December 2019 recipient of the RBC Future Launch Community Challenge.

The Speak Out Project started out as a seed of an idea at GLOW. GLOW is our an LGBTQ+ youth group that has been running at Dufferin Child & Family Services for 22 years. It is and has been an affirming and community orientated group that has nurtured many talented and leadership orientated youth in our community.

However many of our conversations TO THIS DAY start and end with experiences of bullying in schools, slurs yelled down hallways and out of passing cars, family members who struggle to appreciate the strength in difference, and a community where belonging feels not possible. Could we solve these problems? This grant was created and imagined by these innovative and change oriented youth leaders. We are so grateful for the confidence in the Speak Out Project put forth by RBC and the Dufferin Community Foundation.

One year from now, we will have completed a public mural designed by youth leaders. This mural will be a permanent creative education tool to increase acceptance, build a community which values difference, names the strength of LGBTQ+ youth and celebrate diverse gender identities and sexualities. Youth who see this mural in their community will know they are welcomed and celebrated just as discrimination and stigma is being actively negated.

Our second success will be 30 trained public speakers who identify as LGBTQ+ youth who will have had the opportunity to speak at community events, libraries, and schools. These youth will have had a huge impact on their community and the people who have heard their story. Youth leaders will have experienced the positive effect speaking their story and contributing to change in their community. They will have become mentors to other youth who have a story to tell and have learned the power of a story to bring people together.

We make a promise to you our charitable partner, and a promise to each other to complete this project together and work towards the huge potential of youth leadership in Dufferin County.

Dufferin Child and Family Services