most precious bank core values, celebrating diversity and supporting equality for all.”