March 29, 2017
By Courtney Eiland, Website & Social Media Coordinator
Safe Space, Inc. was founded on March 29, 2016 by Executive Director, Jordan Costen. As Safe Space is preparing for its one year anniversary fundraiser event this Friday, Costen took a moment to reflect on what the past year has meant to him.
“Safe Space has accomplished so much in a year. The first thing that comes to mind is the building of relationships. Going into this, I was unsure how other LGBT+ organizations would receive us. However, there has been an overwhelmingly positive response,” he said.
One proud moment Costen pointed out, was Safe Space holding its first event on World AIDS Day which was in collaboration with the Alexandria Commission for HIV/AIDS. Through this event, Safe Space was able to show support on an issue that closely affects the LGBT+ community. It also allowed Safe Space to expand its reach and connect with other individuals in the area to spread the word about its mission.
Over the past year, Safe Space has participated in numerous events including the Out of the Darkness Walk, where the team surpassed its fundraising goal benefitting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; participated in the AIDS Walk last October; took part in nationwide and global social media campaigns such as #SpiritDay and #NationalComingOutDay; and also took part in #NOH8 campaign’s photo shoot this past January.
However, with many successes also come challenges as Costen candidly explained. “One of the biggest challenges in starting a new venture is self doubt. Once you get over the initial shock, the next goal should be to arm yourself with the knowledge and resources needed to be successful. In the case of Safe Space, I met with individuals who were experienced in starting a nonprofit. I also took classes on the subject matter,” he said. “A secondary challenge was determining when and how to bring in a team. There can be a lot of trial and error when walking through this process. Getting past it requires the leader (you) to identify when the level of work has surpassed their capabilities based on timing. From that point you identify what roles are needed and you start the staffing process.”
Currently, Safe Space is equipped with a full board of directors and a fully-staffed operations team to handle the day-to-day needs in their respective departments. All volunteer-based roles, their willingness to be involved further enhances their commitment to the organization and allows Costen to dedicate his focus more on the overall mission – providing a safe, accepting, and supportive environment for LGBT+ youth.
“My motivation is the youth. I know what it was like to be a LGBT+ youth and not have a positive environment or person to rely on in my darkest hour. My goal each day is to continue to work towards providing an environment which gives those kids what they are lacking,” he said.
This Friday, Safe Space will be hosting its first fundraiser event where funds will go towards providing programming for LGBT+ youth. The goal of this event is to also allow the community get to know the Safe Space team and learn more about the mission and goals.
With one year down and several more to go, Costen makes it known what you can expect in year two. “You can look forward to programming, advocacy, and most importantly, a drop in space,” he stated. “We have big things planned for our future and are excited to get to work.”
The Safe Space team will be on hand to collect donations at Friday’s event. However, if you would like to donate in advance, please visit www.paypal.me/safespaceva. No RSVP needed – just join us, and bring along a friend or two, on Friday, March 31 from 6:30pm to 8pm at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Arlington, Virginia. We hope to see you there.
Your support and help is much appreciated as we look forward to ushering in another year of serving the LGBT+ youth community.