Choosing Our Roots is a new (and awesome!) grassroots nonprofit devoted to safely housing queer youth in Alaska. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth experience homelessness at disproportionately high rates, and while there are other organizations dedicated to serving homeless and marginally housed Alaskans, there are none that focus on the significant and unique needs of LGBTQ youth. Choosing Our Roots (COR) has emerged from that gap as a youth-led and queer-led initiative that is participant centered, culturally relevant, trauma informed, and chock-full of awesome. Our existence responds to a deep and persistent need for services that center the safety, needs, and potential of LGBTQ youth in our communities.
COR will begin offering services in 2018, working with homeless and marginally housed youth (ages 13-24) who identify as LGBTQ. Using a host home model that has been successfully established and refined in many other communities, COR will provide participants with more than just shelter: our services will empower participants to build supportive, long-term relationships with host families while growing into confident, competent young adults who know their own value and promise. To this end, COR will offer extensive training and ongoing support for host families, comprehensive case management for youth participants, and supports and training to families of origin, while coordinating with community partners to provide wraparound services. COR is currently developing services in the Anchorage and Mat-Su regions of Alaska with a strategic plan to expand to hub communities throughout Alaska by 2023. Our vision is that all queer Alaskan youth have access to safe homes and supportive communities, thus allowing them to thrive and to fulfill their own potential for awesomeness.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (July 2018)