Original "MySpace" Blog on the development of GLBTAYS now dba Free2Be

November 27, 2009

Subject:      Thoughts on a Non-Profit Organization for GLBT youth

Posted Date 9/2/2009 3:44:00 PM

Body: With the support of my friends and family I have been working on plans for a non-profit organization.  After prayer, discussion with friends, consideration of my experience and abilities, and research I feel strongly that the mission scope should be something like this:

 

To provide youth and young adults (GLBT) anticipating release from, or in the care of social services (this is an example of where participants/clients might be found) with an array of services and resources to assist and guide them in making a successful transition to become independent adults.

 

I anticipate providing housing, a supportive spiritual community, career counseling, individual and/or group therapy for social/emotional issues, and an array of other services to develop or build upon skills needed to be successful members of the community. 

 

Subject:      Program Proposal development

Posted Date 9/3/2009 3:56:00 PM

Body: Today has been a long stressful day.  My aunt had surgery this morning.  I was there with my cousins during the surgery. She did very well and should be home in a day or two.  I will be visiting her again this evening  ....

I have had the program proposal on my mind. I worked on it while waiting this morning. I went to discuss the ideas with Rebecca but she had people coming for an appointment and we could not talk long. I am going to see her again tomorrow.  I am having a meeting with Ron early next week, probably Monday, to go over the proposal.  I anticipate this being a very productive meeting.  I presented a brief overview to him Wednesday night.  He will be able to give me an idea of the support I can expect from the church community. 

Sharing a dream can be wonderful but it can also be difficult.  Some people are extremely positive and appear to share my excitement while others are pessimistic and question where funding will come from and/or comment on how hard it is going to be to make it happen.  I am thankful for both responses. 

Rebecca asked me an important question today.  She asked what would happen with these plans if I take a job.  I responded that the plans would continue because the needs of the people the program will serve will not disappear because I take a job.

As this proposal is developing I see the talent I have for recognizing needs and the skills I have for finding ways to assist others being combined with the compassion I feel for people.  This is creating what must be called 'Passion'.

 

Subject:      Program Proposal development

Posted Date 9/5/2009 1:17:00 PM

Body: Today I am working out the initial details of my proposal.  I need this ready for the meeting with Ron on Monday.  Many of the ideas have been formulated while walking, while sitting in worship services, and while writing e-mails to friends....I will also be pulling from the research I started.  Research...once I get the initial outline together I will be able to use it to do more specific research.  I have also been thinking of people from my past who may be able to provide support.  I will post my outline when this initial version is complete.  I hope this will be later today.

 

Subject:      Program Proposal development

Posted Date 9/5/2009 5:14:00 PM

Body:      ............

Mission Statement-  To provide Transitional Independent Living Services to youth ages ... through ... who are struggling with sexual identity issues.  (Sexual identity issues needs to be broken down into specific details for a narrative document)

 

Goal:  To provide an array of services and resources to include supported independent living.

 

Objective:  A successful transition to adulthood.

 

Services to include but not be limited to the following components:....

Spiritual Development, Community Resources and Transportation, Communication Skills,Social Development, Employment, Money Management

Decision Making, Study Skills, Housing, Daily Living Skills, Self-Care, Community Involvement, Youth Law issues

 

Additional life skills, to include, but not limited to: ....

Team-building, Leadership development. Positive self expression, Socialization, Self-esteem Positive values

 

These are common components of a supported independent living program.  As specific parameters for the targeted population are developed each component will become specific to the needs of this population.

 

Subject:      Program Proposal Development

Posted Date 9/7/2009 7:46:00 AM

Body: Today I received an e-mail from a friend in Australia.  She is a school administrator.  I met Jane several years ago when she was traveling around the world visiting schools.  She and a group of colleagues came to my school.  I sat next to Jane during a discussion group and was fortunate to be able to talk with her.  Jane does not yet know about this proposal but she said something about her life that I needed to hear... "Life is frightening in a wonderful way but my experience (and all be it I wasn't brave enough until I turned 50) is that you need to jump out there without the net to really live!" Someone said last week that life is a constant battle between fear and faith. I feel this battle each day.  When I feel doubt I remind myself that God has blessed me...I remind myself of the help I have received from family, friends, and strangers...I remind myself that someone needs my help and the help of all the people who decide to help with this program. As Jane said,.."Life is frightening in a wonderful way..." 

I meet with Ron today.

 

Subject:      Proposal Development

Posted Date 9/8/2009 11:53:00 AM

Body:      I had a very productive afternoon with Ron yesterday.  It was extremely helpful to exchange ideas.  I want everyone to know how thankful I am that you are sharing this experience with me.  Some people are following this blog and others I talk with in person or on the phone.  I also post some comments on Facebook.  

 

I know others will share in my excitement and joy when they learn what is happening with these ideas!  This proposal is something that is very near to the lives and hearts of the GLBT community including our families.  I have no doubt that God is with me as I take this journey.

 

Ron helped me see the close connection that our non-GLBT families have with this project.  They are our extended community and many of our non-GLBT family members are affected in negative ways because of the love they have for us.  This component is one that I am focusing on today as I work.

