How One Person is REALLY Making a Difference

People who work selflessly for the benefit of others are exceptionally admirable.  Ana Bernal, founder of the Q Youth Foundation, is one of them.  Started in July 2013, the Q Youth Foundation is a non-profit organization that conducts outreach to LGBTQ youth while creating safe spaces for them and allies to be who they are.  The issues of bullying, discrimination, and self-hate are unfortunately typical among LGBTQ youth.  In face of all that, providing FREE workshops and events as a resource for LGBTQ youth, their families, friends, and allies is bold act of courage.

In an exclusive interview with Ana Bernal, she gave us more insight of the Q Youth Foundation and a sneak peek of the upcoming Our Pride Benefit Show:

 
1.  What was your inspiration for founding the Q Youth Foundation?

I wanted to create a safe place in East Los Angeles where Queer youth can get empowered and at the same time be able to explore important issues, like communication with families or stopping bullying in their lives. But also, I want the youth and their allies to be able to learn about the arts, like art, music, theater, writing and have a forum where they can be safe and be able to voice their opinions without judgments. And also build community in East L.A. for LGBTQ identified individuals. I want to let kids know that they are worthy and that they are a big part of their community and that they too can become leaders and professionals in the future. Had I had that type of encouragement in my life as a youth - who knows what pursuits I could have accomplished. That is not to say I cannot accomplish them now of course.  

2. What is your vision for the Q Youth Foundation? (regarding the people it will help and future accomplishments)

My vision for the Q Youth Foundation is to bring people together, create understanding in underserved communities like in East L.A.. Growing up in East L.A. was a tough place to identifying as gay or lesbian - but things are changing slowly and acceptance is growing. What  really concerning at this point in time is that 40% of youth in Los Angeles are homeless and on the streets because families cannot accept a part of them they cannot change. If I could simply begin the process of talks with families maybe in a few generations from now Q Youth Foundation can focus on building stronger leaders regardless of race or socio-economic standards. My vision also includes entrepreneurial achievements by creating a work-program, volunteerism, getting these kids into higher education by guiding them and showing them the route that can change their lives.
 
Listen, I grew up in the 80's - 90's, my mom had been a single mother for a very long-time - I have a total of 5 siblings - at one point we lived in a two bedroom house and classified as poor. Even though we had everything going against us as children - I had never felt we were "poor" - my mother believed in education but she herself did not have the means to provide all the extras - she did provide a library and we became readers.

That was the key to changing thought processes - as an adult - I am thankful my mother did at least that for us. And I hope I can create something like that for the LGBTQ youth in Los Angeles - change thought processes and the more I talk about it with others - the more understanding and support begins to grow and that is a beautiful thing.

3.  Tell me more about the upcoming Benefit Show and Q Youth Camp.

The upcoming show is a benefit show to raise funds for the Q Youth Camp for 2014 - we are also introducing ourselves to East L.A. in a way. We are having an event Saturday, November 2, 2013 at The Vex Arts Center 5240 Alhambra Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90032 the show starts @ 7pm-12am We will have interactive art exhibits - a Community Altar - A Rainbow Giving Tree - Donated Musical and Theatrical performances by artist Dorian Wood, SpaceCream, I.E., Chelsea M'onet, Corey Saucier, Khaotic Dance Krew, Dj Kasanova and more. We also will have informational booths and vendors. The cost is a donation of $10 at the door or a pre-sale of $5 online at http://qyouthfoundation.brownpapertickets.com and you can find updates on Facebook @ http:///www.facebook.com/QYouthFoundation

For more information, check out www.qyouthfoundation.org

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