Welcome to SMYAL

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SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders) supports and empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in the Washington, DC metropolitan region. Through youth leadership, SMYAL creates opportunities for LGBTQ youth to build self-confidence, develop critical life skills, and engage their peers and community through service and advocacy. Committed to social change, SMYAL builds, sustains and advocates for programs, policies and services that LGBTQ youth need as they grow into adulthood.

This Week at SMYAL

What's going on at SMYAL? Check out the calendar below for all of this week's youth events! Click on each event to view more details and get contact information for the event organizer, and you can use the drop-down arrow at the top right to view only specific types of programming (like DC Regional GSA Network events, women's groups, or HIV testing hours). View our full monthly calendar here, and please feel free to copy events to your own calendar so you don't miss out!

News & Updates

Sultan Shakir: SMYAL's New Executive Director

After an extensive search by the board, we are excited to announce that Sultan Shakir has been named SMYAL's next Executive Director. Sultan has worked with LGBTQ youth in the DC metro area for many years as a community leader. Learn more here about how Sultan's experience will amplify SMYAL's ability to provide resources and space for LGBTQ youth to develop their leadership and interpersonal skills. 

Where Are They Now?

All this year, in honor of SMYAL's 30th birthday, we've been reconnecting with youth alumni, founding members, and staff and volunteers from years long past. We collected some of their stories in a special publication entitled "30 Years of SMYAL Stories." Check it out below!

GSA Activist Camp

Our 2nd annual GSA Activist Camp, a chance for local student leaders to load their advocacy toolbelts full of new skills and resources to bring change to their schools, took place over a long weekend from July 10-13, 2014. Click here to learn more about the DC Regional GSA Network, or check out photos of the weekend and campers' thoughts about their experience!

Thanks for Voting for SMYAL to Win an IKEA Makeover

Thank you to everyone who voted to help SMYAL's youth center get a makeovercourtesy of IKEA College Park in Maryland! Online voting for the 4th annual "IKEA Life Improvement Challenge" closed on March 31, and as the first runners-up, we won a $1,000 gift card to the store! Be on the lookout for some new furniture soon....

On Our Shelves

Looking for something new to read? Check out books from SMYAL's library of LGBT literature, biographies, plays, and more! Youth can browse our shelves online here and borrow books from the youth center any time.

Interested in sharing some of your book collection? We're always happy to take donations! Just contact supporterinfo@smyal.org. Thank you!


What is SMYAL?

For 30 years, SMYAL has been a safe space for LGBTQ youth and their allies! We provide after-school programming at our youth center, located just steps from the Eastern Market metro station, and work with other community organizations for special events throughout the area.

Visit our Programs page to learn more about what we offer, including support groups, free and confidential HIV testing, internship opportunities, movie nights and more!

You can also like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for daily updates about programs and exclusive access to opportunities such as paid survey participation, upcoming dances and free "field trips" to events both in and outside of the DC metro area.

Do You or a Friend Need Help?

The Trevor Helpline is a free and confidential service that offers hope and someone to talk to, 24/7. The Trevor Helpline's trained counselors will listen and understand without judgment.

If you or someone you know would like to talk to one of Trevor's highly trained counselors, dial 866-4-U-TREVOR.