The West Suburban Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Youth (WAGLY), founded in March 2011, has received a grant from Foundation for MetroWest to support its Umbrella program for transgender and gender-nonconfirming youth. The award was based on the recommendation of students in the Foundation for MetroWest Youth in Philanthropy Program at Concord Academy and was approved by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Youth in Philanthropy is a hands-on program that teaches students the fundamentals of grant making, giving back to the community, and the nonprofit world.
Students from Concord Academy made a site visit in the fall to evaluate the Umbrella Program, which meets monthly and provides support for transgender and gender non-conforming teens, a population that is often misunderstood and for which there are few resources. Facilitated by a trans adult, the group draws youth from a wide geographic area and provides social and educational activities in a safe environment.
Marie Caradonna, Director of Programs, and Kathy Kaufmann, chair of the WAGLY Council of Advisors, met with the Concord Academy students. Ms. Caradonna noted, “The students asked excellent questions about not only the specifics of the program but also about the general experience of adolescents who must negotiate the challenges of being transgender or gender non-confirming in addition to the natural upheaval of the teen years.” Dr. Kaufmann commented, “It was a pleasure to meet with this group of bright and engaged young people, who were clearly well-prepared for the meeting and are learning at an early age about thoughtful philanthropy. We are thrilled with their decision to recommend such a generous grant.”
WAGLY, under which Umbrella operates, provides a safe haven for GLBTQ high school youth and their straight allies to meet, share common experiences, and support each other. A youth-led, adult-supported organization, WAGLY meets weekly on non-holiday Mondays at 6:45 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Wellesley Hills located at 309 Washington Street, Wellesley Hills, MA.
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