 

I hope that you are able to 'feel' the excitement, joy, and dedication that I am experiencing and most of all I hope you will be blessed by traveling with me on this journey...

 

Subject:      Program Development

Posted Date 9/8/2009 7:34:00 PM

Body:      Something very special is happening tonight as I work on program development...weeks ago the ideas changed to a vision that was taking shape and now while I am working and as more and more people are aware and supportive the vision suddenly feels 'real'...I believe it exists now and I am simply molding it into the shape it will take...like a painting or statue.  I am seeing it as a form of sanctuary...a safe supportive place to live and grow.

 

Subject:      Proposal Development

Posted Date 9/11/2009 9:20:00 PM

Body:      Today I sent the following e-mail to several friends:

 

Dear Friends,

 

I recently began a journey with a purpose that is dear to my heart.  I am in the process of developing a proposal for a program which will eventually become a non-profit organization.  This program is being designed to address needs of youth from the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, and Transgendered) and the extended community of family members.  I have begun a blog on MySpace so you can be part of this journey.  This blog will allow you to see in greater detail what I am doing and why.

 

At this point I am finishing an initial program proposal.  I am presenting this plan to a group of prospective supporters on October 3rd.  I need your assistance.  I am asking you to review this initial proposal and provide feedback.

 

It is essential that I receive this help from my friends who are part of the GLBT community and those of you who are part of the extended community.  The issues the program addresses are relevant to each of us whether we have experienced them ourselves or know of those who have.  Just by knowing me and being considered a friend you are already part of this extended community.

 

When you agree to help I will send a file containing the proposal no later than September 19th.  I ask that you provide your feedback no later than September 26th.  

 

I know that God has prepared me to do this work and I hope you will join me and share in the joy found in helping young men and women who have experienced abuse, neglect, discrimination, prejudice, and fear.

 

With love and respect,

 

James Robinson

 

If any of you would like to review the draft proposal and provide feedback please send me a note. 

 

Subject:      Proposal Development

Posted Date 9/12/2009 11:46:00 AM

Body: God teaches me and blesses me in the most interesting ways.  When I awoke this morning I had the first response waiting for me in my e-mail.  It came from a dear friend who has helped me in the past when I was really struggling.  This is what she said, "James, I wish you well with your project.  While I appreciate your asking me to participate, I cannot, however, in good conscience be a part of this endeavor.  I hope you will understand...." I had a mixed set of feelings but the most significant of these was sadness.  Sadness because I do understand why she feels as she does.  The religious background of this person does not allow her to give her support.   Sadness because I wonder if she had known that I was part of this community if she would have helped me when I needed her.  Sadness because I know the joy and freedom that she is missing.  I love her for all she has done for me.  She has a kind heart.  We are all on different journeys and God offers all of us his guidance.  I told her I do understand and thanked her for her friendship.  This was the first of what will probably be many difficult things that happen to me on this journey.  This small example of religious intolerance from good people only strengthened my dedication and reminded me of the struggles that our young people are facing.  They face struggles that are much harder and cause more damage than any that I will face.  It is difficult for me to imagine refusing help but this is my journey.  I must remember that we are on many different journeys following many different paths.  I hope and pray that these will converge and bring us all to a place where we experience the joy and peace that Christ offers.

 

Subject:      Proposal Development

Posted Date 9/14/2009 6:30:00 AM

Body: Today I am going to Birmingham to visit my friend Annah.  She has a couple of leads on contacts for me that should be very helpful.  

 

I lived in Birmingham for about 11 years.  While living there I volunteered for three years with a child abuse prevention agency.  I met some wonderful people and there are a couple that I want to find and tell about this program.  

 

A goal for today is to develop a time-line for the next few months.  I hope and pray things will progress as quickly as I am planning.  

 

Subject:      Proposal Development

Posted Date 9/15/2009 6:21:00 AM

Body: I had a great trip to Birmingham yesterday.  I reconnected with many old friends.  I also had some very good time to think while driving.  

 

My friend Annah is living at First Light.  First Light is a shelter for women in downtown Birmingham.  First Light and its supporters provide the women with a safe place to live, food, and help with other basic needs.  I am thankful the women who live there have found such a good place while they need support.

 

Knowing Annah is a joy and a blessing.  She had some wonderful things to say about this program.  When I visit she has so much to tell me about what she is experiencing.  I also have the opportunity to speak to some of the other women.  I am inspired by the hope I find in these women but I also feel sadness when I learn about some of the difficulties they face finding help that is appropriate for their needs.

 

Annah told me yesterday that during the 3 weeks she has lived "on the streets"  (but fortunately in the shelter) she has met several young women from the GLBT community who meet the criteria I am developing for this program.   Just think...in such a short time in one area consisting of a few city blocks Annah has met 3 or 4 young women from our community who need help and who also fall within the age group we are targeting in these initial stages!  Multiply this by just 100 for Birmingham alone and we have 400 young women from our community who could be helped by this program!  We know the actual number is even larger because this is a simple estimate of just one portion of the targeted population and this is just Birmingham...1 medium size city in 1 state of 1 country.

