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By Amy Drayer

In 2012, almost 900 LGBTQ youth received assistance through Rainbow Alley’s counseling and support groups. 150 youth attended Queer Prom and experienced this rite of passage on their own terms. We provided a hot meal to 35 youth every week who may otherwise have gone hungry.

Amy Drayer

Julie is one of those young people, who wrote:

“When I came out, my family turned their back on me. But my aunt…she was my champion. She always had a place for me at her table during the holidays. When she died, I had nowhere to go. I found Rainbow Alley and knew I had found a home. My friends here are my family and I look forward to sharing Christmas dinner with them every year.”

SAGE of the Rockies helped 1,002 LGBT elders overcome isolation and find meaningful connections to each other and our community. SAGE helps to make it possible for our elders to express themselves, some for the first time ever, through art and creative writing. Community support allowed 50 elders to partake each week in physical fitness programs to live long, healthy lives.

This year The Center grew as a statewide leader in our community and expanded to Northern Colorado. In less than a year, we have already seen more than 2,500 visitors walk through the doors of this new location. Ted lives and works in a small town in Nebraska. To find the closest safe space to gather with friends and be himself, Ted travels three and a half hours one way to The Center in Fort Collins:

“Every Friday morning I pack up the truck and dog and head to The Center. It’s my time to be with people like me, with my other family.  It’s what keeps me going week after week.”

From youth to elders, and those in between, The Center works to engage, empower, enrich and advance our LGBT community. Legal programming expands understanding of our rights and assists those who need an advocate; Transgender programs touch the lives of those who need access to housing, employment support and resources. And Denver PrideFest is a powerful space where more than 325,000 of us gather to celebrate and demonstrate our courage and pride

Out Front readers have helped make this possible, by sharing our stories and attending our events, by spreading the word about our programs to people who need them, by volunteering their time at PrideFest and at our front desk, and by generously donating. Thank you for helping us serve so many, and making the past year a success.

Amy Drayer is the Vice President of strategic initiatives at the GLBT Community Center of Colorado. To learn more about The Center’s work, visit GLBTcolorado.org, or visit our Denver location  at 1301 E. Colfax Ave.,  or our Fort Collins location  at 101 N. Mason St.