Growing From The Center

New location expands one•n•ten’s ability to serve today’s youth and tomorrow’s future

Photos by Fernando Hernández.

By Liz Massey, November 2017 Issue.

Just months after a devastating fire at their previous location, the LGBTQ youth support organization one•n•ten opened its new Youth Center, located inside the Parsons Center For Health & Wellness at 1101 N. Central Ave. in downtown Phoenix.

The organization, which provides services to LGBTQ youth and young adults ages 14-24, had been operating out of unoccupied space at the Parsons Center since shortly after the July 12 arson fire that severely damaged their previous building.

However, the new location officially opened for business in Sept. 20 with a ribbon cutting ceremony – attended by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and other local and LGBTQ community leaders – followed by a reception and tours for those in attendance.

Right to left: Rachel Sherman, Sarah Kent, Sam Castro, Robbie Fields and Eva Siler hanging out at the new one•n•ten Youth Center.

Although the organization was able to salvage very little from the Third Street location following the fire damage, Linda Elliott, one•n•ten’s executive director, attributed the fact that construction was already underway on the new youth center with their success in continuing services for youth without interruption.

“If we hadn’t had plans in the works, we would have had a big scramble to keep going after the fire,” Elliott said.

The center has provided a springboard for the organization to expand their services to youth on a number of fronts.

The move to the Parsons Center was made possible thanks to a $275,000 grant from the Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation. That grant, along with additional grant monies, have allowed one•n•ten to shape the youth center’s 5,000-square-foot location into what Elliott called a “hub” for LGBTQ youth support activities throughout the Valley.

Co-locating at the Parsons Center, which is across from the Roosevelt Street light rail stop, means that youth will have easy access to a number of the center’s other tenants, including the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, the Phoenix chapter of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), McDowell Healthcare Center and Avella Specialty Pharmacy. Elliott said that this will enhance collaborations among the organizations, such as HIV/AIDS prevention programs and other health promotion efforts.

Right to left: Dani Logan, Joel Mills, Kado Stewart and Wallace Hudson at the new one•n•ten Youth Center’s check-in desk.

“It’s going to be a great collaborative space and a true community center,” she said.

Elliott and Stewart emphasized that youth served by one•n•ten were an integral part of the planning process for the Youth Center. Elliott noted that because of youth and parent input, the organization decided to expand the age range it serves. Because queer youth are coming out at younger and younger ages, the Youth Center will accept now participants as young as 11 years old. As a result of this decision, support group programming will be divided into nights for youth ages 17 and under on Thursdays and for young adults aged 18 to 24 on Fridays.

The LGBTQ and allied community also played a key role in the opening of the new center, according to Stewart. Since the fire in July destroyed most of the organization’s physical assets, the new location has been stocked with furniture and supplies gathered through a donation campaign that went viral on social media. Stewart said that the youth served by the center were greatly encouraged by the community response.

“It’s provided a renewed sense of hope,” she said. “Given the political climate of the past year, it’s been beautiful to see the youth and the community to step up to help.”

As one•n•ten settles into the new Youth Center space, Elliott said it would soon be time for the organization’s board to craft a new five-year strategic plan, as their previous plan has reached the end of its five-year timeline.

“I think we’ll discover new activities and programs we can offer our youth,” she said. “We have more space, more resources and a more convenient location … I’m excited about how we can better serve all LGBTQ youth.”

Stewart agreed, and said, “Youth coming into the new center have the  most amazing smile on their face when they see our new space. Many of our youth have been a part of creating our new center, alongside the community and staff. It’s great to see the smiles on their face when they realize what we’ve all created together.”

For more information on one•n•ten, its new Youth Center or its programs, visit .


New Space Opens Up New Possibilities

The center’s new space offers one•n•ten youth, staff and volunteers double the amount of space they had at the previous location at Third Street and Weldon.

According to Kado Stewart, program director, the Youth Center now has the following amenities:

Ÿ • A full kitchen that can be used to teach healthy-living classes related to nutrition and cooking.

Ÿ• A clothing closet stocked with attire that can help homeless LGBTQ youth, as well as transgender youth who need access to clothes that align with their gender identity.

• A video gaming area with two televisions and five gaming systems – from the original Nintendo system to XBOX One.

Ÿ • A full stage with three pull-out catwalks, which can be used for karaoke, drag shows, open mic nights and more.

Ÿ • A space known as the “fishbowl room,” which has windows on three sides and is stocked with 10 guitars, a piano, and a multitude of hand percussion and intended as a place to hold musical jam sessions.