 

So far 8 people will be reviewing the draft proposal!  I will add 2 or 3 more before sending it out on Friday.  One friend told me he did not receive the e-mail so I am re-sending it this morning to those who have not replied.

 

Today I am working on the time-line, add the ideas that came to me yesterday, sending e-mails, doing research, and working on the draft proposal.

 

I do not think you will find it difficult to understand why I am working to develop this program.  I already feel as if time is flying by us.  I feel as if I am in a race against time because I know that somewhere the first people we will help are already waiting...please keep this in your prayers.

 

Subject:      Proposal Development

Posted Date 9/16/2009 8:14:00 AM

Body: I hope this blog is serving two purposes.  One is to keep readers updated on the progress being made toward starting this program.  The second is to share some of my experiences.  I want you to know things that touch my heart as I work toward this goal. Monday while I was in Birmingham my friend Annah introduced me to another woman who is living in a shelter.  We talked and as she spoke I realized that she was telling me her story because she wanted me to understand the struggles she experiences.  (Why else would she tell me?  I do the same thing.  I share my story because I want people to understand.)  As this woman continued to share I shared some of my experiences with her.  Immediately I felt a new connection with this woman.  She knew she was talking with someone who, to her surprise, did know what she was talking about...as I was leaving I hugged her and she said, "You smell good.  We don't get many good smelling people around here." The lotion I was using was given to me as a gift.   Through a gift given to me this woman had a pleasant moment.  I am blessed.

 

Subject:      Proposal Development

Posted Date 9/16/2009 9:28:00 AM

Body: I have a time-line developed. I am working on a program name...how does GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services (GAYS) sound!  One of my advisers, Ron, put this together with some of his ideas and some of mine :-).  Ron said he was good with acronyms and I guess he proved himself right!  So far, I have 10 people who will be reviewing the draft proposal!!!  More people are reading the blog and I am getting supportive messages from people. I have had some personal issues this week and God blessed me with the ability to bounce back quickly.   The passion for this cause which he has put in my heart has filled me with a new joy and I was lifted right back up!

 

Subject:      Proposal Development

Posted Date 9/18/2009 9:35:00 AM

Body: I almost have the draft proposal prepared.  I will be sending it out via e-mail later today.  Approximately 14 people will be reviewing this draft.  I am very thankful for the excellent response to the request I sent out asking for people to review this draft.  There was only 1 negative response and only a couple of people failed to reply. Among the reviewers are members of the GLBT and Non-GLBT communities.  They are from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, and Texas.

 

Subject:      Proposal Development

Posted Date 9/18/2009 1:57:00 PM

Body: The draft proposal has been sent to 15 people for review and suggestions.  I am thankful for all the support. The draft is a basic skeleton of the proposal.  It does not contain specific details about the various components.  I am looking forward to the feedback and suggestions which I will receive.  After receiving this information I will work on developing an initial proposal to present to potential supporters. By the end of October I hope to have held an initial meeting of a Board of Directors where we will create the necessary materials to apply for tax exempt status.

 

Subject:      Proposal Development

Posted Date 9/21/2009 4:52:00 PM

Body: I am receiving feedback on the draft proposal I sent out last Friday. Today I was talking with a young man from the GLBT community here in Huntsville.  While talking it occurred to me that in many ways he fits the criteria of the population I am targeting.  I want to find some way to get him some support even though the program is not up and running.  I will put together a list of assistance and services that I can already access.  This will be another step toward establishing the program.

 

Subject:      Proposal Development

Posted Date 9/24/2009 11:34:00 PM

Body: I am receiving responses to the draft proposal I sent out last week.  I have several questions and suggestions to consider.  I asked that the feedback be sent by this coming Sunday.   This will give me next week to finish the initial proposal before the meeting on October 3rd. I tried to relax this week but was not able.  I had two job interviews.  I also had a dream about the program.  In the dream young people arrived to participate before I had the program established.  I was trying to pull it together while finding housing for everyone.  I remember the feeling that came with knowing I did not yet have the money I needed.  I also remember how I felt when I decided to provide what I could while having faith that God would take care of me.

 

Subject:      Proposal Development

Posted Date 9/25/2009 7:36:00 AM

Body: I am processing the feedback from the reviewers of the draft.  The feedback already includes several suggestions and questions which need my attention.  I am thankful for all the responses to the draft.  I am also excited about the meeting with potential supporters on October 3rd. The upcoming events on my time-line include completing the initial proposal, presenting the proposal at the meeting on Oct. 3rd, establishing an initial Board of Directors to create the documents necessary for tax exempt status, applying for a business license, applying for tax exempt status, and meeting with leaders of homeless shelters for their input.  

 

Subject: Proposal Development

Posted Date 9/28/2009 2:02:00 PM

Body: This Saturday Ron is hosting a small gathering of friends so I will have the opportunity to tell them about this project.  They have been given the draft proposal so they have an idea what to expect.  I am thankful and excited.  This will be the first presentation to a group...hopefully the first of many. Today I have been processing several ideas and concerns that came to me in the feedback to the draft proposal. 

