UpFront is a brave space for LGBTQ+ young people who’ve been affected by foster care and experience disconnection from accepting family.
This affirming community of support increases the unconditional love of family, safety in home and community, and overall wellbeing for every member.
The group believes that every young person’s voice is valuable and deserves to be heard, it should be UpFront. As a peer-led group, sessions are designed and led by peer leaders. Sessions are typically based on one or more of the following four themes:
- Choosing an Accepting Family
- Feeling Safe Anywhere
- Planning for My Future
- Enjoying the Journey
FOR THE MEMBERS
UpFront provides resources to every member. Some of these resources are for anyone who participates. Other resources are tailored to the specific needs of individual members.
*Important Note: Some of the following resources may not be available as UpFront regroups and begins virtual meetings. Please bring any questions to Bryan.
For each session attended, members receive an unlimited weekly MetroCard to be used at their discretion.
Understanding food insecurity is often a challenge with the population UpFront serves, we make ensure that during each session, food, snacks, and drinks (non-alcoholic) are provided.
Due to the nature of the member’s support structure outside of the group, UpFront creates a community of support rooted in friends, like-minded individuals, professionals, and people looking out for their best interest.
As a goal-setting group, UpFront members are encouraged to set personal growth goals at their own pace. We, as an organization and as a group, use our partnerships and connections throughout NYC to help them reach their goals.
Members have the opportunity to develop advocacy skills and develop as leaders by understanding and learning conflict resolution, different perspectives, patience, wants vs. needs, realistic goal setting.
Through a partnership with PowerOn from LGBT Tech, members have the opportunity to access technology such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops. These devices allow them to come together and form a community outside of UpFront and apply for jobs/school.
Once a month, members get together for a fun NYC event of their choice. Such events include movie outings, attending plays, volunteering at soup kitchens, self-defense classes, and so much more!
INTERESTED IN JOINING?
Are you a young person who might benefit from UpFront? Do you know other LGBTQ+ young people who might? UpFront meets every Wednesday from 3-5pm EST via Zoom, unless otherwise noted.
If you’re a LGBTQ+ young person who experienced foster care and would like to join the group, please complete the following form.
Want to support UpFront and its members? Below are just a few ways you might help. We always welcome new ideas and partners.
Do you know:
– A food establishment that would like to donate food for an UpFront meeting?
– A resource that could benefit UpFront members?
– A business that would be interested in donating new clothes, art supplies, everyday living essentials, etc?
– An event/business that would like to invite UpFront members to attend for free or a discounted price?
Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more, join, and refer LGBTQ+ young people.
UpFront launched October 2017. Based on their experiences and a need for meaningful services, the original group leaders worked with Bryan to design and implement the UpFront model. After successfully leading 4 group cycles, Rosie and Brie moved on to the next stage of their professional journey. Their influence informed the group’s current approach of all members being group leaders.
Rosie Williams was one of UpFront’s original Group Leaders. Rosie entered foster care at 8 months-old, and spent the next 20 years placed in more than 30 foster care placements, including foster homes, group homes, residential treatment centers and hospitals. Rosie currently works with CASA – NYC as a youth advocate and speaker. She formerly worked with You Gotta Believe’s Nobody Ages-out Youth Movement. Rosie does not want foster youth to suffer the same losses she experienced while she was in foster care.
Brie Hayes was one of UpFront’s original Group Leaders. She was in foster care for six years. Brie believes things happen that we can’t always control, but we can always learn from them and grow stronger. People describe Brie as passionate, funny, thoughtful, artistic and caring. She plans to attend college to study grant writing and business management. She is working as a chef in training now. She formerly worked with You Gotta Believe’s Nobody Ages-out Movement. Her message to adults is”you don’t always have to understand, but you should always be there to support young people the best you can.”