ROOTS Weekend is the 5th of 6 gatherings held throughout the south focused on creating a world without prisons. LGBTQ+ youth are disproportionately impacted by the school to prison pipeline due to family rejection leading to disconnection from family and sometimes homelessness, as well as harsh school environments. Youth leaders from Side by Side and Advocates for Richmond Youth are ensuring that LGBTQ+ youth and youth experiencing homelessness are a part of this important conversation. We are so proud of Xander and Ali for their advocacy!
Side by Side continues to see an increase in youth and families seeking resources and services and recently, we are seeing an increase in youth experiencing distress and suicidal ideations. We've been fortunate to offer counseling services to youth and families with
Dr. Lisa Griffin and are excited to now welcome a second licensed clinician to our team,
Chevelle Moss-Savage, thanks to the support of the Community Foundation and the CarMax Foundation.
Chevelle is the founder of Helping Everyone Accept and Adapt to Life or HEAL LLC. She brings with her over 20 years of experience as a therapist, group facilitator, and case manager to Side by Side. She most recently supported the LGBTQ+ community at Virginia State University and specializes in supporting LGBTQ+ youth at their many intersections.
Following the news in Virginia, the Heart of Virginia Council approached Side by Side to train it's leadership on some of the unique factors related to working with transgender youth. We helped them continue to think through how they could best meet the needs of their scouts to ensure their organization is a welcoming and affirming one for all boys.
Brad Nesheim, CEO of the Heart of Virginia Council, wrote, "Thank you for the excellent presentation you gave to key members of our staff. We truly appreciated your going the extra mile to prepare a unique presentation which we found most helpful."
We're very excited to continue our partnership with the Boys Scouts in the coming years.