Round City: Inside Out Youth Providers Ally Up profit for LGBTQ+ youth a digital success | Way of life

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It was an evening to dance to “Celebrate good times…come on” as Inside Out Youth Services’ Ally Up fundraiser went virtual for its 30th anniversary.

An estimated 800 people around the area and even across the country tuned in on Oct. 8 for music, laughter and stories from LGBTQ+ young people sharing how Inside Out has become their safe haven.

Held as part of the nonprofit’s October fundraising period, it helped raise $60,000 toward the $100,000 goal for the month.

In the evening’s blog, founder Regina DiPadova explained how in 1990, through the El Paso County Department of Health and Environment , IOYS had started as a place of community where LGBTQ+ youth belonged, had role models and developed “the confidence to truly become themselves.” Inside Out became an independent nonprofit in 1997.

Acknowledging years struggling for understanding and financial support for the young people, Executive Director Jessie Pocock blogged that those watching online “help us uplift these young people and change our community so that LGBTQ+ youth feel uplifted and supported everywhere they are – yes, at Inside Out, but also in their schools, churches, homes, shelters and neighborhoods.”

Over the 30 years, services have been expanded to those through age 24. During COVID-19, services have been provided virtually.

Pocock said that “while Inside Out and the local queer community have come a long way, the hard work isn’t over. It is equally important we recognize that the impact of discrimination is still far-reaching. LGBTQ+ youth in El Paso County are more likely to attempt suicide, more likely to use illegal substances, more likely to experience violence, more likely to experience homelessness, and less likely to be connected with an adult they trust than their heterosexual and cisgender peers. Inside Out and our community have a lot more to collectively achieve.” (insideoutys.org)

Ally Up “Phoenix Rising,” under the direction of Development Director Joy Armstrong, included performances by Josh Franklin and John Wolfe, hip hop by Stoney Bertz and a youth story from Aero. Marve Romero Aguinaga told why IOYS is so important and board treasurer Geri Johnson said that even as a successful woman in business, “sometimes I have felt out of place. We all want to walk into a space (like Inside Out) where we belong.”

Upcoming nonprofit fundraisers:

Pawtoberfest, Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, virtual, Monday-Friday, costume contest, shelter pet parade, dog walk at home, puppy and kitten videos, pawtoberfest.org

• US Association of Blind Athletes, Breakfast with Champions, virtual fundraiser, keynote by Paralympic medalist Lex Gillette, 8:30 a.m. Friday, registration at surveymonkey.com/r/2020_bwc

Skate for Chicken to benefit Angels of America’s Fallen for children of fallen military and first responders, Saturday, skate, bike, scooter in your own neighborhood this year, presented by Chick-fil-A, register at aoafallen.salsalabs.org/2020skateforchicken

• 13th annual Jewel of a Wine Tasting and Gourmet Food Gala to benefit Colorado Springs Teen Court, in-person or virtual, 6:30 p.m. Nov. 6, in-person, DoubleTree by Hilton; for virtual wine and chocolate, link to livestream. Tickets: SpringsTeenCourt.org

Turkey Trot 5K to benefit Pikes Peak YMCA programs, virtual, run whenever and wherever you want, register through Oct. 25, $30 and $5 for furry friends, price increases Oct. 26 and Nov. 23. ppymca.org/turkeytrot2020

• 48th annual November Noel, 7 p.m. Nov. 14, newest program Preemie Family Assistance Fund, NICU virtual tour, free, registration newbornhope.org

Night Out Project for The Place a former affiliate of Urban Peak, for homeless youth, Nov. 19-20, sign up to sleep out or donate to a team or participant shown online, theplacecos.org.

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