About

History

In 1984, local youth service professionals and community activists organized a conference on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth issues after an LGBTQ-identifying youth was hospitalized. Through this conference, advocates founded SMYAL to meet the needs of LGBTQ youth in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

How?

By creating leadership development opportunities, after-school programs, and counseling services designed to empower LGBTQ youth and educate their local community. Our organization strives to help these young leaders build advocacy skills and access crucial resources they need to succeed. We also provide education and training programs for youth service providers working in schools, runaway shelters, local government agencies, and hospitals.

Committed to social change, SMYAL continues to build, sustain, and advocate for programs, policies, and services that serve LGBTQ youth as they grow into adulthood.

Mission Statement

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.

In the News

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Meet Our Staff

Hancie Stokes
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Hancie Stokes

Communications Coordinator
Rebecca York
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Rebecca York

Community Engagement and Youth Leadership Manager
Tim Saxton
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Tim Saxton

Operations and Volunteer Manager
Addison Moore
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Addison Moore

Health and Wellness Coordinator
Alley Gant
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Alley Gant

Youth House Case Manager
Sultan Shakir
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Sultan Shakir

Executive Director
Jason Laney
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Jason Laney

Development Director
Sharifa Love-Schnur
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Sharifa Love-Schnur

Communications and Development Coordinator
Kevin Majoros
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Kevin Majoros

Accountant and Grant Manager
Jorge Membreño
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Jorge Membreño

Director of Youth Housing and Clinical Services
Dana White
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Dana White

Programs Manager and Care Navigator

Our Board Members

K. Dane Snowden

Board President

K. Dane Snowden is Chief of Staff of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association where he oversees the Association's day-to-day operations.

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    Jessica Lee

    Jessica Lee is a Financial Advisor at RBC Wealth Management.

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    Neil Starkey

    Neil Starkey previously worked in the tech industry, holding leadership roles for 12 years in the development of now widely-used open standards for teleconfere…

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    Billy Fettweis

    Billy Fettweis, is the Development Director for Horton’s Kids, a community-based organization that serves children living in an isolated neighborhood in Washin…

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    Tony Anderson

    Tony Anderson is a partner at Thompson Coburn LLP and practices primarily in the area of administrative law with particular emphasis in public transit, transpo…

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    Javier Aquino

    Javier Aquino is the Director of Operations of State Advocacy of the American Psychological Association’s Practice Directorate. He also serves as a court-appoi…

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    Don Davis

    Don Davis is an Employment, Labor & Benefits Associate Attorney in the Washington, DC office of Mintz Levin. He represents and counsels employers in a wide…

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    Eireann Dolan

    Eireann is an ally advocate for LGBTQ rights. She is also married to Sean Doolittle, a relief pitcher for the Washington Nationals. Eireann and Sean are commit…

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    Stuart Campbell

    Stuart Campbell is the Director of the Office of Community Services Programs at the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development where he administe…

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    Joaquin “Jocko” Fajardo

    Joaquin "Jocko" Fajardo is the Principal behind Flourish Design, a local DC Lifestyle Management and Private Events Company. Jocko hales from Tempe, Arizona an…

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    Rob Cogorno

    Rob Cogorno recently retired from Subject Matter, a full-service public affairs agency. Rob previously worked as the Floor Director to Representative Steny Hoy…

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    Lisa Manley

    Lisa is Senior Director of Partnerships and Engagement within the sustainability team at Mars, Incorporated. As the first woman in her family to attend college…

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    Edward Palmieri

    Edward Palmieri serves as Sustainability Policy and Partnerships Director at Facebook. Ed previously served as Associate General Counsel, Privacy at Facebook.

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    Daniel Penchina

    Daniel Penchina is the President of Voices for Progress, a non-profit based in Washington and California that trains and mobilizes philanthropists, business le…

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    Ari Shapiro

    Ari Shapiro serves as host of NPR’s award winning after- noon newsmagazine, All Things Considered. He was previously NPR’s International Correspondent in Londo…

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    Raffi Freedman-Gurspan

    Raffi Freedman-Gurspan serves as a Deputy Campaign Director for the All On The Line campaign (AOTL). She previously served as Director of External Relations fo…

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    Get in Touch

    Have a question about volunteering, accessing resources, or attending an event? Drop us a line!