SMYAL - Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders


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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:


HIV Testing Drop-in Hours:
Monday-Thursday, 3-5 PM
Friday, 3-6 PM

Tuesday 4/15, 5-6:30 PM: Rap Group -- Sometimes we all get stressed out and need someone to talk to. Managing the pressures of school, dealing with bullying and harassment, coming out to friends and family, finding a job, getting into college: you can talk about all of it in our support group! Contact dominique.parris@smyal.org for more.

Wednesday 4/16, 4-7 PM: Peer Education Interns -- Peer Educators, assemble! There is much work to be done - like educating your peers about HIV/STI prevention and safer sex!  Contact dominique.parris@smyal.org with any questions.

Thursday 4/17, 5-7 PM
: Women's Leadership Institute -- A space for all women-identified folks to gather and build community together. Contact catherine.chu@smyal.org for more.

Friday 4/18, 5-7 PM: Video Game Night -- SMYAL is powering up the Wii and breaking out the controllers. Bring along some of your favorite games and come see if you can beat your high score - or at least make some new friends while trying!  Email dangelo.morrison@smyal.org or ryan.drab@smyal.org for more!



Thanks for Voting for SMYAL to Win an IKEA Makeover

Thank you to everyone who voted to help SMYAL's youth center get a makeover courtesy 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.... 



Congratulations to Our "Shero" Cathy! 

On Friday, March 7, the Mayor's Office of GLBT Affairs named our incredible Youth Leadership Manager Cathy Chu as one of DC's Sheroes for her work empowering LGBTQ youth through the Women's Leadership Institute and GSA Network!  In addition to her fabulous dance moves, Cathy works tirelessly to create unique, engaging curricula for both of her programs and develop strong, passionate youth leaders.  You can learn more about Cathy and her two fellow Sheroes in this Metro Weekly article and attend the Sheroes of the Movement awards ceremony on Friday, March 21.  UPDATE: Check out a quick interview with Cathy in our most recent e-newsletter!  Not registered to receive occasional updates to make you SMYAL?  Enter your email address in the box at the right to sign up!



National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Did you know? April 10 is National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD). Check out our video to the left to see how HIV/AIDS impacts youth across the country, and then take action!






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.