Youth OUTLOUD has been a safe space for LGBT youth and their allies in the Midlands since 2008. The Teen Support Group (ages 14-19) meets every 1st and 3rd Sunday from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM. We cover topics like Homophobia, Coming Out, School Life, Self Esteem, Dating and Relationships. Dinner is provided, and, YES, you can absolutely bring your friends! Find our current Event Calendar HERE!
How To Join
To be a part of Youth OUTLOUD, youth and parents must attend a 20-minute orientation session with one of the YOL facilitators and fill out the Consent and Information forms. This is important! You cannot participate in YOL without attending the orientation and filling out the required forms. You can drop in for orientation between 5:15 PM - 6:00 PM on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month.
Teen YOL Requirements: Teens must be between 14 - 19 years old AND either currently enrolled in high school or have graduated high school in the past 3 months.
Our mission is to give the LGBTQ+ teens between the ages of 14-19 a safe and confidential environment that allows the youth to be who they are and to help them make friends with other LGBTQ+ youth in the surrounding Midlands area. We promote open discussion and encourage the youth to create open dialogue with one another so they may share experiences and make ties of friendship with other LGBTQ+ youth. Membership is free and we encourage you to bring your friends.
Our vision is to transform safe spaces of support into brave spaces for action. By developing youth leadership and creating opportunities for youth-led initiatives, it is our hope that these young leaders not only build a strong community for themselves, but are also able to engage the community of the Columbia area.
We value the time, energy, and dedication of LGBTQ+ youth and their allies in our community. In Youth OUTLOUD, their voices and experiences are center, their identities and expressions are valid, and their fears and hopes are heard.
Raechel Grissett, MSW
We welcome recently graduated Raechel to the Center as the new Youth OUTLOUD Coordinator. Born and raised in Conway, SC, Raechel has always strove to be empathetic and open to all who meet her. In high school, she attended the Scholars Academy and was able to graduate in 2015 with both a high school diploma and an associates degree with Coastal Carolina University. Raechel proceeded to earn a Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a minor in Statistics at CCU before moving on to earn a Masters of Social Work in May 2019 at the University of South Carolina. She currently resides in Columbia with her wife and rabbit.
Upcoming Changes to YOL
We are planning to create a new YOL Tween group for ages 11-14 in the coming year. To participate, youth must be between 11 - 14 years old AND currently enrolled in middle school. If you would like to complete orientation prior to the start of the new school year, please come by during our open orientation hours (look under “How to Join“).