QUEERSPACE collective launches mentorship program for LGBTQ youth in Minnesota

Last week, the newly formed QUEERSPACE collective in Minnesota announced the launch of QUEERSPACE hangouts, an intergenerational mentorship program creating safe, inclusive space to support LGBTQ youth. The 2021 pilot program is the organization’s first step to fulfill its vision for all LGBTQ youth to have a supportive community to help them develop a strong sense of pride in who they are, where they come from and where they want to go.

“As a young person, I was fortunate to be surrounded by many LGBTQ+ adults, which provided an amazing foundation of support when I came out in my early 20s. When I started looking into resources available today for LGBTQ+ youth, I was surprised to find that of 5,000 youth mentorship programs across our nation, fewer than 1%, offer any formal programming for LGBTQ+ youth,” said Nicki Hangsleben, founder and executive director of QUEERSPACE collective. “When we saw the statistics around the challenges facing youth in our community and the limited resources, we knew that not only was this an issue of justice, but that we have a responsibility to respond.”

The new youth-centric intergenerational mentorship program from QUEERSPACE collective, QUEERSPACE hangouts will match LGBTQ youth with LGBTQ adults for mentorship. Youth and mentors will meet weekly to build a relationship, set and accomplish goals and have some fun. Monthly mentoring events from QUEERSPACE will provide both mentors and mentees a broader sense of community and feelings of inclusivity and pride.

“Our programs will support youth from a diversity of social, economic and racial backgrounds, and we are especially committed to helping youth of color who also identify as LGBTQ+,” said Hangsleben. “LGBTQ+ youth of color sit at the intersection of multiple identities and face additional challenges that we want to support through QUEERSPACE hangouts.” 

The QUEERSPACE hangouts pilot program will leverage local partnerships to reach youth in the Twin Cities with expansion to greater Minnesota in 2022.  QUEERSPACE collective is seeking mentor volunteers as well as donations to support its programs. To learn more about program requirements, including training and background checks, visit queerspacecollective.org