Youth services at the Pacific Center focus on the empowerment, mental health and safety of LGBTQ youth (ages 12-21) through two programs: The LOUD After-school Youth Program and The Safer Schools Speaker’s Bureau.
LOUD stands for Loving Ourselves and Uniting Diversity and is an after-school program that meets weekly from 4pm-6pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Friday. LOUD provides a safe space and peer support for LGBTQ youth, their allies and friends. Each week 10-20 youth gather, share laughter, meet new friends, share a snack, watch LGBT movies, or embark on field trips.
"Wow! This is an awesome place just to be myself! I like coming here! " Volunteer mentors and special guests from the LGBTQ community lead discussions ranging from dating and safe relationships, health and wellness, activism, dealing with issues at home, and achieving and responding to bullying at school. Mental health therapists also lead discussions and are available for one-on-one counseling for any youth and/or members of their families.
LOUD also trains and empowers LGBTQ youth and their allies to become leaders and peer educators in our Safer School Speaker’s Bureau. Youth have the opportunity to lead anti-bullying workshops in Berkeley and other Bay Area Schools, to provide outreach to and to invite other LGBTQ youth to the Center, and to share their coming out stories with their peers. Students and local educators have said the personal stories and personal interaction with Pacific Center youth make the lives and experiences of LGBTQ youth more practical and more real than reading about them in a book.
Newcomers to the Pacific Center’s Youth Program as well as friends who support queer youth are more than welcomed and encouraged to participate in both LOUD and the Safer School Speaker’s Bureau.