The Inside Scoop
January 2019
Thank you for reading Youth Pride, Inc.'s February edition of The Inside Scoop! This edition announces the Save the Date for our annual GSA Conference, discusses our recent trip to The Mystic Aquarium, and shows the creative ways our youth celebrated Valentine's Day!
Happy Valentine's G ay
Love is in the air...or is that just the smell of freshly baked cookies and newly cut construction paper? Our youth got crafty celebrating Valentine's Day this year. A week in advance, the 13 and under group exchanged giant hand-made cards with the 14 and older group. The love went both ways, and we're keeping the two cards on display.
Staff hosted a self-care and wellness day for youth on the 14th. Cookies and other Valentine's Day sweets were available for drop-in participants. A nail bar sporting several new nail polish sets and accessories were laid out beside a homemade peppermint oil infused hand scrub that youth could utilize in the space or take home later for extra soft and moisturised skin!
YPI Awards Mt. Hope the Collaboration Cup
The Collaboration Cup is an award granted to the GSA club that is most effective in their activist work surrounding LGBTQ issues within their school or community. The recipient is chosen at the end of each academic school year during Pride Month. Nominations can be submitted to YPI throughout the year; either for a GSA you're a part of or an external GSA that you've noticed has significantly contributed to the community.
Mt. Hope High School in Bristol was selected as the 2018 award recipient. YPI was very impressed with the work their young leaders produced, particularly their Day of Silence videos. The trophy was presented to the students earlier this month by Executive Director, Elana Rosenberg. The school newspaper was present during the awarding of the trophy and plans on highlighting it internally.
Save the Date: YPI's 14th Annual GSA Conference!
gsa logo
Each spring YPI hosts the only statewide Gay-Straight/Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Conference in RI. The conference is open to all GSA advisors and student and is a great opportunity for these groups to come together, network, and learn from one another on how to be thriving, fully functional clubs sustainable from one academic year to the next.

The conference is planned for Saturday, April 13th. Times, locations, and other information will be released as the date gets closer. If you would like to register for the conference, or get more information, please email
YPI Takes On Mystic Aquarium!
As part of the ongoing relationship between the Sierra Club and YPI, another trip has been launched! Aiming to connect underserved and marginalized youth with nature, the club's subchapter I nspiring Connections Outdoors, headed by Outings Chair Kyle McCurdy, has taken our youth on various outings since August 2018 and plans to continue the partnership indefinitely.

This month the club took our youth on a trip to The Mystic Aquarium in Stonington, CT.   Our group got to experience the interactive water tables and touch pools that allow guests to get up close and personal with stingrays, jellyfish, and even some sp ecies of shark! Youth were given anchovies to feed some of the inhabitants.

We were also treated to Shark: A 4-D Experience; a ~20 minute long film that explores the complex nature of the sharks' survival instincts all within Mystic's 4D theatre that features 3D and special effects to fully immerse the audience in the film. Our group thought the 4-D experience was great; the seats physically rumbled when sharks within the move passed by, and a cool mist was emitted from the back of the headrests to mimic the cool ocean breeze. The day was a success, leaving youth wanting more and looking forward to the next outing!
Monthly Spotlight
New Urban Arts
Not only is New Urban Arts (NUA) our physical neighbor, they're also our community partner that consistently supports us, our youth, and our mission. During NUA's Mid-Year Making, the annual winter gallery show for student artwork and artworks-in-progress, they requested guests bring a canned good to benefit YPI's pantry. Thanks to them our pantry is restocked! Over 60 students presented artwork and performed their music at the Mid-Year Making. Art forms included painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video, screen printing, fashion, and digital media.
New Urban Arts (NUA) provides a variety of free afterschool and summer arts programs to public high school students in Providence. Their core program, Youth Mentorship in the Arts , is an open studio afterschool program where students learn artistic skills while building mentoring relationships with local artists. NUA also provides postsecondary support through 'A Life After School Program', credit-bearing courses through the Advanced Coursework Network, and intensive summer workshops. One of those summer workshops, the Untitlement Project , gives students the opportunity to explore, through art, all of the varied dimensions of identity, including gender identity, sexuality, and gender expression, as well as healthy relationships.
Many New Urban Arts students are also enrolled at YPI. In fact, 35% of New Urban Arts students identify as LGBTQ. NUA's Executive Director Danial Schleifer states, "We really feel that YPI, New Urban Arts, and all of the other youth-serving organizations on our block have a symbiotic relationship, and YPI is particularly important because [they] feed so many young people through [their] pantry. The can drive was the idea of one of our cross-enrolled students." For the last several weeks NUA had recommended YPI's food pantry to more and more of its youth. This influx was due to the negative impacts of the government shutdown; many youth's parents were affected by missed paychecks, youth's SNAP benefits were at stake, and overall access to nutritious food was threatened. The government shutdown was in part a catalyst to the can drive and we're thankful for the overwhelming amount of donations as they were enough to restock our pantry throughout the remaining shutdown.

