Representatives from Montrose Counseling Center have announced that MCC’s Safe Zones Project was cited as the chief reason Houston and Harris County were selected as one of the 100 Best Communities for Youth by America’s Promise Alliance. Safe Zones Project, established in 2009, provides LGBTQ youth ages 13–18 with behavioral health screening, affirming group support, and individual/family therapy at participating Houston-area high school campuses.
A 2005 survey commissioned by GLSEN found that as many as two-thirds of LGBT and questioning students report feeling unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation, which may also negatively influence adolescents’ home lives and activities beyond campus.
Administered by a licensed therapist from MCC, Safe Zones is underwritten by a grant from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.
“I am profoundly grateful that an organization as important as the Ima Hogg Foundation for Mental Health was willing to fund this program,” commented Deb Murphy, youth coordinator for HATCH, MCC’s group for LGBT youth. “We’re thrilled, obviously, that a program designed to help GLBT youth is considered important enough to help Houston be considered one of the Best 100 Cities for Youth—it’s not just about gay youth. So, the times, they are a changin’.” mcc.org. —Nancy Ford