By BTL Staff
HIGHLAND PARK – The Ruth Ellis Center – one of a handful of organizations in the nation and one of two in the midwest solely dedicated to serving runaway, homeless and at-risk lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender and questioning youth announced Oct. 19 the departure of Laura Hughes as its executive director. Hughes’s official departure date is Jan. 5, 2013. A nationwide search for her successor will begin immediately.
“The past three years have been the most extraordinary personal and professional success of my career to date. I am humbled to have been welcomed as an ally into the lives of these youth, who have experienced so much adversity and challenged me to take a greater role in one of the most important civil rights issues of our time. I depart knowing that I leave the Center with a stronger foundation on which to build its next decade of work on behalf of runaway and homeless LGBTQ youth, towards a future where all our youth have access to shelter and the social services they need,” said Hughes.
She joined the Ruth Ellis Center as executive director in August of 2009. In this position, Hughes was responsible for providing leadership and the strategic vision, goals and objectives for REC and its 14 staff members and 40 volunteers, as well as for the thousands of young people who REC serves each year.
Hughes’ foremost accomplishments in her three years as executive director include obtaining a contract from the Michigan Department of Human Services allowing youth to be placed directly with the Center, as well as elevating the Center and its youth to national visibility at a White House-sponsored conference on LGBT homelessness held this past March in Detroit, with attendant local and national media.
Kofi Adoma, a founder of the Ruth Ellis Center said, “Laura has been a tireless advocate for the thousands of youth we serve, not only in fighting to get these youth the services they need but in getting these issues the visibility they deserve. We thank her for all she has done during her tenure as our executive director and look forward to the next chapter of the REC’s work and growth.”
Karen Brown, a member of the Center’s board of directors said, “As Laura concludes her service as our executive director, we look forward to our own future and building on our successes. We anticipate a strong pool of applicants to choose from as we search for our next Executive Director and look forward to that process.”