E-mail and messaging programs are GREAT!  I have been able to talk with friends online as I work.  It is so encouraging to receive their support and suggestions when I feel I am struggling with an idea or a problem.

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services

Posted Date 10/3/2009 5:01:00 PM

Body: The meeting this afternoon with potential supporters was INCREDIBLE!  I knew it would be a good meeting but it exceeded my expectations. The group is now a group of supporters and not a 'group of potential supporters'.  I am exhausted after talking for so long.  People who do not already know will learn that I have a lot to say when it comes to this program.  Once I start talking the story of how God has led me to this point in my life unfolds and the passion I feel for this cause should be obvious to anyone listening. I came away from the meeting with many things to consider... I will be writing e-mails and sending text messages to many people tonight and tomorrow. A time-line was developed which closely matches the one I was already using and networking is beginning on a larger scale.  (Did you notice the blog is no longer Proposal Development?)

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services

Posted Date 10/4/2009 7:34:00 AM

Body: I first awoke at 4:00 a.m....as I sit here now waiting for the time when I will leave for worship service at Spirit of the Cross I feel so blessed and I am full of joy and excitement. After doing research this morning I learned that I have the number of board members required to incorporate GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services in Alabama! Now I will take my next step on this incredible journey...in my mind's eye I see, and in my heart I feel the presence of friends walking with me...

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services 

Posted Date 10/5/2009 12:19:00 PM

Body: What a weekend!  I spent at least 7 hours introducing this program to interested people.  I was blessed to see them become excited by what we are doing.  I have a Board of Directors composed of wonderful men and women who are living Christ centered lives.  I created an e-mail address: glbtays@gmail.com .   Next, I will purchase a website and apply for a business license. In a brief 2 months this dream has become a reality.  Now the real work begins.  I am confident we will successfully provide the services we are planning for young people from this community.  There is a tremendous need and God has blessed every step I have taken.  All of those involved know He is with us. Thank you for being part of this journey!

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services

Posted Date 10/5/2009 3:11:00 PM

Body: Today the program began to take on a life of its own outside of my planning activities.  I suddenly began to remember what it felt like to organize contacts, manage communications with several people, plan activities, and keep a running 'to do' list... I hope to have an outside job soon because this program will not be in need of a full time director for several months.  There are some very important steps to establishing this program which I need to take care of while I have a free schedule. I am thankful for the growing base of supporters as well as Board members that I can now ask to help me.  I must remind myself that I am not alone.  I do not have to do it all myself.  Several people have very clearly told me they want to help.  I have to begin to step back and allow other people to take 'ownership' with me in this process.  Up until now I have felt that I had to keep this dream alive or it would fade away.  Now it is not only my dream but the dream of many friends in this community. 

It was part of my dream to share my passion for this program with others in order to turn the dream into reality.  Now that it is a reality I am sitting here realizing that I have to trust everyone who is on the journey with me.  I must stay open to the input and support that I have wanted.  God has answered my prayers and I am seeing that I need to learn how to accept his giving me what I wanted...  I need to accept this intangible gift of his love being shown through the love others are showing both me and the young people we will be serving.  It is interesting to feel so blessed yet somewhat afraid at the same time.   Please keep me and this process in your prayers.  Most importantly, keep the young men and women who need us in your prayers.  Thank you.

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services

Posted Date 10/7/2009 11:59:00 AM

Body: Today is a beautiful October day!  Sunshine and the perfect temperature.  I am thankful to be here in the mountains of North Alabama.  It is a beautiful place to live.  My Board of Directors and I feel it is the right place to establish GLBTAYS.  I did have some concerns but with the guidance and assurance of these wonderful people I know we are on the right path. I was not given either of the jobs at the library.  This tells me that God has something different planned for me.  I am praying for patience and faith as I wait to see what is in store for me. The fact that I do not have an outside job does mean that I have plenty of time to devote to GLBTAYS.  This is one of the reasons I knew it was the right time in my life to start this work.  I seriously doubt that I could have completed all the planning and development work that I have been able to do during the past 9 weeks if I were employed. I have one meeting scheduled tomorrow and a second planned but not confirmed.   Some of our supporters are going on a cruise with other people from our spiritual community next week.  I am excited because I know they will be talking about GLBTAYS.  I am thankful they will have the opportunity to share their personal joy & excitement about program. Forming a Board of Directors is critical to the success of any program.  This is especially true of the initial Board which will establish the parameters within which the program will operate.  I am in the process of establishing this initial Board of Directors.  Please keep those who have already accepted my invitation in your prayers.  I ask that you also pray for those who are praying about their decision to accept and also to guide me now and in the future as I select people to invite to be part of this critical component of GLBTAYS.

