Organizational Ally to Queer Youth – Awardee:
THE DIVERSITY CENTER YOUTH PROGRAM
Renowned in the Santa Cruz Community as an astounding resource for LGBTQIA youth, The Diversity Center Youth Program oﬀers support to queer and trans youth and their families through a variety of outreach programs and resources. From weekly drop-in support groups in Watsonville and Santa Cruz to school club visits, The Diversity Center Youth Program works to meet the needs of LGBTQIA+ students wherever they may be at. The Youth Program builds community and creates safer spaces for queer youth through events like Queer Prom, Coming Out Day, Camp OUT, and the Louden Nelson Community Center mural project. The Diversity Center Youth Program even provides educational trainings and support to community organizations that serve youth to ensure that queer and trans youth are being afrmed throughout their communities.
Organizational Ally to Queer Youth – Nominees:
BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF SANTA CRUZ COUNTY
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Cruz County is well known for being an LGBTQ inclusive organization that enriches the lives of local youth, or “Littles” and the adult community members who volunteer to be their “Bigs.” Through their TransMentoring Program, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Cruz County works to ensure our transgender youth have the same opportunities as their cisgender peers. The TransMentoring Program matches transgender “Littles” ages 7-17 to transgender “Bigs.” This mentorship program gives trans Littles a positive role model who can relate to their experiences, share their interests, and inspire them to be themselves, creating a mutually benefcial relationship. The TransMentoring Program is an extraordinary example of how an organization can better their whole community through trans inclusion.
PAJARO VALLEY PRIDE
A relatively new organization, Pajaro Valley Pride was formed by members of the Watsonville community to support underserved communities in south county and are intentional in their work to increase visibility and center LGBTQIA+ people of color in all that they do. Pajaro Valley Pride seeks to include and empower queer, trans, and questioning youth of color by providing opportunities for them to connect with the larger community. In addition to organizing the annual Pride march in Watsonville, Parajo Valley Pride also oﬀers a college scholarship for queer youth enrolled in Pajaro Valley Unifed School District. With this scholarship, Pajaro Valley Pride hopes to support future leaders in achieving long term goals through education. The organization’s dedication to shared leadership and collaboration is a model for other organizations.