A $10,000 community endowment has been provided by the First West Foundation to support LGBTQIA2S+ youth in the Okanagan.
The grant will help fund Etcetera, a drop-in program operated by the Bridge Youth and Family Services for LGBTQIA2S+ youth, aged 11 to 18, that provides a safe and accepting environment.
The group provides opportunities for belonging and inclusion, through 44 weekly sessions and three special events each year.
According to the Bridge Youth and Family Services, LGBTQIA2S+ youth can become marginalized and experience an increased risk of suicide, problematic substance use, homelessness, isolation and depression in comparison to their cisgender and heterosexual peers.
The program Etcetera mitigates these risks and attempts to positively impact the esteem, health and well-being of the young people who participate. Those who participate support one another and rely on the community to help value diversity and inclusion.