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services

Posted Date 10/8/2009 5:32:00 PM

Body: This was a very productive day.  I discussed Board of Director membership with two more people and Kerri and I were able to a substantial amount of planning.<p> </p>I am going to begin logging the time I spend working on GLBTAYS.  I will be asking the Board members and other volunteers to do the same.  We will need this documentation when we begin applying for grants. The past couple of days have been intense. Tomorrow I plan to review all of this week's accomplishments.

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services

Posted Date 10/9/2009 7:07:00 PM

Body: Today has been a very good day.  I handled some e-mails which needed my attention for GLBTAYS and my Amazon store required several hours of work.  The members of the Board of Directors confirmed November 7th for our first meeting and I scheduled a meeting with Richard, our Pastor at Spirit of the Cross. God is with us as we develop this program.  I started this blog in early September and look where we are in just 6 weeks!!!

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services

Posted Date 10/10/2009 4:09:00 PM

Body: I am confident God is guiding us to support the young men and women of the GLBT community who are suffering due to sexual orientation or gender identity issues.  I believe God is giving us this program to reach others just as He uses our willing hearts to reach others with the love of Christ. Each day I spend time thinking about how God is blessing me and this program.  I am so fortunate to be able to pursue this dream.  I am thankful for the many people who are offering their support.  You are playing a vital role in the development of this program.  In a brief period of time GLBTAYS has been transformed from a desire in my heart to do something positive to an actual program with a growing support base.  

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services

Posted Date 10/11/2009 6:04:00 AM

Body: I am searching for an attorney to serve on the Board of Directors.  To be considered this attorney must have a good professional reputation and the passion needed to take ownership with the other members of the BOD and myself in the mission and goals of GLBTAYS.  glbtays@gmail.com

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services

Posted Date 10/12/2009 7:37:00 AM

Body:  I continue to be amazed and thrilled at the unexpected ways God blesses me.  As I work on this program in its very early stages I sit and listen to the speakers at the Gay Rights Rally in Washington D.C.  It took place yesterday.  I listened to part of it yesterday on C-SPAN and today it is being rebroadcast on C-SPAN 2.  My heart hurts when I listen to speakers talk about the youth from the GLBT community who are homeless and those who gave up hope and ended their lives.  My resolve to begin this program is strengthened as my awareness of the tremendous need in our community is increased.  

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services summary to date...

Posted Date 10/13/2009 4:37:00 AM

Body: Today I am writing a summary for those of you who may just be joining us.  It is lengthy but remember it is a summary of 30 blog entries. Last August I began talking with friends about my desire to develop a non-profit organization to serve young people from the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender(ed) community.  To be successful I needed to focus on a specific target population.  I selected young adults from 18 to 22 or 24 years old.  This population presents fewer legal issues and allows me to establish the initial program before moving on to other phases.  Potential phases include lowering the age range to include adolescents, developing an emergency shelter to provide safe and supportive short-term care to adolescents, the possible establishment of a 'group home', and other community services such as a Center where young people from the GLBT community and those questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity will have a place for safe healthy socialization.  Addressing the spiritual component of this program is critical to its success.   My personal spiritual journey has been enriched by my family at Spirit of the Cross in Huntsville, Alabama and I want to share the joy and security I find at this Christ centered church. God is giving me the opportunity to share this dream on a personal level with people from the church.  Members of this family are already opening their hearts and sharing in this dream.  While at a Bible study I mentioned to Ron that I had an idea for a non-profit organization.  He quickly embraced this dream.  He met with me and gave me the opportunity to share my story and my ideas.  After our meeting he gathered a group of people from the church that he believed would be interested in learning about the program.  This meeting was incredible.   The entire group took ownership with me in this dream and in the actual development of the program.<p> </p>Before the group meeting I worked for many hours developing a draft proposal.  I was blessed to be able to sent it to 15 people for review.  Many of these friends provided feedback which I used to finish the initial draft.   During this time Ron helped me create an initial name for the program.   This name was included in the draft and I asked people for feedback and suggestions regarding the name.  After careful consideration I decided to use the name Ron helped me create.  Ron knows I consider myself an advocate and that I want advocacy to be part of the program so he suggested it be incorporated in the name of the program.  I had been working on a name such as GLBT Community Services or GLBT Youth Services.  Ron suggested GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services. Ron said he was good at acronyms and he is...GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services is GAYS.  <p> </p>In many cases I am using GLBTAYS to refer to the program.  I want to make the name 'The Center for GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services' but I realize GLBTAYS is broad enough to encompass this phase if we eventually include it as a service to the community. After the group meeting I began forming a Board of Directors.  The first Board of Directors is critical to the development of GLBTAYS because they will develop and approve the Articles of Incorporation and the By-laws for the agency as well as guide the initial development of the program.  As of today the Board of Directors consists of 3 people excluding myself.  I am not including myself in this number because I plan to take the position of Executive Director.  I have asked 2 more and I am waiting for their response.  I have plans to ask 2 or 3 others this week or the next.  If everyone accepts there will be 8 Board members at our first meeting which is already scheduled for November 7th.  I will continue asking people to join the Board as God guides me or until the Board develops a policy for recruiting Board members.  I have been advised that we should have 12 members. I am being very careful selecting people to invite to be on the Board of Directors because it is essential for me to have their support and for them to share this dream in order for us to develop a successful program.  I will need their support and assistance as I develop the components of the program and establish the agency in the community. I have a long 'to-do' list.  I want to complete as much of it as possible before the Nov. 7th meeting.  I do have help and offers of help from Board members and potential Board members as well as other supporters.  One of the things on my 'to-do' list is the creation of a Mission statement.  A basic statement I have developed is:  'To ensure the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of young people who are struggling because of sexual orientation or gender identity by offering an array of services designed to support clients as they become independent successful adults'. Thank you for your interest.  You may reach me at glbtays@gmail.com .

