Social worker and activist Erin Upchurch has established a retreat for trans*/gender non-conforming youth ages five to 17 after seeing a need for more in-depth work among the youngest members of this community. Upchurch, who has been facilitating a monthly support group for trans* youth for over three years, said, “With youth, there is such a unique opportunity to create a strong sense of self before the harmful ‘inner critic’ is able to take root. I have watched the littlest members of our community grow from feeling confused and ashamed to advocating for themselves to their families and within their schools. These kids are ready for more. They want and need a community of their peers.” The be empowered! retreat is designed to educate and empower trans*/gender non-conforming youth to discover and develop their best selves in order to grow into tomorrow’s LGBTQ community leaders. Organizers include TransOhio, Kaleidoscope Youth Center and the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus. Upchurch adds, “It sends a strong message of support to our youth when they see community leaders and organizations working together to offer resources and standing up for them.”
Participants will engage in age appropriate workshops about self-esteem, healthy relationships, personal narratives and community building during the September 26-27 overnight retreat. Organizers are committed to removing barriers, so there is no cost for the youth to attend. The retreat will conclude with a community meeting and presentation from the participants.
Register or learn more at: TransOhio.org
or email : firstname.lastname@example.org