Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, according to the most recent figures from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), are more likely to experience harassment in school based on their sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity. The Courage Campaign, a California-based advocacy organization, wants to do something about these shocking statistics, but they need your help.
Founded by Rick Jacobs, the Courage Campaign describes itself as an “online organizing network that empowers more than 750,000 grassroots and netroots activists to push for progressive change and full equality in California and across the country.” Among the Courage Campaign’s signature programs is Camp Courage, a place where LGBT young people learn valuable leadership skills through team building exercises and the organization of a “story of self.”
Michael Bridges, the Courage Campaign’s director of development explains that the “story of self” method empowers LGBT youth by encouraging them to find their voice, and use it effectively to engage whole communities in the struggle for human rights. “Camp Courage revolves around learning to share one’s personal story. After all,” said Bridges, “stories connect listeners and change hearts.” Using this message, Camp courage has successfully trained more than 1,700 young people, and even held one of the training events entirely in Spanish.
If the “story of self” model seems familiar, it is no coincidence. GLAAD also employs this storytelling method when media training members of the LGBT community, and their allies. Here at GLAAD, we believe that words and images matter. We applaud that the same can be said of Camp Courage.
The Courage Campaign, along with dozens of other non-profits, is currently in the running to win a $50,000 grant courtesy of the Refresh Everything contest, hosted by Pepsi. The organization, however, needs your help to continue to fund one of their most valuable programs, and you can do so with a simple click. “As you know, times are tough and we are trying every creative thing we can think of to raise funds for the important work of ensuring full equality.” said Bridges. The Refresh Everything contest is unique in that there is no need to whip out that checkbook.
All you have to do is click here to cast your vote. You can vote once a day until the December 31st deadline. If voted in the top 10, the organization would use the money to continue to fund this widely successful program. “The money would make a huge difference in the work that we do in defending and extending human rights through public education and training.” Bridges said.
At this time of year-end giving, GLAAD encourages our reading to support this program, and help Camp Courage empower LGBT youth. Even if you cannot donate monetarily, you can still support Camp Courage with your votes. All you have to do is click here.