SMYAL (Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League) is an organization whose goal is to empower and provide support for LGBTQ youth in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. They engage LGBTQ youth to help them find themselves, build their own self-confidence, develop life skills, and promote community engagement and advocacy. The organization first started in 1984 and since then has been committed to creating a support network for LGBTQ youth. They host support groups, have created a telephone hotline, conduct training programs, sponsor educational outreach programs, and built the first youth center for the sexual minority youth.
Since 1998 they have celebrated all their hard work with the now annual fall brunch fundraiser this year being celebrated on Nov. 3 at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, D.C. It’s a day of celebration for the achievements that SMYAL has accomplished throughout the years. The event consists of a silent auction, a keynote speaker, and a scrumptious meal bringing together SYMAL’s employees, friends, families, and supporters. The work that SMYAL has done is critical to creating a space that allows LGBTQ youth to feel safe, free from judgment, and unnecessary discrimination.
“This event is the largest source of unrestricted revenue for SMYAL and allows us to continue our after school center and other programs,” says Andrew Barnett, SMYAL’s Executive Director. “So many LGBTQ youth continue to face harassment, bullying, and rejection at home and in the community. We are able to provide support to LGBTQ youth and work with youth leaders to change their community.“
The 16th Annual Fall Brunch is way to allow SMYAL to continue this mission. This year, one guest of honor is Ally Sheedy, who is the community advocate award honoree for her work with LGBT homeless youth and is best known as part of the Brat Pack starring in The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire. The SMYAL Fall Brunch is also happy to welcome back Wendy Rieger as the emcee who currently anchors at News4.
Over 500 members of the LGBT and ally community will be in attendance this year. There are over 20 corporate sponsors with some of the big names including Human Rights Campaign Foundation, Google, Kaiser Permanente, Wells Fargo, and Verizon Wireless.
Unfortunately, tickets for this amazing event are already sold out, but it’s never too late to make a donation on their website (SMYAL.org) to help support their dedication to LGBTQ youth.