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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 15, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 03
Chely Wright, Richard Blanco and Ed Murray to bring hope to LGBTQ+ Youth at Pizza Klatch's 2nd Annual Gayla
Section One
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Chely Wright, Richard Blanco and Ed Murray to bring hope to LGBTQ+ Youth at Pizza Klatch's 2nd Annual Gayla

Olympia, WA - Pizza Klatch, a youth-focused LGBTQ+ nonprofit in Thurston County, will host their 2nd Annual fundraising Gayla: 'A Slice of the Good Life' on Saturday, January 23 at 7 p.m. at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts - 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia, WA; 360-763-8585.

'The 2nd annual Gayla is the single most important fundraiser for Pizza Klatch. It encourages us to rally around our LGBTQ+ youth and demonstrate the incredible support that exists in the greater Thurston County Community,' said Kathy Kravit-Smith, Pizza Klatch Board President. 'As a member of the LGBTQ+ community for over 40 years, I am delighted to see changes that have led to marriage equality and advancements in transgender health care. However, more than ever LGBTQ+ youth need a supportive environment where they can explore who they are and to begin to understand how essential they are to a rich and diverse society.'

'We are so honored to have support from this year's star performers Chely Wright and Richard Blanco as well Seattle's own openly gay Mayor Ed Murray at this year's 'A Slice of a Good Life' GAYLA. They truly understand and are behind the mission of Pizza Klatch. Although acceptance is improving for much of the LGBTQ+ community overall, youth are dealing with higher levels of bullying, harassment, and family rejection because they are coming out earlier at home and at school. Pizza Klatch is a place where they quickly learn they are not alone, where they can access critical support and resources and build a chosen family that lasts a lifetime,' said Pizza Klatch Executive Director, Jessica McKimmie.

EVENT DETAILS:
VIP Reception (6:00-7:00pm) will feature keynote speaker Ed Murray, Seattle's openly gay Mayor and other special guest speakers plus catering and wine from Swing Wine Bar. VIPs will also enjoy the best seats in the house.

Main Event (6:30-7:30pm) Silent auction and plenty of networking with LGBTQ+ and allied professionals, Pizza Klatch youth participants, dignitaries, and public elected officials. A sponsored Panowicz Jewelry RING EVENT provides guests with a chance to win jewelry worth over $1500.

Mainstage Performances (7:30-10pm) include the talents of:

Student speakers from two Thurston County high schools to share how Pizza Klatch has helped them build community and survive the challenging experience of being an LGBTQ+ teen.

Richard Blanco, Poet Laureate at President Obama's second inauguration, writer, storyteller, multi-time winner of the Maine Literary Award for Poetry, and winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize and Thom Gunn Award for his 2012 book of poetry, Looking for the Gulf Motel, 'which relates Blanco's complex navigation through his cultural, sexual, and artistic identities.'

Chely Wright, first popular country musician to come out as Lesbian, star of autobiographical documentary Wish Me Away, author of Like Me, and founder of The Like Me Foundation, a LGBTQ+ community center and scholarship foundation in Kansas City, MO.

'A Slice of the Good Life' will raise much needed funds and awareness to continue Pizza Klatch's weekly lunchtime support groups in 11 area high schools, serving pizza and support to nearly 250 LGBTQ+ youth and allies each week. The organization aims to eliminate suicide and reduce bullying, with the mission to foster resiliency in LGBTQ+ youth and create a safe and positive school experience through support, education and empowerment.



TICKETS are Reserved Seating $17-$77, with $10 student discount, at any level, and VIP Tickets $117 (+$3 fee for Washington Center) and can be purchased at www.pizzaklatch.org/gayla

Event Sponsors include: Title Sponsor: AFSCME Local 443; Diamond Sponsor: South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) and SPSCC Foundation; Platinum Sponsor: Chehalis Confederated Tribe of Indians; Gold Sponsors: City of Tumwater, Karen Valenzuela, Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall, Lutheran Church Of The Good Shepherd, Kathryn & Susan Kravit-Smith, Steve & Kathleen Drew, Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder, Shephard Summer, Lacey Councilman Michael Steadman; Silver Sponsors: Rep. Sam Hunt, NOVA School, Beyond the Bridge Foundation, Paul Battan Law, Pride Foundation, Phoenix Offices, Thurston County Treasurer Shawn Myers, and more. Media Sponsors include: Mixx96 (KXXO96) & Seattle Gay News

ABOUT PIZZA KLATCH:
Pizza Klatch helps some of the most vulnerable youth in Thurston County. A Pizza Klatch 2014-2015 survey of high school students who participated in Pizza Klatch revealed 91% of students hear LQBTQ+ slurs used in a derogatory way, 70% of youth attendees had attempted to harm themselves in the past, and 34% of youth surveyed had tried at least once to end their life prior to attending Pizza Klatch. The support groups are truly working. 64% of participants feel less isolated at school, 45% use less alcohol and/or drugs, 71% feel more supported and listened to, and 63% think less frequently about suicide since attending Pizza Klatch.



Pizza Klatch's weekly lunch support groups are currently in the following schools: North Thurston and Timberline since 2008; Avanti since 2009; Tumwater since 2010; Olympia since 2011; River Ridge since 2012; Capital and Black Hills since 2013; Rainier since 2014; Tenino and South Sound since 2015.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Executive Director Jessica McKimmie at jessica@pizzaklatch.org, cell (619)-822-9161 For more information: www.pizzaklatch.org/gayla.

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