Fiesta U – Peer Support, Life Skills for LGBTQ Youth
Dear Unity of SA CommUNITY,
Almost three years ago, my then 13 year old daughter told us that she might be gay. At that time, I searched the web looking for an LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, questioning) youth support group in San Antonio. My search was fruitless. Watching my child struggle with anxiety, social ostracism, and depression, I was heartbroken for her. Eventually we found a youth group in Austin and traveled there as frequently as possible. I watched my daughter flourish as she made friends and felt accepted for the first time. Now, she is less anxious and more willing to participate in social events. I knew in my heart that a similar group was needed in San Antonio.
My daughter’s experience could not be unique amongst LGBTQ teens! So, in April of 2013, she and I took action. We began visiting community groups and asking for help. The response was overwhelmingly positive. And so Fiesta Youth was born! My hope is for other youth to be similarly impacted in a place where love and acceptance prevails.
Fiesta Youth is an enrichment/support group for LGBTQ youth ages 12-18. At present, there is no similar group in San Antonio serving this population. The mission of Fiesta Youth is to provide a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQ youth age 12-18 (now 12-24) to express who they are without fear of rejection or harassment. Many in this age group may be insecure or anxious about their sexual orientation or gender identity and need a place where open discussion with other youth is allowed and encouraged. Our aim is to assist youth in developing a positive self-identity and a sense of community with peers.
I am thrilled to say that Fiesta Youth celebrated its 2 year anniversary in September! Fiesta Youth meets weekly from 6:30 p.m. -8:30 p.m. at University Presbyterian Church (300 Bushnell). Meetings consist of education and enrichment activities, group discussions, opportunities for peer support and lots of fun.
Now, with the amazing support of Unity of SA, Fiesta Youth is expanding to include young adult programming. LGBTQ young adults age 18-24, are just learning to navigate the adult world. Many have little or no support from family members and face discrimination and harassment on a daily basis. Fiesta U, a program of Fiesta Youth, is designed to provide peer support as well as life skills programming to assist youth in learning to navigate the world as an LGBTQ adult.
Fiesta U, meets at Unity of SA on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month from 7:00 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. in the Unity Heights Community Center. The first meeting of the month is a relaxed peer discussion group on topics that really matter to LGBT young adults. The second meeting of the month is our Life’s University format with program topics that address key skills and information youth need in order to develop into successful adults.
We are thrilled that UCSA has offered to host this group! Please know that this spiritual community is truly making a difference in the lives of these young people. Fiesta Youth is a 501(c) (3) tax exempt organization. We are 100% volunteer run and supported primarily by individual donations. Please visit our website or our Facebook page for more information on our activities and how you can get involved. www.fiesta-youth.org www.facebook.com/FiestaYouth
Founder and President, Fiesta Youth
(Please note Fiesta U does not usually meet in the summer months.)