May 31, 2019

Meet HCT Community Partner: Kaleidoscope Youth Center

Central Ohio Non-Profit

This year marks 25 years of KYC. Your organization has a tremendous legacy here in Columbus and in the state of Ohio. How has KYC grown and changed? What milestones are you proud of?

Kaleidoscope Youth Center is the largest and longest standing organization serving LGBTQIA+ youth in the state of Ohio. We were established in 1994 as a crisis line, and since then, have grown into the leaders and experts in meeting the needs of and supporting LGBTQIA+ young people in our community. I am proud of the way KYC is able to adjust and respond to the needs of the community through our evolution into an organization that includes a drop in center; community education and training; advocacy and civic engagement; health and wellness; and housing opportunities.

How has the Columbus community supported your growth?

Columbus has been tremendously supportive over the past 25 years. From corporate sponsorships, individual contributions, event support, and volunteering; our community continues to show up to support and invest in our youth.

What are KYC’s goals this year?

This year, our 25th year, we are expanding our capacity to serve, support, and further meet the emerging and basic needs of young people, with a focus on wellness, independent living/life skills; and addressing the needs of homeless, housing insecure/vulnerable youth. We know that life doesn’t end for our young people once they leave the Center; which is why we’re excited to create new programming with a more holistic focus on young folx moving from surviving to thriving.

We are doing this through two new programs; the first being the expansion of our Drop-In Center through KYC Connections. KYC Connections is a trauma informed and culturally responsive community-based approach to quickly identify and link individuals to services and other critical supports. The program will provide coordinated, direct access to wraparound services such as housing and case management; and additional resources to support transition aged young people, ages 16-24, in obtaining and maintaining self-sufficiency. Secondly, we have launched our KYC Housing Program, which is a three-pronged approach to center and serve homeless and housing insecure/vulnerable young adults ages 18-24; and will include opportunities through Rapid Re-Housing, Supportive Co-Housing, and a Host Home Network. For more information about either program, please visit http://www.kycohio.org/housing

One additional focus for this year is to continue the growth of our Education and Training Programs. KYC is proud to offer education, training, and support to educators, practitioners, youth providers, and community groups throughout the state. It’s important that we work outside of the Center to create and support spaces of safety, belonging, and community for our young people. For more information and to schedule a training, please contact our Education & Training Manager Amanda Erickson at [email protected]

How can the community get involved with your efforts?

At KYC, we know that it takes a village to support our young people; and that’s why we love when our community is by our side. Financial contributions are always appreciated; however, we equally enjoy the support through time and presence. Some of our current opportunities include volunteering at the Drop-In Center or special events; scheduling a Volunteer Day of Service; and becoming a volunteer Host in our Host Home Network. Please visit http://www.kycohio.org/volunteer-sign-up for more information.

Also, all are invited to join us at our 2nd Annual Pride Open House & Celebration on June 8th, from 2p-5p at our Drop In Center; 603 E. Town St.