If there is one safe space for LGBTQ youth, it’s SunServe. If there’s one person who leads them, it’s Mandi Hawke.
Hawke, SunServe’s Director of Youth Services, leads a team that gives LGBT teens a safe space in the community. They have weekly youth groups, an annual Youth Prom, Summer Field Days, Movie Nights and have a Youth Leadership Council. Even with how much SunServe offers, Hawke believes there could always be more help from the community.
“I believe there could always be more support: financially, emotionally and physically through volunteering and activism,” Hawke said. “However, over the years I have seen the culture shift in a significant way for the better. I only hope that will continue!”
It’s young people that face some big challenges with affordable housing, steady income and employment. In the future, though, Hawke thinks it can and will get better.
“Despite the unfriendly political climate we are entering I believe the LGBTQ community has passed the threshold of no return and will continue to become stronger and more united,” Hawke said. “I could not be more proud to be part of a community who has overcome so much!”