A brief window to help LGBT kids in Fort Worth

Posted on 31 Jan 2011 at 12:42pm
David Mack Henderson

DAVID MACK HENDERSON  |  Fairness Fort Worth

Junior high. High school. Funny how quick those little words can raise the hair on the back of your neck if you grew up struggling with your identity as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. No matter the challenge — whether internal acceptance or finding your place in an unwelcome, sometimes hostile environment — nearly all of us wish we’d had the chance to reach out for help when the world felt like it was against us and we didn’t know if there was anyone, anywhere we could turn to.

And now there is.

In five days several local leaders will be teaching a three-hour LGBT Awareness class to nearly every counselor and intervention specialist in the Fort Worth ISD. It’s practically unheard of in this part of the country. Yet, we’ve been building a relationship over time — and then the call came.

Then it dawned on us. Wow, here’s our chance to implement the incredible “Safe Places” program created by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network). Each school kit only runs $20. They contain useful training manuals and resources for on-site counselors and educators, awareness posters, and maybe most important — “safe place” stickers for understanding teachers and administrators to place on their doors signaling to LGBT students in need that their room is an immediate harbor to escape bullying and harassment, or simply to find someone who’ll lend a kind ear and offer guidance.

Just imagine how your life might have been improved today if someone had spent all of 20 bucks to do this when you were growing up.

Senior administration agreed to allow us to distribute these kits for all 60 middle schools, high schools and special secondary schools. Further, they’re sending word to all principals that implementation is a serious goal backed by the district.

Twenty dollars per school. We have one week to come up with the cash to buy these kits. Word is going out to members of PFLAG and the newly formed LGBT SAVES (local teachers and school employees), but we need you immensely. Now!

To make a donation, go to the PayPal page.

Twenty dollars for the kid in you that deserved a jump start — or for your kid! Twenty dollars for the friend you love who really could have used a sanctuary in school. Twenty dollars in the name of someone you may have lost so that others are saved.

In Fort Worth, Texas, we must have 60 people who will step up to the plate with pride giving $20 that will empower dozens of LGBT kids and also the children of LGBT parents.

Please sponsor a school now. Our generation is going to pay this forward! And thanks for creating a new dynamic in our home city.

The PayPal link is a safe and secure way for you to act now. Fairness Fort Worth is a 501(c)(3) charity and your contribution will be tax deductible.

UPDATE:

We have just been notified that Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns has generously offered to match each donation for a Safe Places kit, up to half of the kits needed! That doubles the impact of each donation made and helps ensure that kits with training manuals, awareness posters, and maybe most important — “safe place” stickers — are provided to all 60 FWISD middle schools, high schools and special secondary schools.

BTW, here’s a public service announcement Joel did at the request of GLSEN.

Please make your donation soon by going here.

Also, our very first response was from a parent with children in a Fort Worth middle school. She asked if her kit donation could be for that specific school and suggested, “I think it would carry more weight if our name as an attending family is attached to it. Is that possible???”

DARN TOOTIN’ YES! Great idea! And it’s part of our full picture of sharing with others that we’re an integrated and integral part of this community. So, if you have a specific school in mind let us know you want your name on that kit. We’ll only do that with your instruction.

Spread the word! We have to raise this $1,200 in just a few days. Your $20 was going to help one school, but with Joel’s generous offer you’ll now be helping LGBT kids at two schools!

For those who’d prefer to send a check they should go to:

Fairness Fort Worth, Inc.
3000 S. Hulen St.
STE 124-246
Fort Worth, TX 76109-1929

Fairness fort Worth, Inc. is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) non profit organization. Your contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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