by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Staff Writer
The SnoGLOBE Equality Alliance, an LGBTQ advocacy, support, and resource organization in Snohomish County, is making a difference by working towards creating a safe, healthy and drug-free community that celebrates diversity and provides a positive environment for LGBTQ youth, adults and allies.
"One of the things that stirred creating the coalition is we have the GLOBE support group for 14- to 20-year-olds that put on events for the kids like a 'Pink Prom' and other safe-and-sober events," Brenda Newell, SnoGLOBE treasurer and member of the organization's steering committee, told SGN. "A group of us decided to look beyond just youth-oriented activities to see what is happening in Snohomish County to figure out what other needs we could address if we got a coalition together."
As the people of Snohomish County embrace diversity and move towards acceptance of the LGBTQ community, SnoGLOBE officials say the youth are finding the support they need to make healthy decisions by enhancing their knowledge, self-esteem and pride. The members of SnoGLOBE are working to support this transformation by focusing on three areas: reducing phobias through education, supporting Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA), and developing resources and raising funds.
"Since 2007, we've had a lot of success. Recently, we've facilitated three events for GSAs in Snohomish County and partnered with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network [GLSEN] to implement a 'Day of Silence' in our schools," Newell told SGN. "In addition, we've held training - offered to anyone - about cultural diversity and gender identity, which were two incredibly successful events for this county."
According to the organization's officials, SnoGLOBE volunteers come from "all walks of life representing the diversity of our community."
Newell says that what's been really amazing is the outreach from the other major LGBTQ organizations throughout Washington State. "We have partnerships with the faith community and PFLAG," she said. "So many organizations have really stepped up to the plate to make the county well-represented within SnoGLOBE."
Newell says that it is exciting to see the organization's growth over the past few years. "We started just looking at the needs of the youth," she said, "but now we are looking at stuff like early childhood development to senior citizen issues. The focus has been expanded through the age continuum for the LGBTQ community."
One of SnoGLOBE's current projects is to put together activities that would foster dialogue for youth and senior adults. "We believe that within the LGBTQ population there is a need for dialogue between the age groups," Newell said. "This would bring the community together and provide positive mentorship."
Though there is a lot of positive work going on in Snohomish County, Newell says it isn't without challenge. "There are almost 700,000 people in our county," she said. "So much of the county is rural and people tend to be isolated. We have a lot of people who are not 'out' because they don't feel safe. Overcoming these challenges is a big part of our work - to create awareness so those people feel safe and have resources."
As far as Newell is concerned, SnoGLOBE is important because it's brought allies to the LGBTQ community in Snohomish County. "We have amazing allies partnering with us," she said, "because of that, so much positive change is occurring."
SnoGLOBE Equality Alliance is creating an affirming, equal, just and unified community by promoting safety, acceptance, support and resources for LGBTQ youth, adults and allies. SnoGLOBE is sponsored by PFLAG of Everett and Snohomish County and is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. For more information or to make a donation to SnoGLOBE, visit the organization online at www.snoglobe.us.
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