People transitioning genders often need a new wardrobe. And if you’re a kid or a teen, you might not have money to buy new clothes.
This is where Unum’s LGBTQ+ employee resource group found a creative way to help LGBTQ+ youth in need. They organized a clothing drive benefiting Safe Homes, a non-profit that provides a safe, supportive place for LGBTQ+ youth in Central Massachusetts.
The result? 750 pounds worth of clothes, shoes, accessories, and make-up from their colleagues.
“Employee contributions were overwhelming,” said Suzanne Lamoureux, Unum’s Director of Financial Analysis and LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Lead. “We had to close the drive a week earlier than planned because we received so much inventory.”
Lead Learning Consultant and LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group member Danielle Beauregard washed a lot of the clothes herself, and reached out to local laundry facility Sudz City Laundromat & Drycleaners for addition support. Laundromat owner David Delaney washed and folded the remaining clothes, free-of-charge.
Looking for a fun way to engage the LGBTQ+ youth and teens, Unum’s LGBTQ+ employee resource group suggested a fashion show where they could model their new wardrobes. More importantly, it was a way for Unum to help them celebrate who they are.
“It was so rewarding to see the kids excited about their new clothes and enjoying the spotlight,” said Christian Yapor, Unum employee volunteer and participant in the Fashion Show. “I know first-hand how important it is to have a safe space to be yourself and feel supported.”
The mission and vision behind Safe Homes is to provide a safe, supportive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ+) youth ages 14 through 23 and allies. Through their programs, resources, and socialization opportunities, the organization aims to nurture all aspects of LGBTQ+ youth identities, decrease feelings of isolation, and promote overall health and well-being.