April 3, 2017
By Courtney Eiland, Website & Social Media Coordinator
This past Friday, Safe Space, Inc. held its first fundraiser event which took place in conjunction with their one year anniversary. With the overwhelming support from invitees and regular patrons of Freddie’s Beach Bar, the team collected donations as well as informed the masses about the mission of Safe Space and its importance in the lives of LGBT+ youth.
The event kicked off at 6:30pm with donations being accepted and raffle tickets being sold upon entrance. With great prizes, such as gift cards, wines and spirits — among other donated gifts — the $10 for 10 raffle tickets were a huge success.
Midway through the event, Safe Space Founder and Executive Director Jordan Costen as well as Virginia Delegate Mark Levine gave remarks, further informing the guests just how important Safe Space is in the LGBT+ youth community.
“The real purpose of tonight outside of just the donations and the community, is education,” said Costen. “The biggest issue is the suicide rate of LGBT youth amongst teenagers aged 14-18. They are two to three times more likely to commit suicide. What are our local governments, what are our schools doing about that? Where do these kids turn to if they’re having issues at home, issues with religion, or with bullying?”
Levine also emphasized how tough it already is just to be a kid in grade school, and to imagine how much tougher it is to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
“You can see why so many of these kids attempt suicide, get bullied in school, and don’t stay in school. In fact, imagine you go to a teacher and you say ‘these kids are beating me up’ and the teacher doesn’t listen to you. Now you’re really alone,” he said. “So groups like Safe Space are here to tell these kids that they are not alone, that we are with them, that we support them, and that we support teaching everyone around them how to help them. That means educating. Educating the educators, educating the teachers, educating the straight kids, educating parents. And I’m just really pleased that this exists now, right here in Northern Virginia.”
Funds collected will be used to launch programming in 2017 and to continue to advocate for LGBT+ youth. The overall goal is to create a drop-in space, essentially becoming that Safe Space we aim to be.
“We want to provide social activities, mentoring, counseling. And that’s what 2017 is for us,” stated Costen. “However, for us to do that we need your assistance, your volunteering, your dollars, whatever you can provide. Even if you just want to give us your expertise. We’re a group of volunteers. We’ve done a lot in the past year and have a lot planned for this year, so we’re just looking for the community’s assistance.”
On behalf of the Safe Space board members and operations team, we would like to send a HUGE thank you to Freddie for allowing us to host our event at his wonderful establishment, and to all who came to the event to show your support. We look forward to the work that we are about to do which would be impossible without you!