OUTreach

Saving Lives, Transforming Communities



Background:

OUTreach Resource Center is a 501c3 non-profit based in Ogden, Utah.  Founded, in 2004, OUTreach “saves the lives of LGBT individuals and transforms communities” by a combination of direct services to 350 youth age 14-23 and through community education and engagement with a variety of partners throughout the state of Utah and the nation. The work that OUTreach does in the state of Utah is a model for a wide variety of communities, with 24 centers throughout the country that are direct copies, the latest in Midland, Texas.

The direct services are in the form of interventions designed to improve outcome for this marginalized and high risk group which faces a disproportionate incidence of homelessness (30% of OUTreach attendees) and suicide risk (every youth knows at least 1 friend who has lost their life to suicide, one youth knows 19) and low educational attainment (10% go on to attend college). In addition to discrete programs, the center is designed to support youth at all levels.

Center services to youth comprise 40% of OUTreach Resource Center operations, with 60% dedicated to transforming the culture of Utah to one of acceptance for LGBT youth.

Partnerships:

Current partnerships include a variety of state and national organizations:

  • Dr. Caitlin Ryan, Family Acceptance Project (San Francisco State University), projects focusing on suicide prevention, youth homelessness and improving outcomes for youth and keeping families together
  • Equality Utah, partnering to provide workshops to improve youth outcomes
  • Weber–Morgan Health Department, partnering to reduce nicotine and e-cigarette use and improve health for youth
  • Bear River Mental Health Services, partnering to reduce suicide in Box Elder County
  • New Hope Crisis Center, a partner to reduce suicide and improve outcomes for youth in Box Elder County
  • Family Connections, major donor of food and hygiene items for homeless youth
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthy Sexuality Education (3rd year) – a unique pilot program measuring the effectiveness of education in preventing STDs and STIs, (OUTreach is the only LGBT youth center in the US that is part of this program)
  • Mormons Building Bridges; partnering with OUTreach to provide host homes to LGBT LDS youth who have been kicked out of Mormon homes; mapping of wards and stakes to show allies throughout the state of Utah and distribute suicide and homeless prevention materials to bishops, stake presidents and families.
  • Operation Shine America and founding director Cai Noble
  • Nurture the Creative Mind Foundation and founding director Amir Jackson
  • Rachel Peterson (Utah State University) NEXT Step Education for disadvantaged and homeless youth, evidence-based techniques for improving outcomes in high school graduation and college attendance
  • Utah State Coalition to Address Tobacco Use in Homeless Persons. A state coalition of direct service providers and researchers to assess needs, design, implement and assess effectiveness of interventions.

Community Events

OUTreach has one community forum per month at local libraries during the school year on topics ranging from diversity education, bullying, suicide, reparative therapy, homelessness, discrimination, transgender awareness, self-esteem, GSAs, film screenings and more. The format is a guest panel of experts and a community Q & A and attendance 50 – 100+ community members from Logan to Provo.

Community Engagement

OUTreach staff and volunteers provide education to community groups, law enforcement and schools as requested ranging from hate crimes, homeless youth, cultural competency and general diversity training

Center Based Programs and Mentoring

Individual and group mentoring program for adult mentors and youth mentees

NEXT Step, an evidence-based program to improve educational outcome for youth, consisting of a 7 week series of classes addressing goal setting, college prep, campus visits

Healthy Relationship Classes, an evidence-based pilot program of the Department of Health and Human Services designed to provide education on relationships and prevent STIs in conservative areas.   Youth participate in a series of classes and conceive and implement community events to educate other youth and the public. OUTreach is the only LGBT youth center in the US participating in this program.

Health and Wellness Classes designed to improve physical health and self-esteem, current topic: Secrets to Success, a series of goal-setting workshops

Life Coaching Workshops covering relationships, self-esteem, coming out, suicide prevention, parents and siblings, bullying, community engagement (volunteering, voting, special projects including Earth Day, LGBT History awareness)

General Workshops ranging from S’More Support Group held each week to community events, gay marriage, gender education, women and misogyny, spirituality and personal faith

Guest Speakers include national, state and local role models and representatives, such as Peaceful Uprising, Joe’s Walk for Change, United Nations staff, law enforcement, business owners, clergy from various faith traditions, S’LUT Walk, the United Nations, GSA leaders, WSU faculty, artists, musicians, film directors

Field trips to WSU for special speakers, to community events including plays and concerts from Ogden to SLC, educational opportunities or speaking (OUTreach anti-bullying alliance speaking at a community event, etc)

Special Projects include Blank Page street magazines with Nurture the Creative Mind, film making with Emmy Award winner, Dr. Kendall Wilcox

Throughout all OUTreach activities, adult mentors are present to facilitate conversations, to direct youth to on-site psychologists provide support and serve as role models.