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Youth First

February 2016

Approximately 15,000 LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning) youth live in North Texas, yet there are minimal resources available for meeting their unique needs. Youth First is one of the only LGBTQ-focused youth programs in North Texas that addresses the challenges these youth face with family members, peers and fellow students.

Serving middle and high school aged youth, 12-18, Youth First equips them with the skills they need to lead an open life. Family ties are strengthened, peer support networks are built and mental health is supported through activities that build confidence and address the specific issues that LGBTQ teens face during their critical, formative years.

Educational Programs Engage and Inform

  • Resiliency from bullying and harassment
  • Advocacy and Volunteerism
  • HIV and STD prevention 
  • Sexual health education
  • Coming Out
  • Tutoring and job readiness
  • Discussion/support group for youth 
  • Discussion/support group for parents
  • GED program
  • Lifeskills and mentorship

Recreational Activities Promote Community Confidence

  • Art, Theater and Writing clubs
  • Friday Family Dinners
  • Summer camps
  • Summer Art show

Counseling Services Strengthen Coping Skills

  • LGBT focused mental health for youth in partnership with Southern Methodist University. Counseling is available for teens in either individual, group or family settings.

Support Youth First by purchasing a copy of "Rainbow Review"

Throughout the year, LGBTQ youth participating in programming at Youth First worked with skilled artists, writers, book editors, and teachers to create the works of art and writing collected within this anthology. This collection represents their unique perspective as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning youth. For many, these creative outlets not only serve as forms of personal expression, but as therapy. Several youth featured plan to continue on to be artists, writers, and teachers of the arts in order to inspire the next generation to never stop imagining a brighter future. Your purchase of this book will support the continuation of quality programming for the LGBTQ youth at Youth First in the coming year.

Click here to purchase your copy. 


Check out our programs:

Art Club


This program provides materials, instruction and support for youth seeking a creative outlet. An annual summer art camp and art show (in the summer) allow youth to share their art with the community. First and third Wednesdays, 6-7:30 p.m.

Change Makers


Come learn how to effectively make changes within your school and community. We will teach how to advocate effectively for LGBTQ issues and beyond, as well as offer hands-on volunteer support to local non-profit agencies. First Monday, 6-7:30 p.m.

Friday Family Dinner


Each week, a corporate, community, faith-based group or family provides a family-style meal for our youth and their guests. Activities follow after dinner. Dinner is served every Friday at 7 p.m. If you are interested in sponsoring Friday Family Dinner, click here to contact us. 

GED Preparation


This program is designed for youth who want to complete their GED. Join your peers for a weekly guided study through one of the best known GED preparation books. Register for individual training.

Gender Identity Night


Originally developed as a support group for transgender and non-binary youth, this program has expanded to include all youth affected by gender stereotypes and a largely heteronormative society. This is one of Youth First’s most popular programs, and is led by transgender facilitators. Every Tuesday, 6-7:30 p.m.

Health & Nutrition


Learn about healthy living and cooking, as we cover a broad range of topics. Second and fourth Mondays, 6-7:30 p.m.

HIV Testing


In conjunction with Sexual Health Empowerment, staff from our agency’s Nelson-Tebedo Clinic provide HIV testing and prevention information for young participants. First Thursday, 6 p.m.

Homework Help


During the school year, many students find themselves needing extra help editing a paper, studying for exams, or completing assignments. Our homework help program provides youth with assistance and resources to succeed in school. The computer lab is equipped with Wi-Fi, Microsoft Office, Photoshop, and printing capabilities. Register for individual support.

Movie Night


We’ll get the popcorn ready! Join us for Movie Night, where most of the selections are
LGBTQ themed, books turned into movies, campy sci-fi or vintage horror! Youth suggestions are always
welcome! First and third Fridays, following dinner, 7:30-9 p.m.

GAYme Night


Who says you can’t play games? We’re all about games! We’re talking “old school” board games! No internet connection required. Second and fourth Fridays, following dinner, 7:30-9 p.m.

Parent Support Group


Are you a parent or guardian of an LGBTQ youth seeking the support of fellow parents? Do you want resources and information that will enable you to be a more supportive parent? Join us the First and third Fridays, 7-8:30 p.m.

Rainbow Review


Each summer, we combine poetry, short stories, photography, and art that has been submitted throughout the year to create an annual publication that is perfect for sharing with family and friends! Submit your short stories and poetry to receive feedback and editing suggestions from a professional author during Writing Club on the second and fourth Thursdays at 6 p.m., and join us for Art Club on the first and third Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Sexual Health Empowerment


In partnership with The Turning Point, we will facilitate discussions about sex, consent and defining healthy boundaries. Few schools provide sex education and fewer cover LGBTQ-specific content. In order to reduce high-risk behavior among youth, education is critical. First and third Thursdays, 6-7:30 p.m. Once a quarter, we’ll host a class for families.

Theater Club


Learn the basics of on stage theatre work and perform all kinds of FUN acting games! Including: Improv, Pantomime, learning how to develop different kinds of characters and different ages, and how to overcome fear of speaking in front of a group. Second and fourth Wednesdays, 6-7:30 p.m.

Writing Club


Writing can be a powerful form of self-expression and means of having a voice in the world. Each Tuesday youth will have the opportunity to discuss your fiction, nonfiction, or poetry with professional authors and editors who will encourage you in your writing and help you hone your skills to create the best work possible. Second and fourth Thursdays, 6-7:30 p.m.

 

Get involved with Youth First

  • Click here for a list of food items that would help Youth First.
  • Click here for an overview of our programs.
  • Click here for a list of other ways to help Youth First.
  • Click here to view our calendar of events.
  • Click here for additional information about counseling services.