ORLANDO, Fla. – An organization serving LGBTQ+ youth in Central Florida is kicking off Pride Month with a special event.
On Friday, Oct. 1, the Zebra Coalition is inviting teens and young adults, ages 13-24, to its drop-in center — 911 N. Mills Ave., Orlando — to make signs and bracelets for the upcoming Pride parade.
“It’s really important for young people to get involved in pride because it helps them build their self-esteem and be proud of who they are. It’s such a fun event. It’s a great time of year for the community and for young people to come out and see how many people support them being their authentic selves,” Heather Wilkie, Executive Director of the Zebra Coalition said.
Wilkie said the Zebra Coalition focuses on housing and mental health support.
She tells News 6 during the pandemic, the group has seen a rise in LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness. Wilkie added that the Zebra Coaliton cut back on volunteer opportunities during the pandemic as well, but always welcomes money and financial support.
Wilkie said an easy way to donate is through their Amazon Wish List.
The group is also hosting a 5k Sunday, Oct. 3. The deadline to register is Wednesday, Sept. 29. Wilkie said 100% of the funds raised go back to the youth.
For the event Friday, Wilkie said if you are not already registered as a Zebra Coalition youth, to come a little early to do so. While the event Friday is for youth only, parents are welcome to walk with their kids in the parade on Oct. 9.