Staff Highlight: Connecting our LGBTQ+ youth

In this time of pandemic-related isolation, one person making a difference for LGBTQ+ youth is Sara Osheim, a UCSC Silicon Valley Extension Student Services representative and volunteer with the Safe Schools Project in Santa Cruz County.

Osheim is the curator for “Queer Youth Updates,” a creative monthly newsletter full of local events and community resources—a labor of love she’s produced for eight years.

“My hope is that this newsletter will alleviate some of the stress queer youth experience,” she says.

A Community Resource

Osheim started the newsletter when she was still a UC Santa Cruz student. She spends hours each month combing community resources for relevant information so she can highlight local events, news, history, and resources for her nearly 700 subscribers. The newsletter has a youthful perspective, but it’s also a resource for educators and parents.

“The newsletter allows me to assist LGBTQ+ and allied youth get access to important resources that support their well-being, foster student activism, and leadership development,” Osheim says. “There are so many different organizations and opportunities for this community, but it can be challenging to navigate alone.”

Community During a Pandemic

The newsletter has been especially important in recent months because of COVID-19 and its impact on in-person activities.

In March  she developed several resources specific to COVID-19 and LGBTQ+ youth and the newsletter was picked up by the Santa Cruz Office of Education and a local radio show, State of Mind on KSQD-FM, 90.7.

“Many students are forced to be at home, which isn’t always safe, and they have little to no access to the in-person events and support groups that normally are there to help uplift them,” Osheim says.

Supporting Your Own Community

If there are others who would like to develop a similar type of resource in their community, feel free to reach out to Osheim at qyupdates@gmail.com to let her know. She plans to develop a workshop to show others how to launch a newsletter in their communities.

 

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