For students in Greenwich, much more than in-class academics was cut short in March when schools switched over to distance learning.
A newly formed group called Greenwich Democracy in Action was in the midst of planning out a series of events based on monthly themes. Their overall goal is to empower youth to get involved in their community and bring awareness to issues they are passionate about.
Club co-president Andrew Bailey, said while many community events have been canceled due to social distancing, “Our pride is not canceled and we can celebrate virtually.
This month the group organized a fundraiser for Kids in Crisis “Lighthouse,” which operates a 24 hour helpline at 203-661-1911 and holds meetings for LGBTQ teens in middle school and high school.
In celebration of Pride Month, the group is hosting a “pride ride” in support of Kids in Crisis Lighthouse.
“We’re asking people to show their support for the LGBTQ community by exercising goals for themselves and raising funds for Lighthouse,” said Andrew a member of the GHS class of 2021.
“Lighthouse is an organization acquired by KIC in 2018 to support LGBTQ youth in Fairfield County and provide them with a safe and confidential space to live their best, healthy and most authentic lives,” Andrew said. “They have meetings in two locations – one in Stamford and one in Greenwich.”
The event runs from June 17 to June 30. To participate just set a personal goal to exercise and raise funds for KIC Lighthouse. Ride your bike outside, or on a stationary bike. Run around your neighborhood or on a treadmill. Take your mom or your dog for a walk, or run up and down your stairs.
“All we ask is that you count every step, mile, yard or stair during the two weeks and share it with us on Facebook, and make a donation to KIC,” the club said on their Facebook page for the Pride Ride.
Andrew said in just two days the club raised over $1,400 for Lighthouse.
People can also donate directly to the GoFundMe page to show their support for the LGBTQ community.
“As the Lighthouse coordinator of Kids In Crisis LGBTQ+ Teen Group, I am so thrilled to be working with Andrew and the Democracy in Action group on this Pride Ride initiative,” said Joe Belisle, one of the facilitators of the Lighthouse group. “We are honored that they chose us to be the beneficiaries of their efforts as we celebrate Pride Month this June.”
Andrew said Lighthouse is a valuable resource for LGBTQ youth.
“When I came out, I had a very strong support system with my friends and family, but unfortunately for a lot of LGBTQ youth, they don’t have that,” he said. “Lighthouse provides that support. There offer a huge camaraderie attitude. You can see what a strong connection these kids have and how much they support each other.”
As for this week’s Supreme Court decision protecting LGBTQ workers, Andrew said, “I’m very happy. It was shocking to see Neil Gorsuch vote that way. We have support everywhere. It’s really touching.”