Introducing Phoenix Youth: A new Hatch program for youth of color!
For years, the HATCH Youth program has provided resources for LGBT youth, lead community outreach programs and served as an affirming gathering space for some of Houston’s most vulnerable youth.
Youth advocates and program leaders with HATCH and its parent organization, the Montrose Center, recognized that LGBT youth of color face special challenges as members of more than one minority group in a society which often presents heterosexuality as the only acceptable orientation. LGBT youth of color also experience lower educational attainment and higher rates of homelessness than their peers. Unwelcoming school climates, employment discrimination, and negative family and cultural expectations perpetuate these negative outcomes.
In the LGBT youth of color community, 81.9% were verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation, 63.9% because of their gender expression, 38.3% were physically harassed because of their sexual orientation, and 27.1% were physically harassed because of their gender expression. Youth who are harassed based on actual or perceived sexual orientation report higher levels of risk on a wide array of academic, health, and safety measures. Also, these same youth are likely to feel weaker connections to school, adults, and their larger community. As a result of these weakened connection, nearly one third of LGBT youth, a considerable amount of whom are youth of color, drop out of high school, which is three times the national average. According to the Point Foundation, the National LGBT Scholarship Fund, 85% of students hear “gay” used in a negative way at school.
Not only are LGBT youth of color dealing with harassment, but as a result they are battling suicide and depression, rejection, homelessness, and substance abuse. It is apparent in more ways than one that LGBT youth and students of color need and deserve a safe haven.
Hence, the Phoenix Youth program was born. Phoenix Youth is a program that serves to provide a safe space for LGBT youth of color ages 13-20 to share their experiences with racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia in a supportive environment. Everyone deserves to feel like they belong and the Phoenix Youth program provides LGBT youth of color in Houston the opportunity to be accepted, respected and welcomed.
We welcome you to join us at our kick-off party for the program, scheduled for May 21st at 6pm at the Montrose Center. The program is set to begin on June 3rd, with bi-monthly meetings throughout the year. For more information, please visit Hatch’s website www.hatchyouth.org.
Point Foundation Scholarships - Apply by Jan. 19, 2016!
Point Foundation is the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students of merit. Point promotes change through scholarship funding, mentorship, leadership development, and community service training. Since 2001, Point Foundation has awarded 326 scholarships to LGBTQ students at colleges and universities across the country.
The scholarship application for 2016-17 is open from November 1, 2015 to January 19, 2016 on the Point Foundation website. Please visit the Application page to learn more about Point’s application process.
1. Must be enrolled or intending to enroll at an accredited college or university based in the United States in the fall of 2016.
2. Must be enrolled full-time for the full academic year.
3. Must be enrolled in a degree-granting undergraduate or graduate/doctoral program.
4. Must be at least a senior in high school.
5. Must be “out” as a person who identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community.
Introducing Anna Maria Garza, Hatch Youth Services Associate
by Ty David
Lerman, MA, LPC-S, CHt, The Montrose Center
If you’ve been paying attention to Hatch
you’ve probably noticed some changes. We are silly-excited (no
really, some of
us may have actually done a happy dance) to have Deb Murphy
back! While Deb was away, the Hatch Youth Services Associate was
doing a yeoman's share of the work, but then her family
relocated to Corpus Christi, leaving a great big gap!
The interview process was extensive
because we’re really choosy about all volunteers and staff
involved with the Hatchlings. With this new position opening up,
the youth were allowed to come up with
their own interview questions, and some were part of the actual
interviews. When we say that Hatch gives a voice to young
people, we have to listen! They were vital in helping screen
candidates! Both the youth and the agency were in
agreement with one candidate who stood out. She’s a rockstar!
part of the community for years, AND she’s even a former
Hatchling! Who is this
girl…? drum roll
She's Anna Maria Garza!!!
Anna’s family moved to the suburbs of
Houston when she was
in middle school. She describes herself as always being a little
bit of a rebel in the
non-destructive/non-conforming kind of way. Either from her
“weirdness,”, or some other factor, she didn't have a lot of
like many teens, not many “out” peers in middle and high school.
In high school art class, she wondered if one of her classmates
was like her. She secretly came out to him by showing him the
pink triangle she had on her
binder. When he recognized the symbold, the two hit it off like
Justin Bieber and saggy pants! The dynamic duo eventually caught
wind of an LGBT
youth group that met once a week (at that time) and found a way
When Anna talks about her first
experience with Hatch, she lights up like the “big kid” she
describe herself as. She said Hatch was her salvation.
“To see people like you
made everything less weird”, she shared. Her time in the
group provided tools to be more confident as Anna. The
friendships she made at Hatch have been life-long. She recounted
recently attending an out-of-state wedding. “It
was like a mini Hatch reunion,” she joked. Her experience and
Hatch helped pave the way for her future work as an adult.
Anna also is an accomplished musician,
playing drums, guitar, bass
guitar, and doing vocals. She was part of a short-lived,
all-girl band that helped light
the passion for helping other young women find their voices –
figuratively! In 2010 she launched the Houston chapter of Girls
Rock Camp, a
non-profit that empowers young women through music. Many of the
goals of Girls Rock fall right
in line with Hatch's mission.
Her activist fire continues to burn
brightly, taking on the
fight for reproductive rights, women’s rights, racism and
classism. Adding LGBT
youth to her list was a no-brainer for Anna when the
Youth Services Associate
position opened up. For her it was coming full circle. Anna is
excited to give back to the program that was such an
influence for her own life.
The Montrose Center is lucky to have scored
such a fireball of
enthusiasm and positivity! Not to mention, we now have our very
own Rock Girl!
DigiHatch: Comcast Supports Digital Literacy for LGBTQ Youth
Comcast in partnership with CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers are reaching out to LGBTQ youth across the nation with grants to promote digital literacy. Hatch Youth's DigiHatch project was one such winner.
The project will engage youth by combining digital literacy instruction with LGBT history and heritage, as well as creative expression through a series of classes to held here at the Center. Over the course, each youth will learn to create a blog or website of their own, giving voice to their own opinions and perspective by incorporating original prose, poetry, art, graphic design or content of their choosing. Select volunteers and staff will lead the course.
The Comcast grant provides Hatch Youth with the necessary tools, equipment and connectivity. The equipment (computers, tablets and visual equipment) will remain with Hatch and allow us to continue digital literacy and creative programming in the years to come.
Though previous generations have gotten by with limited technological proficiency, it is an expectation for all youth who are entering or preparing to enter the job market. Not every person born in the "digital age" has regular access to the Internet at home, or uses it. A majority of regular Hatch Youth participants are from low-income households in which connectivity may be intermittent and devices to access it scarce, shared among the entire household, and/or low-performing. Others may overuse computers or spend an inordinate amount of time on one specific type of technology (i.e., gaming or social media), which can impact educational performance and create "blind spots" regarding other common technologies. Research suggests that variety and moderation of technologies is important to becoming digitally-literate.
DigiHatch Spring 2015 session starts January 25. To register, contact us by email.