Side by Side (formerly ROSMY) July 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to your monthly Side by Side newsletter!
Side by Side Youth ScholarshipsYouth

Since 1996, Side by Side has provided scholarships to LGBTQ+ and Allied youth who are attending college, technical school, or receiving any post-secondary certification. This past month we awarded scholarships to two amazing youth as they embark on their college journeys. We wanted to share a bit about how great these youth are.

Beth Panilatis, Justin, & Bill Harrison who funds this scholarship 
Justin is the 2017 recipient of the Michael B. Huntley & Beth Panilatis Scholarship. Justin has been with Side by Side for the past two years and participated in our LGBTQ+ youth of color group, our Trans group, and our YEL Group. Justin recently graduated from Cosby High School with a 4.1 GPA and in the Fall he will attend Appalachian State University.

"Side by Side showed me that a trans person of color can be successful, can be a leader, and can be so much more than just the different identities.... [The many opportunities at Side by Side], have given me the confidence to continue speaking out against the inequalities facing my many communities." - Justin

Sarah is the 2017 recipient of the Carol Storey Memorial Scholarship. Sarah has been with Side By Side for the past five years. They started in our Middle School Program and continued into our LGBTQ+ and Trans groups as well as our YEL Group. Sarah recently graduated from Maggie Walker High School with a 3.79 GPA and in the Fall they will attend James Madison University.

"If there is anything I have learned in my five years at Side by Side, it is that I can be my own superhero. I don't need people to tell me who I should be or who I should love. I have the ability to be myself and stand up for myself. My differences have shaped me as a person, and I would not trade the experiences my identity has given me for anything." - Sarah

Click here to learn more about our Scholarship programs.  
charlesSide by Side's Associate Director, Charles Dyson, Takes New Role at The Community Foundation 

Charles Dyson has recently accepted a new role at The Community Foundation and will be leaving the team of Side by Side. Charles, who most recently served as our Associate Director, joined the team in June 2013.
He worked closely with the Executive Director to cover the administrative operations of Side by Side's center and ran Side by Side's training program for youth professionals.
Since 2013, Charles helped train over 6,500 educators, police officers, youth service providers, and medical providers on how to best support LGBTQ+ youth across Virginia. Under Charles's direction, this program increased its output by 315%.     
Charles also managed multiple development campaigns and was responsible for creating and monitoring the organization's annual fund development plan.  

One of his greatest contributions was helping to lead the organization through a major transition as it both brought on a new Executive Director and re-branded in 2016.
"Charles has been a real asset to Side by Side. His work with the training program has helped ensure LGBTQ+ youth have safer schools and communities. We will miss him, but we are excited that he is joining our partners and friends at The Community Foundation." - Ted Lewis, Executive Director

"My family has been involved with Side by Side, in one way or another, for almost 15 years.  So, I know I will always be an advocate for its amazing youth.  Likewise, the Richmond region is very special to me and joining The Community Foundation's team is a perfect chance for me to deepen my involvement in the greater community.  I leave confident that Side by Side is on a strong upward path."  -Charles Dyson
Side by Side's Youth Programs Director Takes New Role with More Light Presbyterians 

Jess Cook has recently accepted a new role with More Light Presbyterians, a national organization doing work to give faith communities the tools they need to deepen their understanding and support of LGBTQ+ people. Jess has been on staff as Youth Programs Director since September 2013 and their last day at Side by Side will be August 25. 
Since 2013, Jess has led our Youth programming efforts in Richmond, helped launch our Middle School and Youth of Color Support groups, including our Middle School Parents discussion group, and helped the organization grow to serving over 350 youth annually. Additionally, Jess formed our Meals Program, which ensures youth who come to Side by Side know they will have a meal at every group.

In the last four years, Jess has led Side by Side's youth programming through a tremendous increase in the number of youth and families seeking services. Additionally, they were instrumental in launching our counseling services and connecting youth in crisis to additional resources. Jess was also fundamental in our re-branding efforts, developing all of our outreach materials, from business cards to informational brochures to pride flag stickers. 
"Jess has really helped steer our youth programs in a direction that allows us to not only serve more youth and families in need, but to better meet the unique needs of LGBTQ+ youth in our community. While we will miss Jess, we are excited they are joining a national team focused on creating more affirming faith communities for LGBTQ+ people." Ted Lewis, Executive Director
"When I came on board with Side by Side in 2011 as a seminary intern, I had no idea what the next six years of my life would bring. My life has changed in more ways than I can name through my relationships with the youth, families, and community members I have had the privilege of working with and getting to know during my time here. Working with More Light Presbyterians is a way to use all I have learned to help faith community leaders deepen their welcome and understanding of the many facets of the LGBTQ+ community, and to create faith communities that are truly affirming of LGBTQ+ people. I am incredibly grateful and humbled by the work I've been able to do at Side by Side; and, while I will deeply miss being on staff at the organization, I am confident Side by Side will continue to grow and strengthen its commitment to LGBTQ+ youth." - Jess Cook   
Side by Side Volunteer Help with Youth Center Upkeepvolunteer

Volunteers from VCU's LGBTQ+ Staff group (left) and volunteers from CarMax (right).

Side by Side is a small agency and we rely on our community volunteers to help with our youth support groups as facilitators as well as to assist us in the upkeep of our Richmond Youth Center. This past month we had the good fortune to work with some amazing volunteers from Virginia Commonwealth University's LGBTQ+ staff group as well as from our friends at CarMax. They assisted in putting up new ceiling tiles, cleaning out closets, shampooing our carpets, and organizing our Youth Needs Area. We are grateful for the support of so many local organizations and companies! Thank you to our fabulous volunteers!

Click here to learn more about how to get involved with Side by Side. 
Welcome New Side by Side Board MembersBoard

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