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services

Posted Date 10/17/2009 10:26:00 AM

Body:      Today I am sharing a letter from my friend Annah.  She is 25 years old and living in a women's shelter in Birmingham.  She wrote this for you. "To Whom This May Concern...AND THIS MEANS YOU! Now is not the time to mistreat our future generations for something, in light of the past decade's events, as trivial as their sexual orientation. Men and women everywhere, of all ages, are served with a constant hatred leaden spoon of injustice. What can we do about this?  Why can't we love each other? We live in a day and age where everyone is trying to grow, communicate, and prosper.  Everyone is preaching for peace. All we need to do is love one another?  Why, then, are these young men and women being left out of so much opportunity on grounds of discrimination over who they love? Ask yourself that. When the answer, the truth, comes to you allow yourself to feel what we feel concerning these precious young people.  Then ask how you can help. The time is NOW!" While undoubtedly frightened and concerned about her own life Anna takes the time to be concerned about others.  Annah...thank you for being an example of compassion and love.

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services

Posted Date 10/18/2009 7:54:00 AM

Body: Currently I am in the process of preparing for our first Board of Directors meeting on Nov. 7th.  This meeting is very important for several reasons.  One being that as we follow our time-line toward offering services each step is important to the next.  Several important things need to happen between our November meeting and our December meeting and the guidelines for these steps need to be established Nov. 7th.  <p> </p>Tomorrow Kerri and I will be looking at organizational materials she has been gathering from colleagues. Each day I plan and I try to contact more and more people in order to create a network of supporters.  I have reconnected with many old friends and met many new ones in person or via the internet. It is a beautiful Sunday morning and I am excited about worshiping at Spirit of the Cross with my spiritual family. Please send any information or suggestions which you feel will help us to: glbtays@gmail.com. Thank you!

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services

Posted Date 10/22/2009 8:43:00 AM

Body: This has been a busy and productive week.  Kerri and I had a meeting Monday where, among other things, we began making plans for a fund raiser.  The tentative date is December 12th.  This event will be our first opportunity to introduce GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services to the community. The proceeds will cover the initial expenses associated with creating the program.  Please set aside time during the evening of Saturday, December 12th to participate in this event.  I will have more information soon. I have moved our first Board of Directors meeting to the evening of November 13th.   Everyone has confirmed the date and time so I am eagerly awaiting this meeting.  We have several important things to consider and accomplish so that the development of the program can move forward. I had a great meeting with Richard Tuesday.  Richard is our Pastor at Spirit of the Cross.  I am very excited because Richard has agreed to serve on our Board of Directors! Yesterday was my birthday!   I had a great day.  I am blessed to be alive and thankful for the opportunity to develop GLBTAYS.  Last night  we began a new series of classes at church.  One class is about issues associated with death and grief and the other is about finding our spiritual gifts.  I attended the class about spiritual gifts and I am already looking forward to next week's class.  You are invited to come to one of these classes.  It is a great opportunity to meet people from our community who are living Christ centered lives.  (Wednesday evening 6:30 @ Spirit of the Cross) I remember several weeks ago writing that GLBTAYS was no longer an idea but had become a reality as I thought about it and talked about it more and more...  When I stop now and review all that we have accomplished and the growing 'to do' list in the notebook by my computer I know that God is with us. We have an address! GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services P.O. Box 3443 Huntsville, Alabama  35810

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services

Posted Date 10/23/2009 10:44:00 AM

Body: I created a Facebook page for the program.  You can find it by searching for GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services.  I am also running this blog on blogspot.com.   Many of my entries connect to Twitter through jamesrobinson63.  I have been able to tell a large number of people about GLBTAYS through these programs and I am looking forward to connecting and sharing with MANY more.  I am learning how to use all of these social/networking programs.  Any advice will be appreciated.

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services

Posted Date 10/27/2009 4:00:00 PM

Body: We are continuing to make excellent progress toward our goals.  There are now 5 confirmed members of the Board of Directors.  In addition to these I have asked 3 more. Kerri and I met Monday afternoon and worked for several hours.  We are preparing for the initial Board of Directors meeting in November as well as planning a fundraiser.  We planned to have the fundraiser in December but now it looks like the event will be in January.  This will give us more time for planning but it may also delay our application for tax-exempt status. One of the great things about working with the people who are helping with this program is knowing that we all believe this program is needed and that wonderful things will be done for many people through this work. Young men and women will find hope, safety, and love, possibly, for the first time in their lives...

