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The mission of the OutCenter is to provide support and advocacy for respect, understanding and nondiscrimination to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied persons and their families in Berrien County, MI.
The OutCenter envisions Berrien County as a fully integrated community in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons and their families are welcome, respected, valued, understood, and afforded the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else.
The OutCenter Believes:
1. All members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community regardless of age, ability, race, gender, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, or gender identity deserve to be welcomed, celebrated and to become an integral part of a healthy society.
2. The inherent dignity, value and worth of all human beings must be upheld regardless of age, ability, race, gender, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
3. Violence, racism, gender injustice, classism and homophobia must be eradicated.
4. All individuals have a right and responsibility to full participation in society.
5. We should strive to develop an attitude of acceptance, appreciation and affirmation of all forms of diversity. Diversity is an asset.
6. Investing in youth is essential for their future and our community.
7. We should strive to develop a culture that fosters social activism that works to counter injustice.
8. It is our responsibility to challenge popular culture, media, faith communities, religious institutions and texts that perpetuate the devaluation of people based on age, ability, race, gender, class, sexual orientation and gender identity.
9. We should strive as an organization to be as "green" as possible at all times in all places. Everyone has a responsibility to work for a healthy and sustainable natural environment.
In the summer of 2003 the Woman's Community Association of Berrien County along with concerned members of the lesbian gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and their supporters, came together with a unified vision of a youth and adult hotline to serve the LGBT community in southwest Michigan. With the help of talented individuals, dedicated volunteers and concerned local businesses the YWCA Out & Affirmation Center was born. Over the years it was able to expand its vision to include support programs, educational outreach, and community events.
In the spring of 2008 the YWCA Out & Affirmation Center began its transition to become an independent non-profit organization incorporating in the state of Michigan as the OutCenter. The OutCenter continues to serve as an active and highly visible symbol for the LGBT community of southwest Michigan.
In November 2009, the OutCenter moved to its new home in the Arts District of Benton Harbor, Michigan. The center has a cyber center, lending library, gallery space and offers adult support groups, youth group and cultural programming.
Board of Directors
132 Water Street
Tues - Fri 12pm-5pm