OUT Maine receives $83,000 training expansion grant for Downeast, Northern and Western Maine

Oct 06, 2017

Thanks to the generosity of the Next Gen Foundation in Blue Hill, OUT Maine has received over $83,000 for an 18-month grant to expand its provider trainings to schools and providers in the most rural areas of Maine – the counties of Aroostook, Washington, Hancock, Waldo, Piscataquis, Penobscot, Somerset and Oxford.

“The generosity and vision of the Next Gen Foundation is going to make a huge difference for LGBTQ youth and their families in our state’s most rural counties,” shares Jeanne Dooley, Executive Director of OUT Maine. “Too often a health care, mental health or faith community provider is the only safe space for a youth who is not supported in the home. Schools and providers need to have the tools to provide safety and affirmation for these at-risk youth.”

Over the last two years, OUT Maine has trained over 3,500 providers around the state in how to support and empower LGBTQ youth and their families. OUT Maine’s goal is to build a strong provider safety net around the state to provide safety for these at-risk youth. With the information and resources gleaned at the trainings, providers can help these youth and reduce suicidality-- Maine’s rural LGBTQ youth have suicidal thoughts and actions at 3-4 times the rate of their heterosexual peers. Provider support for youth and families also can help reduce LGBTQ youth homelessness by keeping youth in their homes – LGBTQ youth make up 25-40 percent of Maine’s homeless teens.

“We are deeply grateful to the Next Gen Foundation for its recognition of the immense challenges faced by LGBTQ youth in rural Maine and the need for OUT Maine’s work,” Dooley adds. “When Maine leaders like the Next Gen Foundation stand up to support our community-changing work, we can give our communities the tools they need to provide safety and affirmation for all students.”

OUT Maine works statewide toward a welcoming and affirming Maine for all rural young people of diverse sexual orientations, gender expressions and gender identities. The OUT Maine model provides safe community spaces for these youth through weekly programs, overnights and weekend retreats; builds and supports Gay/Straight/Trans Alliances (GSTAs) in rural schools to reduce bullying and harassment for ALL students; weaves an informed provider safety net throughout rural communities through trainings and consultation; and supports parents and families through a monthly parent evening and networking as well as individual consultation.

To support rural LGBTQ youth, go to outmaine.org to make a donation or mail a check to PO Box 1723, Rockland, ME 04841. OUT Maine also encourages donors to consider providing a monthly sustaining donation to help the work continue.

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