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services

Posted Date 11/1/2009 4:36:00 PM

Body: Kerri is helping me prepare for the Board meeting on Nov. 13th.  There are many details which need to be addressed at this meeting and we are putting in many hours of preparation. We have also been making plans for our fundraiser.  I have moved the date of the fundraiser to January 16th. There was a scheduling conflict with the December date which caused the building to be unavailable.  The extra month gives us more time for additional planning and allows everyone to be more involved.  The fundraiser event will be a Coffee House with live entertainment.  I was reading the newsletter from OutCentral Cultural Center in Nashville and what did I see?  They are having a coffee house fundraiser this month!  I know it is a good idea when I see others using the same format for a fundraiser. I asked Sandy to research homeless and suicide statistics for young people and she provided me with a wealth of information.  I have a lot of reading to do and I am about to begin.   This is not pleasurable reading but it is necessary. I am thankful for the home which God has given me, for my family both at home and at Spirit of the Cross.  Thank you for caring about GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services and those we are working to help.

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services

Posted Date 11/7/2009 6:34:00 PM

Body: I continue to talk with people about the program and to network on the Internet but most of the work I am doing now is in preparation for the first Board of Directors meeting which is scheduled for November 13th. Six seats on the BOD are filled.  GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services will begin with this number but I am certain other seats will be filled shortly.  There continues to be great interest in what we are planning.  With the creation of this BOD we are well on our way to incorporating then filing for tax exempt status with the IRS. Look for more information to be added to this blog next weekend after the BOD meeting.

 

Subject: GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services

Posted Date 11/9/2009 8:32:00 AM

Body: Donations to help raise the money to file with the IRS will be GREATLY appreciated. GLBTAYS P.O. Box 3443 Huntsville, Alabama  35810

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services

Posted Date 11/14/2009 6:57:00 PM

Body: Our first Board of Directors meeting was very successful.  Everyone was present and we covered the entire agenda in the time allotted.  I think this was a very good way to begin.

 

We established our Mission Statement as:  GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services is a non-profit community service organization dedicated to engaging in effective advocacy for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender(ed) people. We are committed to ensuring the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of youth and young adults struggling due to sexual orientation or gender identity issues. Now I begin the continuous work of raising funds.  Our first major expenditure will be the fee associated with applying for tax-exempt status with the IRS.  We have a fundraiser planned for January 16th where we hope to raise the necessary amount.  Any donations made as seed money before we acquire tax-exempt status will be greatly appreciated.  If you are not able to give money at this time please keep us in your prayers and tell others what we are preparing to do.<p> </p>If you are able to donate financially please send checks payable to GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services or GLBTAYS to: GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services P.O. Box 3443 Huntsville, Alabama 35810

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services

Posted Date 11/23/2009 9:21:00 AM

Body: Our first Board of Directors meeting was a great success!  We accomplished all of our goals.  I am continuing to do program development as well as complete administrative tasks.  I have finished the Articles of Incorporation and I am going to the Probate Judge's office today to file them.  After this we will become GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services, Inc. Our first large fundraiser is planned for January 16th.  We will be using the fellowship hall at Spirit of the Cross church on Sparkman Drive.  The fellowship hall will be turned into a coffee house with live entertainment.  We are securing musicians to play jazz and blues music for the evening.  Right now we plan on holding the event from 7:00 until 10:00 p.m. Unless I can raise the money before the fundraiser we will be using the donations we receive to pay the fee associated with the application for tax-exempt status with the IRS.  It may take 120 days to receive this status once we apply.  The longer it takes us to apply the longer it will be before we can do significant fund raising.  This in turn pushes back the date when we plan to begin offering the majority of our services. I would like to apply in December or the first of January instead of the last of January.  I know money is tight, especially during the holidays, but I encourage you to donate to the program now.   Several people are following this blog and if you give a small amount and find some friends to each give a small amount we may be able to begin helping the young people in our community sooner.  I was speaking to two young men yesterday and they emphasized the need for programs like ours in the Huntsville area.  It touched my heart when they offered to help. I cannot complain, in fact, I am thankful and give thanks to God for the incredible progress we are making.  I had my first group discussion in early September and we are already incorporating.  I see this as a blessing and a sign to continue with the same passion which I have been working with since the beginning.  I feel in my heart that the first people we will help are waiting right now for us to begin.  They do not know who we are but they are in need and they are hoping something will happen to change their lives in a positive way! I want to thank each of you for following the progress of our development.  Seeing that people are reading my blog has been an incredible source of encouragement.  You make make your donations out to GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services and mail them to: GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services, Inc. P.O. Box 3443 Huntsville, Alabama  35810. If you use Facebook please join our group.  You can find us by searching for GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services.

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services, Inc.

