Pin It
Favorite

Another Big Rise 

Some homeless teens are kicked out for being argumentative. Some have parents with addictions. Some are beaten, raped and berated until they leave. But some kids are on the streets because of the people with whom they want to have sex.

In fact, social service agencies estimate that 25 to 40 percent of homeless youth are there because of their gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or questioning sexual orientations. In most of these cases, kids are too afraid to tell their parents for fear of being abused or rejected for their preferences. The sad part is that getting thrown out is all too common for kids who are GLBT. That, or they are made into the focus of the family's dysfunction and feel pressured to leave.

That's where Odyssey Youth Center comes in. It's a safe place for GLBT kids to find people who are like them and to learn safe ways to survive on the streets. Elizabeth Whitford, director of Odyssey, says that the youth center sees kids of all kinds -- ranging from those who have been chronically homeless and who put themselves into risky situations, to those GLBT kids who are dropped off at the center by their parents.

"We're here because this is a very marginalized part of youth," she says.

Odyssey demonstrates to the GLBT kids who come there how to empower themselves to live the life that they want.

Julie Amo, Odyssey's program coordinator, says that through group activities, guest speakers and the formation of healthy relationships, Odyssey kids can feel OK with being themselves.

"We teach these youth how to better face the challenges and change the world in a way that's beneficial for them," she says.

Whitford says that through Odyssey, Spokane GLBT kids -- whether homeless or not -- can learn how to fit into the big picture. She notes that, above all, kids who hang out at Odyssey don't have to worry about being "that gay kid" while they are there.

"They can just be a kid," she says.

Tags: ,

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Odds And Ends
  • Odds And Ends

    Idaho lawmakers are pulled in lots of directions; plus, SPD weighs a "culture audit"
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • Four Days A Week
  • Four Days A Week

    Idaho schools that dropped one day a week from their schedule are saving a little money — but at what cost?
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • A County Ombudsman?
  • A County Ombudsman?

    Weighing the costs and benefits of oversight at the Spokane County Sheriff's Office
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Muddy Mondays

Muddy Mondays @ Gizmo-cda

Mondays, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Continues through April 6

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Leah Sottile

  • Imaginary Friends
  • Imaginary Friends

    The very real role that fantasy plays in our everyday lives
    • Aug 13, 2014
  • Expert Advice
  • Expert Advice

    Dab? Vape? Indica? Sativa? A few tips for beginners
    • Jul 9, 2014
  • Gone Solo, Not Soft
  • Gone Solo, Not Soft

    After three decades of Melvins records, Buzz Osborne makes an awesome album by himself
    • Jun 18, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Why Idaho kids don't go to college

    And what that means for the Gem State
    • Mar 4, 2015
  • New Blood

    Candidates are launching bids for Spokane City Council and could bring big changes to city government
    • Mar 18, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


Comment


marijuana


Publisher's Note


long reads


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation