New activity center near downtown would support LGBTQ youth in need

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Renovations are underway for a brand new youth activity center near downtown and it’s designed specifically for LGBTQ kids and teens in need.

The Indiana Youth Group announced the purchase of the new building thanks to donors during the organization’s “Power of Safe” campaign. The $2.6 million goal was raised in six months during a silent phase of the capital campaign. The Indiana Youth Group still needs about $800,000 to complete building renovations.

The building was once an office space, but it will be transformed into classrooms, an art space, kitchen, bathrooms, and a safe haven for Hoosier LGBTQ teens.

“Indiana Youth Group last year served almost 800 youth, almost 6,000 visits,” said Honorary Co-Chair for the Capitol Campaign for Indiana Youth Group, Chris Paulsen.

With more and more Hoosier teens and kids needing the services of the Indiana Youth Group, Paulsen said they knew they needed a larger space.

The new activity center couldn’t come at a better time, as statistics are released showing Indiana LGBTQ kids and teens in grades K-12 don’t feel safe in their schools. The 2015 National School Climate Survey from GLSEN shows 77% of LGBTQ students in Indiana reported being verbally harassed.

Indiana is also reported to have the highest rate in the nation for kids and teens who consider suicide.

“It’s disappointing and frustrating, and that’s why Indiana Youth Group is here so those kids do feel safe so they have a place to come where they’re accepted, where they can thrive,” Paulsen said.

For more on The Indiana Youth Group’s campaign to open the new activity center, click here.

Click here for more on GLSEN’s report and services.