BY BTL STAFF
FERNDALE – Many LGBTQ+ youth have negative experiences and are cast out when coming out to their families. This creates a lack of opportunity they would otherwise have with proper support and access to resources.
These young LGBTQ+ people turn to their local community centers for help. Affirmations in Ferndale is there to address the challenges many teenagers face on the streets, within their schools and at home.
Affirmations is preparing to relaunch the Cross the Line (XTL) Youth Workforce Development and the Cross the Line (XTL) Youth Leadership Development program. Both have been successful in empowering LGBTQ+ youth throughout the metro Detroit area and have maintained above a 75 percent retention rate.
The programming, which is constantly being updated to fit the current needs of the community, is designed for LGBTQ+ youth and their allies. It teaches essential skills that are necessary to succeed in a professional work environment while also providing tools that will enable them to become leaders within their community.
The Leadership Development program starts Sept. 12 at Adult Well-Being Services in Grosse Pointe. The program, in place for 10 years, equips youth with valuable skills that focus on understanding power, privilege, creative advocacy approaches, mentorship, community engagement, and social risks prevention.
The Workforce Development program, in its third year, begins Sept. 18 and provides practical on-the-job training inside Affirmations’ Recess Cafe, as well as soft skills training to give youth the tools that are needed to succeed in a professional setting.
“Workforce helped me to better my social skills and have a better understanding of the
value of effort”, said youth Jay Jarnot. “I gained worthwhile connections, as well as
experiences I never would have had otherwise and I’m very grateful for the program.”