The mission of Zebra Youth is empowering LGBTQ+ youth to thrive.
LGBTQ+: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) and all other (+)
Zebra Youth advances its mission by providing high quality, culturally appropriate programs designed to meet the unique needs of homeless and at-risk LGBTQ+ youth, as we have also strived to meet the community’s needs for affordable youth housing, mental health services, proactive youth support and community education. The goal of programming is to provide each youth the tools necessary to become a healthy, productive, and self-sufficient individual. The Youth is especially sensitive to the needs of Black, Hispanic and Latinx LGBTQ+ youth. Each program and goal is designed and ultimately implemented with a clear vision of how outcomes will validate planned activities to support and inspire LGBTQ and all youth.
Zebra Youth has been providing housing and support services for homeless LGBTQ+ youth for over 12 years. During this time, over 400 youth have been sheltered through our bridge housing and rapid rehousing programs. In 2021, 50 youth were provided housing. We currently have 11 beds in our housing program, where youth reside for an average of 6 months.
Funding for Zebra Youth includes the Zebra Youth Board of Directors, City of Orlando, Orange County, Office of Violence Against Women, Disney, Universal Orlando and several other generous partners.
Located within walking distance of Downtown Orlando, the Drop-In Center on Mills Avenue is a known refuge for Central Florida’s homeless LGBTQ+ youth. In 2021, youth visited the Drop-In Center 603 times where they accessed critical needs such as taking a shower, eating a meal, speaking to their therapist, getting help finding a job and even doing their laundry.
Zebra Youth provides several trainings and speaking engagement opportunities to the community. Some of the topics include Gender & Orientation Workshops, LGBTQ Youth Clinical Support, Considerations and Best Practices Sexual Assault in the LGBTQ Community and Zebra Youth 101. In 2021, we provided 28 training sessions for over 300 individuals.
Zebra Youth’s Mental Health Counseling Program provides trauma informed, age and developmentally appropriate therapy and is designed for the unique experiences and needs of the homeless or at-risk LGBTQ+ youth who turn to us for help and support. In 2021, 130 youth accessed our mental health counseling services and our therapists provided 1,891 therapy sessions.
Everyone wants to help you be the best version of yourself. I find that valuable.
Everyone here is so loving and accepting and it ha made me feel so much safer in my identity.
Zebra Youth took me off the street and gave me an opportunity.
My therapy sessions have been helpful with my personal growth.
The staff were very helpful and genuinely care about you.
Counseling makes me feel less alone. Knowing that I am in a safe space provided by professionals makes me feel more understood and grounded in my own life that any interaction with another human being ever has before.
It was really helpful that I knew it was a safe space for LGBT+ and marginalized folks. I wouldn't have felt safe enough to talk about a lot of these topics with many therapists.
Counseling has helped me become a better person to myself and others around me. It has helped me by giving me skills that help with my anxiety.