Community networks exist to create change.
In November of 2001, local professionals serving youth came together to talk about the unmet needs of LGBTQ+ youth and their families. Our concerns ranged from the higher risks faced by gender expansive youth to the vast inadequacies of the system. We questioned how to create the kind of change needed to effectively serve all of the youth in our communities, and we created a network to inspire and make that change.
Today, community networks have taken hold in three counties in Illinois, offering professional development, shared resources, networking opportunities, and community education on issues pertaining to LGBTQ+ youth. Mental health providers, school personnel, parents, and any professionals working with LGBTQ+ youth will find a wealth of resources in their community network.
We provide a safe and respectful environment for professionals, service providers and community members to network, gain access, share resources, provide expertise and educate ourselves and the community on the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender expansive, queer or questioning youth and their families.
We provide yearly trainings in the fall for mental health providers and in the spring for school personnel. Other education opportunities are available as needed and can be customized for a school or organization.
We appreciate that we are all at different points in our experience, understand and acceptance of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and needs of LGBTQ+ youth and their families. We believe that the key to providing safe and affirming services to youth is through the education of ourselves and others.
We share trust, ideas, compassion, enthusiasm, accountability, and recognition. We strive to maintain diversity, unity, confidence and a sense of humor.