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Gift of Friendship Found on Rainbow Alley

Photo: Asher is a high school senior in Denver and is part of Rainbow Alley at the GLBT Center of Colorado.
Photo: Asher is a high school senior in Denver and is part of Rainbow Alley at the GLBT Center of Colorado.
December 19, 2013

DENVER - This year more than 1,000 Colorado teens have found the gift of friendship and acceptance at Denver's only drop-in and resource center for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) youth, called Rainbow Alley. Asher is one of them. The Denver high school senior said the program sponsored by the GLBT Community Center of Colorado provides a place for him to develop friendships with people he can relate to.

"It's been like a home away from home. People in your other life, that aren't your friends from Rainbow Alley, don't really understand what you're going through. People at Rainbow Alley do," Asher explained.

Rainbow Alley has been in existence for 15 years. The majority of the youth who participate come from low- to moderate-income families, and 18 percent are homeless.

Cory Barrett, director of youth services, GLBT Community Center of Colorado, said it's rewarding to see the change that takes place in the teens as they participate in the program.

"It really makes me value just how great it is that we do have that. Where young people can connect with other like-minded young people is a great thing, it's a really important thing. And you know, if we really think about it, we as adults want that," Barrett said.

Asher added that the acceptance he feels at Rainbow Alley enables him to look at himself as more than just gay.

"When you're not always accepted and you see that, a lot of times you end up thinking that it's always going to be like that, or that you're always going to feel different," he said. "Rainbow Alley kind of makes that stop. You go in and it's not really what defines you anymore; it doesn't make up the only thing who you are, and a lot more things about you become more important."

Rainbow Alley also offers career exploration programs and wellness programs to participating teens.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - CO