PHOENIX — For the first time, Phoenix will have a functional LGBTQ youth facility that will include an alternative high school geared specifically towards lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender students.
The facility is the first of its kind in Arizona and one of only a handful in the entire country.
Q High is part of an expansion by the “one n ten” LGBTQ youth community center, which currently serves 60 to 80 LGBTQ youth per day, one third of which are high school dropouts and half of whom are homeless.
The center will offer an accredited high school curriculum to enable LGBTQ youth who have dropped out of school the opportunity to earn a high school diploma.
Most of LGBTQ youth who have dropped out of school have done so because of bullying, and the availability of a safe and welcoming school is critical to their willingness to re-enroll in school, according to the school’s research.
Q High hopes to change that.
“For me personally, it’s about creating a safe space for our youth to feel welcome,” said Q High Program Coordinator Kado Stewart. “We’re offering an alternative to students who do not feel safe at (traditional) schools.”
During the day Q High operates as an Arizona Virtual Academy school meaning students take science, math, english and other classes online.
But the school’s building also houses a youth center that provides resources specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students such as a class on coming out.Via: KNXV-TV →
The new, expanded facility opens Thursday with an official ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton and openly gay city councilman Tom Simplot.
“First and foremost, we have to put an end to bullying in our schools so our kids can feel safe as students, study hard to succeed in life and be productive in our community,” said Stanton, in a statement.
“That’s going to take a lot of hard work, but I am dedicated, and I know we can make it happen. Until then, we also need to protect kids who are bullied. ‘one n ten’ continues to do that with their programs, youth center and school because our kids deserve to live their lives no matter who they are. Diversity is our strength in Phoenix.”
Other programs offered by “one n ten” include a suicide prevention program; a summer camp program that accommodated over 150 LGBTQ youth last year; arts, culture and music programs and field trips; softball, volleyball and dance.
The facility also serves offers counseling services, and meals and shower facilities for homeless youth.