The Creating a Supportive Rossland project came out of the awareness that Rossland does not have supports for young people who identify as LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning, etc.). Our action was to create an accepting atmosphere for youth and others who identify as LGBTQ+. We created a campaign showing that Rossland is an accepting and supportive community for all citizens. With Columbia Basin Trust Youth Action Grant money we purchased button makers and had a day where community member came to the YAN Space and created buttons supporting the LGBT community. Over 35 people from young children to grandparents came out and made buttons in support of this project.
The Creating a Supportive Rossland Project became much larger in scope than first anticipated. A group of youth took on creating a LGBT public service announcement video. They interviewed prominent community members including the Mayor, a city councillor, local business people, youth workers and adult members of the LGBT community who vocalized their support of youth who may be struggling with their gender identity or sexual orientation.
“Rossland has really stepped up in the past 3 years and we are so excited to be continuing the YAN Creating a Supportive Rossland Group. The teens really love and feel supported by this group and it is really lead by them. There are many things the CSR group will be doing in 2017 like painting the rainbow crosswalk on Washington, making a float for the Nelson Kootenay pride parade, have secret karaoke and activism meetings, and just general talking and fun. This group meets about 1x a month usually on a Tuesday or Sunday. hugs.
This video was debuted at this year’s U19 Film Festival and to date has been viewed nearly 1000 times on youtube. Watch the video:
We also identified that youth need people in our community they can talk to about whatever is going on for them. To this end, we used some of the grant funds to provide a Comfort, Attitudes and Values Evaluation workshop facilitated by Options for Sexual Health, for adults in the community to connect with youth. This was in partnership with the Basin REACH program and School District 20 Kootenay – Columbia. Twenty people attended including teachers, school administrators, counselors, public health nurses, youth workers and parents. This was an amazing training and participants stated that they felt better prepared to discuss sexuality with young people.
This project is continuing and we are looking at more ways our community can show their support!