For many youth, Saturday, June 23, was their first time holding someone of the same-sex in their arms to dance with, a landmark in a young person's life and a highlight of a Pride Weekend full of excitement.
In what may have been the largest GLBT youth dance ever held in the Northwest, two hundred and eighty-five youth participated in the Youth Pride Dance, co produced by Lambert House and Lifelong AIDS Alliance (LLAA) at the Neighbours Underground. The DJ played a mix of great dance music while youth ages 13 to 22 filled the dance floor for four hours. LLAA provided HIV testing and counseling on-site and two youth took an HIV test during the evening.
Lambert House Executive Director Ken Shulman called the event a great success "This is the largest event in Lambert House history and provided many youth with a positive, life changing experience as it was their first GLBT dance," he said.
Donny Gerke of LLAA agreed, "I just thought it was a fabulous event."
The alcohol-free event was free to youth as the two agencies underwrote all the cover charges for Neighbours as well as the cost of soft drinks. In order to ensure a large turnout, youth who helped to promote the event participated in a Lambert House raffle for an iPod mini. LLAA collected 111 evaluation forms from youth through a questionnaire while Lambert House volunteers staffed the door and coat check and chaperoned the dance floor.