Higher Learning: Q-BLC

Formerly known as Q High, Q-BLC continues to grown alongside one•n•ten and continues to operate under the same roof at the new Youth Center location.

The blended learning center, which is a program of Arizona Virtual Academy and Insight Academy of Arizona – both online public schools – will gain the capacity the capacity to serve up to 35 students, a jump of 20 spaces from the previous facility.

“Our students love the new facility,” said Kelly Van Sande, head of schools for Arizona Virtual Academy. “In addition to increased learning space, they have a modern and fun place to hang out where they can feel safe and accepted … We are excited about being able to serve so many more students and continuing to provide a safe space for LGBTQ youth to learn.”


Linda Elliott (not pictured)
• Executive director
• Six years with one•n•ten
• Linda is on the board of Centerlink, a national group of LGBTQ nonprofit centers.

Nate Rhoton (h)
• Director of operations & finance
• Two years with one•n•ten
• Nate was a member of Sunshine Generation, a regional song and dance troupe, in second grade.

Kado Stewart (d)
• Director of programs
• 10 years with one•n•ten (three and a half years as a volunteer, contractor, Americorps VISTA and six-and-a-half years as full time staff)
• Kado has guided backcountry trips in Alaska, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Montana. On the weekends, Kado guides hikes up Camelback Mountain.

Travis Shumake (j)
• Development director
• One year with one•n•ten
• Travis competed at the cheerleading world championship 5 times and judged the Japanese national championship in 2011.

Crystal Hughes (not pictured)
• Office manager
• Two years with one•n•ten
• After being homeless as a youth and participating in one•n•ten programs, Crystal became dedicated to working with nonprofit work to end homelessness.

Gina Read (c)
• Program coordinator, Youth Center
• 15 years as a volunteer, 4 years as one•n•ten staff)
• Gina learned to surf at age 40.

Robbie Fields (a)
• Program coordinator (P.O.N.D. Housing & SOS)
• Nine years as a youth and volunteer; four years as one•n•ten staff
• Robbie loves to dance and perform.

Sarah Kent (e)
• Program coordinator, P.O.N.D. Housing
• More than two years with one•n•ten
• Sarah won the handstand contest in third grade.

Eva Siler (b)
• Program coordinator, P.O.N.D. Housing & Trans Support Group
• One and a half years with one•n•ten
• Eva is coparenting a 1-year-old with her partner’s sister.

Dani Logan (g)
• Program coordinator, Youth Center & Assistant Camp Director
• Three and a half years as a volunteer and three months as one•n•ten staff
• Dani is a vegan micro-blogger.

Danielle Bittner (l)
• Development associate
• Six months with one•n•ten
• This is Danielle’s first paid job.

Rachel Sherman (i)
• Program Coordinator (Y.E.S. Program & Volunteers)
• 21 months with one•n•ten
• Rachel uses floppy disks as coasters.

Wallace Hudson (m)
• Site director, Q-BLC and part-time program coordinator, Youth Center
• Five months with one•n•ten (just a few weeks in his new BLC role)
• Wallace loves to camp and hike.

Sam Castro (k)
• Program coordinator, Y.E.S. Program & West Valley Satellite
• Two years with one•n•ten
• Sam named her dog after her grandma.

Joel Mills (f)
• Program coordinator, prevention
• Joel started at one one•n•ten this month
• Joel was a special education teacher.

Erin Dow (not pictured)
• Contract coordinator, Queen Creek Satellite
• Four months with one•n•ten
• Erin grew up in Texas and loves to hike.

Tally Iskovitz (not pictured)
• Contract Coordinator, Scottsdale & Mesa Satellite
• Six years with one•n•ten
• Tally loves camping in the woods and reading books in hammocks.

Victor Medina (not pictured)
• Contract coordinator, Tempe Satellite
• Three and a half years with one•n•ten
• Victor has a deep passion for music.

Bobby Beverly (not pictured)
• Contract coordinator, Mesa Satellite
• Six years with one•n•ten
• Bobby started volunteering at Mesa the first week the location opened.

Nicole Snow (not pictured)
• Contract coordinator, Flagstaff
• Two months with one•n•ten
• Nicole was born in England.

Courtesy of one•n•ten.


one•n•ten Youth Center
1101 N. Central Ave., Phoenix (entrance off Portland and First streets)
onenten.org
Hours:
3-7 p.m. Mon-Fri
Scheduling:
Mon-Wed, Ages 14-24
Thurs, Ages 11-17 only
Fri: Ages, 18-24 only