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June 17, 2014
An Interview with the StudSlayer
June 18, 2014

SMYAL All Summer Long

SMYAL DC at Pride Parade
There are very few organizations in our community that are as dedicated to D.C.’s LGBTQ youth as Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders (SMYAL). From building self-confidence to developing critical life skills in young people, SMYAL youth are trained and mentored to be leaders in their community through service and advocacy. For 30 years, SMYAL has been a beacon of hope for LGBTQ youth in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, reaching more than 11,000 youth and providing critical training to more than 6,000 youth workers. The impact of SMYAL can not be understated.

But much of this work can not be accomplished without the generous contributions of community members and allies. In an effort to connect young professionals with the mission and purpose of SMYAL, the Young Donors Committee helps to coordinate events and fundraisers where young professionals can learn more about SMYAL. By planning and coordinating these engaging social networking events, the Young Donors Committee creates a meaningful opportunity for young professionals to become involved in SMYAL’s mission and fund its crucial programming for youth.

“I have always really respected the work SMYAL does in the community and with youth, so I was eager to find an opportunity to get involved with the organization,” says Julia Saladino, member of Young Donors Committee. Saladino joined the committee after a friend connected her with SMYAL board member and Young Donor Committee founder Billy Fettweis.  “I want to help ensure that more queer women are aware of SMYAL’s great work in D.C.”

SMYAL staff and volunteers host weekly events for youth as well as week long camps like the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Activist Camp and the Women’s Leadership Institute. The Women’s Leadership Institute is a leadership development program for young lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and allied (LBTQA) women ages 13-21 which focuses on women’s issues and community service. Established in 2010, this institute is the only curriculum-based youth development model employed in the D.C. metro area and is specifically geared towards LBTQ young women.

“The goal of the Young Donors Committee is to help generate funds for important programs like these,” says Saladino. “The additional funds raised by Young Donors Committee events help make these and other programs at SMYAL possible.”

Members of the Young Donors Committee are currently gearing up for the SMYAL for Summer event, one of two annual events aimed at connecting and engaging young professionals in the area.

SMYAL for Summer will take place on Thursday, June 19 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Josephine Butler Parks Center, located at 2437 15th Street NW, overlooking Meridian Hill Park. For more information on SMYAL for Summer or to purchase your tickets, click here.

Community members can also become involved in SMYAL by becoming a SMYAL ally. SMYAL allies commit to a $10 or $25 monthly donation to support SMYAL. In return, SMYAL allies receive invitations to two annual donor receptions, as well information on members-only volunteer opportunities with SMYAL, opportunities to network with like-minded young professionals, and recognition on SMYAL’s website, and Young Donor Committee promotional materials. A SMYAL ally who contributes at $25 a month also receives a complimentary ticket to SMYAL’s annual fall brunch.