Thursday, February 01, 2007

Funding cut that is severely impacting Questioning Youth Center (QYC)--a long time CESO Member

Hi all:
I just got this from Questiong Youth Center (QYC). Please read it and take action by writing or calling your elected officials in Springfield. Then pass this on to other activists to get the word out.

If you're not familar with QYC, here's some basic information. QYC has expanded to five centers operating in four counties in Northwest Illinois, a youth leadership project and a young women-only program, serving more than 1000 youth aged 14 to 21 in just their first five years


Important Changes at Suburban Programs for LGBTQ Youth
Nancy Mullen, MSW, Executive Director

The Questioning Youth Center (QYC) is known to many P-FLAG members as the “safe place where LGBTQ youth come to socialize. QYC has operated in DuPage, Kane, McHenry and DeKalb Counties, beginning in 1998, and has served upwards of 1500 youth since then.

From the start, QYC noted the importance of HIV prevention education for youth. Since 1998, QYC has received a grant through IDPH to make HIV prevention education a reality.

That just came to a screeching halt. QYC Executive Director Nancy Mullen received a letter dated December 29, 2006 stating that effective January 1, QYC would no longer receive ANY funding from the IDPH. No explanation was offered. Questions and requests for information have gone unanswered.

Anyone in not-for-profit can agree: losing a third of your annual budget with no warning, lead time, or justification is very unsettling.

This loss had immediate impact. Woodstock program - gone. Glen Ellyn program - gone. When a call came in asking for resources in McHenry County , the answer was, sadly, QYC cannot help.

Questions must be asked! Who will keep prevention education alive among our youth? They don't access services elsewhere. Schools teach abstinence-only, leaving gaps in their understanding of how to stay healthy.

This education was prioritized by the Centers for Disease Control. QYC provided it successfully 8 1/2 years. What happened to the CDC's priorities? Why is it so difficult to get information about why QYC was abruptly defunded after years of compliments and congratulations?

Last year, QYC developed a new peer education program with potential to change HIV prevention for queer youth. That's gone. If not QYC and if not their peers, exactly who is going to talk to our kids about HIV prevention?


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