Posted Date 11/23/2009 3:18:00 PM

Body: We are now GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services, Inc. and we are licensed to conduct business in Madison County.  I had a very interesting discussion with the IRS and learned several interesting facts.  One is that after Jan. 3, 2010 the application fees for filing for 501 (c) (3) status go up $100.  A second is that the 120 day turn-around time on applications does not exist at the moment.   They are currently processing applications that came in this past June.  They were not able to give me an estimate on how long it will take to process our application.  Once we apply we will be able to 'act as tax-exempt' while we wait for the application to be processed... I have so much to be thankful for!!!  In less than 3 months we have organized and are now a legal entity.  I know God will direct us and provide for the programs we plan to offer.  God's time-line and my time-line may not at first be the same...if I need to I will adjust :-).

 

Subject:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services, Inc.

Posted Date 11/26/2009 5:56:00 PM

Body: Thanksgiving Day

I am thankful to my Lord Jesus Christ, for being the ultimate example of love shown by the life he lived as well as by his death. I am thankful to God for blessing me and those who have helped begin this program. I am thankful for the inspiration I feel when I see the support people are giving this program.  This encourages me and gives me energy day after day to keep working on a project which began as an idea in my mind and a need in my heart. As I end this journal I want to thank each of you.  I was given a special gift each time I saw the blog was being read.  Over the past two months more and more people took part in this journey.  Whether you read one entry or all of them...I am thankful. The program has a page on Facebook.  You can find it and join by searching for GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services.  I hope I will see you in the list of supporters and that you will continue to follow our progress through that page. It is my prayer that each of you be blessed with the joy that is found by living a life of purpose, a life directed by the love of Christ.

 

Subject:      "Is this your first night homeless?"

Posted Date 10/19/2010 6:18:00 AM

Body: I went to the recent Jason & deMarco concert in Birmingham to learn about their S.A.F.E. (Safe, Affirming, Family Environment) programs because it is part of the mission of GLBT Advocacy & Youth Service, Inc. to provide similar services to youth and young adults throughout the Tennessee Valley region.  What I found at the concert inspired me.  These two men are not only incredible singers who share a message of love and hope through their music but they are also putting this message into action in the community.  They are turning their hopes and dreams for homeless youth into hands-on support by providing S.A.F.E. Spots which are drop-in centers where youth find a welcoming meeting place and receive free meals, fresh clothes, assistance with housing and employment resources, and information about other resources they may need.  They are also developing a network of S.A.F.E. Houses where youth 18 years and older will find long-term transitional housing which may range from 3 months to a year depending on the need of the individual.  The S.A.F.E. program shares statistics which say, of the estimated 1.6 million homeless American youth and young adults, up to 42 percent identify as GLBTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning).  Recent studies show that 26 percent of gay teens who came out to their parents or guardians were told that they MUST leave home.  Another study found that over 30 percent of GLBTQ youth reported suffering physical violence at the hands of a family member after coming out.  You can find this information on their website:  www.safthouseforall.org. 

 

I began this story with a question.  Is this your first night homeless?  I was surprised when a man on the street in Atlanta asked me this question.

The amount of homelessness in our community may surprise you.  If it does you are likely one of the fortunate ones who have not yet found yourself in this situation. People find themselves homeless at all ages, for a variety of reasons, and for various lengths of time. For some people being homeless may become a long term situation or it may be one or two nights or longer at a friend's home when your parents make you leave because they find out you are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or transgender(ed).

 

The answer to the man'ss question I realized later was "yes".  That was my first night homeless and thankfully so far, my last.  The man was a homeless man who put me at the front of the line at the Homeless Shelter in Midtown because I could not get home and needed a bus ticket.  I was hurt, without money, cold, and alone.  Throughout the night I sought help from police, hospital personnel, and others and it was not until I eventually reached the homeless shelter that I found people who were kind and helpful.  I had an apartment and considered myself so different from that homeless man.  The reality was that we were not as different as I wanted to believe.  The people that we often ignore and try to pretend are so different from us were the only people who were kind and understanding of me and my situation.  If you find yourself in a similar situation you may realize how much we all have in common.  It is one of my hopes for all of us that we realize how much we have in common and that we do not need a crisis to show us.  In my prayers I thank God for the kindness shown to me by that unknown homeless man.  His simple question opened my eyes.

 

As I talk with people and they share their stories with me I understand the extent to which the GLBT community is affected by the crisis of homelessness.  Members of the GLBT community often do not have the traditional family support extended to non-GLBT people.  I remember hearing many years ago that we are family.  The meaning of this becomes clearer to me as time passes.  As I work within the community, within this family, I see the incredible love and support we have for one another.  We understand our struggles in the intimate ways that people outside the GLBT community cannot understand.  For this reason and many others we are family.  I encourage you to support groups and organizations such as S.A.F.E. and GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services which work to encourage and promote a positive healthy image of the GLBT community as a whole.

 

James Robinson

Executive Director

GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services, Inc.

Huntsville, AL

www.glbtays.org

 

Subject:      Read about GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services on Scribd.com

DateCreated 6/18/2011 11:29:00 AM PostedDate 6/18/2011 9:29:00 AM

Body:      GLBT Advocacy & Youth Servcies on Scribd.com

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