Officially launched in February 2015 with a few youth, the majority of program participants are transgendered; this is the first opportunity they have had to truly be themselves without fear of rejection. Seeing the power and importance of the program, the youth spread the word and recruited others to join and the number quickly rose to 25. These youths are trailblazers that are creating a safe and accepting place for LGBT youth to discuss their sexual orientation and gender identity.
In December 2015, GO Campaign approved a grant to support CleanSlate in expanding their LGBTQIA empowerment group program to serve 50 more LGBT youth. These communities were targeted because there were few services being offered to LGBT youth, resulting in high rates of drug use, gang violence, and suicide. For this program, selected youth will meet weekly for 90 minutes over a 7.5 month period. During these sessions, led by Marianne Diaz and two therapists, youth will have a safe space to discuss family and peer relationships, school issues, the struggles of coming out, and more. In addition to providing a safe space for the youth, Clean Slate staff facilitate a support group for the youth’s parents too.