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News & Notes from JASMYN                                                                            January 2015


Cindy Watson
Executive Director


Dan Merkan

Director of Evaluation and Technology

Emily Rokosch

Director of Operations


Angela Strain

Director of Development


Sabrina Cluesman

Assistant Director of Services


Tim Jefferson

Assistant Director of Programs


MJ Cranston

Testing Coordinator


L. Bradley
Case Manager 


Princess Burch

Case Manager


Toni Liggins

Case Manager


Ace Canessa

Student Support Coordinator


Jensen Lindquist

Outreach Specialist


Evelyn Wilkinson

Finance Manager

Board of Directors

Bruce Musser


Dr. Jim Crooks
Vice Chair 


Tina Wirth



Barbara Drake



Edi Castro


Dr. Tom Serwatka


David Rinzler


Gregory Foster, Esq.


Josh Zmroczek


Michael Miller


Lori Shad


Gerry Orton


Adriana Fominaya


JASMYN Properties Board
 David Rinzler


Bruce Musser
Vice Chair 

Barbara Drake

Cindy Watson

Edi Castro

Jimmy Midyette, Esq.

Dr. Jay Dutton

Michael Miller

We Appreciate Our Sponsors 

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"Warm Our New House" Event Planned for February 22

After months of construction and renovation, the building next door to JASMYN House, which has become known as "JASMYN 2" is ready to show off to our supporters and the community - and we want you to join us for the celebration!

As you've read in previous newsletters, demand for our services continues to grow, and we have outgrown the building we have occupied for the past 12 years. Through the gift of the building next door, Doctors Paul Schilling and James Dutton have made it possible for JASMYN to expand its capacity to serve youth ages 13 - 23 with greater access to clinical care, case management services, HIV counseling and testing and more.

So come toast the new space, see the progress we've made and what is yet to be. Don't miss this milestone in JASMYN's history!


JASMYN Warm the House Party 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

2:30 - 4:30 PM

929 Peninsular Place

Jacksonville, FL 32204

JASMYN Receives Grant from 
The Gill Foundation
JASMYN has been awarded a grant for $69,000 from the Gill Foundation. Founded 20 years ago by philanthropist and entrepreneur, Tim Gill, the foundation is one of the nation's largest funders of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality, having invested more than $259 million in programs and nonprofits across the country working to advance equal rights for LGBT people. 


The grant will allow JASMYN, the leading partner in the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality (JCE), to support the Coalition in its efforts to educate the community on the need for protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodation in Jacksonville.  Other partners of the Coalition include Equality Florida, Human Rights Campaign, the Jacksonville Chapter of the National Organization for Women, PFLAG Jacksonville, The UNF LGBT Resource Center and OneJax.


"We are very grateful to the Gill Foundation for this grant," said Cindy Watson, "As the largest community-based nonprofit LGBT organization in Jacksonville, we take a very active role in the efforts to educate the community and create protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The work of the JCE is critical to the future of our city. We have a vested interest in assuring that the youth we serve today will grow up in a community that treats all of its citizens equally."


Dan Merkan, Chair of the JCE Steering Committee and Director of Evaluation and Technology at JASMYN, added that "the grant will enable the Coalition to inform the community about the benefits of eliminating discrimination in Jacksonville. It's more important than ever for us to host and/or participate in community forums, attend events to promote the need for LGBT protections and create informational materials that can be available to the media and the community at large. The Gill Foundation is truly living up to its mission to advance equality for LGBT Americans by supporting our efforts in Jacksonville." 


Teaching Respect for All Workshop 
Draws Big Crowd
On January 16th, more than 250 people attended "Teaching Respect for All," a workshop hosted by JASMYN for current and prospective Elementary, Middle and High School teachers, counselors, social workers, and administrators. 
This year's keynote speaker was Patricia J. Martin, a Johns Hopkins University Lecturer and Independent Educational Consultant

For the seventh consecutive year, the event provided the knowledge and tools to successfully create a school culture where all people, including LGBT people, are respected, free to express themselves and able to reach their full potential.


Members of community agencies serving school-age youth were also in attendance.


A highlight of the conference was the release of local data about lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) students. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) of 2013 shows almost 10% of Duval high school students identify of LGB.


As in years past, JASMYN youth served as panelists to share their personal stories and experiences about the challenges faced in the classroom setting, such as bullying, and overcoming challenges to get to college. Another panel focused on the impact of HIV on LGBT young people, especially on African-American and Transgender youth.   


While the LGBT community is experiencing broader acceptance in Jacksonville in general, LGBT youth continue to struggle and are often the victims of bullying. 


"There is still a serious need for this workshop in Northeast Florida and the YRBS data shows that LGB students experience bullying at higher rates than their heterosexual peers," said Cindy Watson. "Educators attending were grateful for the information they received and the tools available as they attempt to support all marginalized populations within their schools." 

We greatly appreciate this year's sponsors of the Teaching Respect for All Workshop: Comcast, The Chartrand Family Advised Fund at the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, Uptown Civitan and Duval County Public Schools.  


Welcome JASMYN's New 
Director of Development
Please welcome the newest addition to the JASMYN family, Angela Strain, our first Director of Development. Her goal is to help grow our resources to support the programs and services JASMYN provides to youth in our community. Working with the Board, staff, and community volunteers, she will help create an annual development plan that builds upon the foundation of our first twenty years. 


Angela brings with her more than 10 years of professional experience in nonprofit resource development and fundraising. Most recently, she was the Grants and Foundations Manager at Wounded Warrior Project. Prior to that position, she worked in organizational advancement with the Community Health Centers Alliance headquartered in St. Petersburg, FL.


"It is a tremendous honor to work side by side with the amazing professionals and volunteers that JASMYN has assembled to help LGBTQ youth find their way in a challenging world, and to help build the world of the future that they will inherit," said Angela.


"As we move into our next 20 years, Angela will play a key role in growing the financial foundation of our agency so that we can continue to meet needs of our LGBTQ youth and the community," said Cindy Watson, JASMYN executive director. 

This addition to the JASMYN team is due in part from a grant received in October 2014 from the LGBT Community Fund at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, support from the Chartrand Foundation, and the commitment of the JASMYN Board of Directors.