In 2015, Open Table United Church of Christ in Mobile, AL, with partial funding from a Neighbors in Need grant, founded a support group for LGBTQ teens known now as Prism. As we hoped, those beyond our small church came to value and lend support to this service to LGBTQ youth, making it possible for our work to be financially sustainable and in fact to allow us to expand our services.
Open Table continues to provide key financial support and leadership, but we are grateful that Prism has now attained 501(c)3 status, and local supporters of Prism have offered to lead in our first major fundraiser, “Come Out Mobile: A Night of Unity.” Scheduled for April 13, the elegant event will take place at the historic Ezell House and feature a cocktail hour, a silent auction, and plated dinner accompanied by live entertainment.
Tickets are on sale now at $85 per person: https://secure.givelively.org/event/rainbow-mobile-inc/come-out-mobile-a-night-of-unity. Proceeds of the gala will go to Prism and Rainbow Mobile, another LGBTQ support group in our city. Already many local businesses have donated. We would be happy to see friends from the SEC at the gala!
More about Prism
Every Saturday, Prism Youth, the support group for LGBTQ teens, is led by carefully selected adult facilitators who submit to background checks, become certified mandated reporters, and undergo regular training to foster a safe, welcoming environment for participants. Each gathering is centered around an activity-based curriculum designed by the Prism executive directors (members of Open Table) and facilitators (some of whom are members of Open Table).
At the request of the youth, Prism has built a library of LGBTQ young adult literature and has coordinated with the broader community to provide home-cooked food at support group gatherings. One facilitator who is an art professor sometimes engages the teens in self-expression through art projects. Prism collaborates with AIDS AL South and the Mobile Health Department to offer free educational presentations for support group participants. Occasionally, local LGBTQ professionals visit the support group to talk about their collegiate and vocational experiences and share useful information relating to their expertise. Prism also provides monthly event nights, like open mic nights, costume-karaoke parties, and game nights.
In 2019, the organization is launching a support group for younger LGBTQ youth (10-13) and a support group for parents of LGBTQ youth. Because of the prevalence of LGBTQ victimization in the classroom, Prism is working with educators to craft LGBTQ sensitivity training for school faculty. As Prism receives further support and continues to develop, it intends to tackle the serious issue of homelessness that disproportionately impacts its target population.