In 2016, Pridelines received a GLBT Community Projects Fund grant for their new community center. We checked in with them one year later to hear how it’s impacted their work. See the 2017 GLBT Community Projects Fund grantees here.

After 35 years of serving Miami-Dade County’s LGBTQ youth, Pridelines Youth Services is now Pridelines, Miami’s LGBTQ Community Center. In June 2016, Pridelines moved to a 9,000-square-foot community center, a facility large enough to house programs and services for Greater Miami’s LGBTQ youth, older adults, people living with HIV/AIDS, and their allies. The new space allowed us to expand our services and reach more residents. Eleven days after the move, the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando rocked the LGBTQ community.

More than 150 people walked through Pridelines’ doors the next day in search of a safe place to gather, grieve, and find healing and support. LGBTQ community members and allies met with grief counselors, participated in an interfaith service and held a candlelight vigil. They held a town hall where they talked about solutions for reclaiming the sense of safety they had lost. Today, the center, supported by a GLBT Community Projects Fund grant, stands as a place of hope for people looking to find a connection to their community. For some, especially youth, it’s the only place where they can simply be themselves.

Pictured above: A mural of light painted at Pridelines in honor of those who lost their lives during the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando. Photo courtesy of Pridelines.

As one 16-year-old put it: “What Pridelines means to me is safety, freedom and warm-heartedness. Pridelines makes me feel safe not only in the sense of physical security, but also safety from judgment. I feel free to be myself and express my gayness here because it’s an accepting place.”

Pridelines operates Miami’s only drop-in center for LGBTQ youth where they can find support groups and enrichment activities. Youth experiencing homeless can find a place to shower here, get clean clothes and eat warm meals. We have a walk-in closet filled with clothing, shoes and toiletries. In addition to youth services, Pridelines provides support groups, counseling and holistic therapies for adults living with HIV/AIDS. The center also offers dance lessons, game nights, a lending library, art gallery space and meeting rooms for community organizing. Most recently, a Community Grant from The Miami Foundation allowed us to install a chair lift and ramp, making services even more accessible.

In the past year, more than 1,500 people have walked through our doors, which is the most ever. As we grow, we finally have the space to ensure that our LGBTQ youth have the support they need now, and throughout their lifetime.

Marsharee Chronicle is chief operating officer at Pridelines.

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