At the beginning of June, UW’s Out in Business club volunteered to do yardwork at Isis. Together, they made room for new growth and the celebration of our queer youth!
June is Pride Month – a time to celebrate and commemorate LGBTQIA+ pride and those who have fought for their rights since the Stonewall riots in 1969. It is also a time to reflect on and advocate for the continued rights and representation of all who identify as LGBTQIA+. In Seattle and across the country, queer youth continue to be marginalized and discriminated against, even by their own families. The statistics say it all – 30-40% of homeless youth across the nation are queer.
Considering this fact, YouthCare is grateful to have so many supportive allies in the community. Out in Business (OiB), a group created by UW’s MBA program, has been a regular volunteer at Isis House. Isis is a ten-bed residential home for LGBTQIA+ young people and allies ages 18-21. Isis opened in 1998 as the first housing program in Washington State to focus on the unique needs of LGBTQ+ youth.
OiB aims to advocate for inclusivity in business and society and cultivates a welcoming community for those who identify as LGBTQIA+ and their allies. To kick off Pride Month, volunteers from OiB arrived at Isis for an afternoon of gardening and enriching the front and back yards of the house.
OiB’s co-president, Abby, has a special connection to Isis and YouthCare as a whole. In 2017, she served as an interim Program Supervisor at Isis, and then worked for two years at YouthCare’s Casa de los Amigos house. She knows firsthand the importance of showing up and serving our youth in need – especially those who have been discriminated against. “I think [volunteering] is a great way for our club to be thinking broader about what’s happening in our community and how we can be connected,” Abby says. “The existence of this program is powerful, and I wish it existed more. It feels like a home rather than a transitional space.” She describes Isis and the broader city of Seattle as a refuge for queer youth – somewhere they can find comfort, hope, and belonging.
To continue to make the house feel like a home, OiB delivered mulch, weeded the garden beds, cleaned up leaves, and overall made the outdoor spaces a beautiful part of this safe haven.
OiB wants to come back every year to make a tangible difference and maintain a consistent connection to the house. YouthCare is so thankful for their generosity and hard work! We are feeling the warmth from our wonderful community this Pride Month!
For more information on volunteering at YouthCare, contact Antonio Rodriguez at email@example.com.