If you would like to support NUA and it's students consider attending one of their upcoming events. New Urban Arts' 22nd Annual Birthday Bash is being celebrated on Friday, April 12, 7-10pm for those 21 years and older. Tickets can be purchased here . NUA's Year-End Art Party, free and open to all ages, will be held on Friday, May 17, 5-7pm in their space.

Fun Fact: YPI's current home is New Urban Arts' former location. In 2011, NUA moved half a block to their new home at 705 Westminster, and YPI moved into 743 Westminster.

Photo Credit : Owen Muir
Top : NUA Studio Advocate Shelly Hudson, Resident Artist Mentor Dana Heng, Program Director Emily Ustach, and Volunteer Artist Mentor Jo Donofrio watch student performances.
Middle :Artwork by student Juliette Lange
Bottom: New Urban Arts from outside during the art opening. 
Proposed RI Bill Makes it Easier to Officiate Same-Sex Marriages
In the state of Rhode Island unordained individuals can officiate weddings if approved as a Temporary Officiant by the General Assembly. This is an appealing option to those who wish to have a friend or parent officiate their special day. The option is less appealing once the possible drawbacks are outlined. The General Assembly is only in session six months of the year. This means that all requests must be made strategically or else the window of opportunity to apply will be missed. This is exactly what influenced Representative Katherine S. Kazarian (Democrat, Dist. 63, East Providence) to introduce legislation 2019-H 5238 .

Kazarian recalls a recent unfortunate interaction, "Last year, I was contacted by a constituent in July about their nuptials scheduled for September. Unfortunately, the General Assembly had already concluded its session for the year and there was no other alternative possible, so sadly, my constituent was unable to have the person that they wanted to marry them conduct the ceremony...It broke my heart when I had to tell my constituent there was nothing I could do to ensure their perfect wedding with the officiant of their choice”. One piece of H 5238 would allow the governor at any time to approve or deny any individual wishing to solemnize a marriage, rather than needing the full General Assembly's vote. Not only would this save time and provide couples with greater options to select their officiant, but it would also lessen the chance of officiants applying to solemnize same sex marriages from being denied.

Another problem with the current system is the need for full General Assembly approval. Currently, pending bills to solemnize same sex marriages are passed separately from other solemnization of marriage bills in both the House and the Senate. This leads to more conservative denial or abstaining votes, which happens more than we think. Kazarian states that just earlier this month "Senators Frank Lombardi, Harold Metts and Elaine Morgan abstained from voting on the Senate Consent calendar, because a woman named Christy wanted to marry another woman named Amber." By leaving the decision up to the governor, individuals like Kazarian believe the values of true marriage equality will be better upheld.
"Valentine's Day Bill" Seeks to Make Tax Code More Inclusive
On February 14th Michigan Representative Andy Levin introduced to Congress the “Equal Dignity for Married Taxpayers Act”, also being dubbed as the "Valentine's Day Bill". The act seeks to amend the language in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make it more inclusive to everyone who pays taxes.

Levin is calling for changes in language to the code similar to this; amending clauses such as "husband or wife who file” to “married individual who file", and scratching “either the husband or wife” for “either spouse”. Ultimately the goal is to remove gender-based language from the code because without doing so it inacuratly represents a part of the population filing taxes. It is also important to note that Congress, not the IRS, writes the laws that become the official tax code.
Our Mission
Youth Pride, Inc. is dedicated to meeting the unique needs of youth and young adults impacted by sexual orientation and gender identity/expression while working to end the homophobic and transphobic environments in which they live, work and play.

LEADERSHIP:  YPI is committed to creating the leaders of today. Youth voices drive our process, and we seek to develop the leadership skills necessary both within the organization and outside of it.
AFFIRMATION:  YPI believes all youth must be affirmed for who they are and how they express themselves. We are committed to making that a reality in all of the environments in which young people live.
COMMUNITY:  YPI believes building strong connections is essential to youth success and empowerment. We strive to create a caring, respectful and diverse community of young people and adults.
Your tax-deductible donation helps YPI continue to do the important work we do in accordance to our mission. Your gift would be directly investing in our state's LGBTQ youth so that they may have a chance to share their gifts and light with the world.
Our Programs and Services
Youth Pride, Inc. serves over 700 Rhode Island LGBTQ youth and their straight allies a year through a variety of programs and services.
Our Center, located on Westminster Street in Providence, primarily serve as a drop-in and programming space, and is currently open to youth ages 13 to 23 on Tuesday and Wednesday from 3-8pm and Thursday from 3 to 5. Youth ages 9 to thirteen are welcome at our exclusive 13 and under drop-in time on Thursdays from 5-8 pm. All YPI Center services and activities are free to youth. YPI youth get to attend events, workshops, cultural, educational, social, and wellness activities at YPI and around the state.

Our center is home to a Basic Needs Pantry, open to youth in need of food, clothing, toiletries, and school supplies. We offer one on one counseling with in-house clinicians. Our clinicians facilitate and supervise three peer-support groups.

YPI also offers support to those who work with youth through policy and advocacy, and by providing professional development workshops and technical assistance to service providers and educators.

For more information on getting involved with YPI as a volunteer or if you or someone you know is in need of our services, contact
If you have a story you feel should be included in an upcoming newsletter, email