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Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL)

Empowering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.

SMYAL's mission is to support and empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in the Washington, DC metropolitan region through youth leadership and advocacy.

Why should I support your work?

Due to homophobia and ignorance, lesbian and gay youth often suffer in silence and alone. The emotional and physical abuse they face at school and home, coupled with the rejection they face with family and friends and the social isolation they feel from other youth, puts LGBT youth in jeopardy of engaging in any number of high risk behaviors. Suffering from low self-esteem, they are less likely to value their own lives. In fact, studies have consistently found that LBGT youth experience higher rates of attempted suicide, homelessness, and substance abuse, and more frequently engage in unsafe sex. We need your help to literally save the lives of these young people.

Why does your charity exist?

SMYAL is the only youth service organization in the DC Metro area dedicated to meeting the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth ages 13-21. Since 1984, we have provided vital support services to this often ignored and underserved population of young people. SMYAL currently offers more than a dozen programs including support and rap groups, daily after-school drop-in, HIV/AIDS prevention and Education, youth leadership, training and education and more.

What have you accomplished?

Last year, SMYAL has thousands of interactions with more than 900 young people. We educated more than 2,500 adult professionals.

How can I be sure you’ll use my money wisely?

SMYAL prides itself on effective and efficient management. In the last few years, SMYAL's budget has grown significantly and has supported a dramatic expansion of our services. Less than 25% of SMYAL's budget is spent on fundraising.