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Alternative Fall Break

Over the Rainbow: LGBT Youth in Atlanta

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About The Trip: 

This trip will focus on the LGBT community through two organizations: Pride School Atlanta, an alternative school for students who identify as LGBT or those with LGBT parents, and CHRIS Kids, a community center and homeless shelter for LGBT youth. On this trip we will be working on various outreach programs, HIV/AIDS related education, and even have the opportunity to prepare for and participate in Atlanta’s Pride Parade on October 11th. Our ultimate goal will be not only to offer a much-needed hand to these organizations, but also to learn about the most prevalent and critical issues afflicting the community and reflect on ways to alleviate them.

About the Social Justice Issue: 

The statistics are staggering:

* 26% of LGBT youth identify bullying and lack of acceptance as their biggest concerns; 22% of non-LGBT students are most concerned about their grades
* The average GPA of LGBT students frequently physically harassed is half a grade lower than that of their peers
* 28% of LGBT youth dropped out of school due to peer harassment and are twice as likely to say they do not intend on graduating high school or attending college
* LGBT people comprise 40% of homeless youth and 17% of those in the juvenile corrections system

The mental, physical, and social tolls that being LGBT wreaks on children and teenagers is devastating, with long-lasting impacts on their health and academic performance. Those who do not grow up in a safe or supportive environment often are limited from, and even unaware of, the multitudes of opportunities available to other students. With our trip, we can serve as mentors and figures of inspiration and change, convincing LGBT youth that there is still so much hope to be had.

About the Leaders: 

Anthony Chau is a sophomore from New York City majoring in Psychology and Economics-Mathematics. In addition to acting as Vice President of Emory Pride, he serves on the executive board of Emory Reads and works as an ESL tutor, economics TA, and faculty research assistant. He ultimately hopes to pursue a career in public policy with the goal of advancing universal human rights and education reform.

Alex Sweeting is a sophomore from Nassau, The Bahamas, majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology. He is Vice-President of Emory Men’s Club Water Polo, a board member of Emory Neuroscience Association, a brother of Beta Theta Pi, a SAPA Peer Facilitator, and a Volunteer Emory Staff Member. He hopes to use this alternative break to give him first-hand experience into health education and more holistic insight into at-risk communities to aid him on his goal of eventually becoming a doctor.

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