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Boston Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services

Boston Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services.

OVERVIEW

GLASS comprehensively responds to the needs of gay and lesbian 13-to 25-year-olds. Available is a complete range of health and social services: peer support, job counseling and placement, computer access, tutoring for school work and test preparation, writing and art workshops, mental and physical health care, substance abuse services, and ongoing mentoring by licensed mental health professionals.

PROGRAM GOALS

The goal for GLASS is to encourage each young person to be in healthy relationships—with one’s family, friends and associates, and self. The program does not rigidly or uniformly impose any expectations for those it serves. For one person GLASS might help a person "come out" to his- or herself only. For another it might help an individual "come out" to friends and family. For some, GLASS may provide counseling or advocacy at school or in other social situations. For others, GLASS may serve as a community center—a "safe place"—each day after school or work for recreation and informal counseling.

PROGRAM METHODS

The hub of activity occurs at the community center. It is open every weekday for individual counseling in the early afternoon and for informal mentoring, tutoring, and a wide range of social and recreational activities from mid-afternoon until early evening. Each day, 40 to 60 people come to talk, hang out, play video games, do homework, or attempt to work through many of the problems that these young people face. GLASS participants are served by the four paid staff, college student interns, and volunteers. About 40% of those served are non-white; individual support groups by gender and race are created as needed.

Staff does community outreach through presentations to churches and other organizations. They are actively involved in schools, for individual advocacy, and in assuring a harassment-free environment for all gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual students.

PROGRAM OPERATION

Boston GLASS is a program of JRI Health, a Division of the Justice Resource Institute, Inc. Funding comes through JRI Health from private and public sources, including the federal government, private foundations, and individuals. The yearly budget is $300,000. Health services are provided by JRI Health. The physical space occupies 1600 square feet with meeting rooms, a dark room, a computer lab, art room, conference room, and a kitchen as well as a central community area containing stereo equipment, cable TV, VCR, games, recreational items, and a library.

Susan Gavitt Ginsky cCYS