This year, Lake Effect Pride is on Friday, June 16th, from 7-11pm.
Join us in a celebration of love, and to honor the following individuals who have shown exceptional care, courage, leadership and support.
Marilyn Haslett, Middle School Counselor and Founding Advisor
Austin Carter, Sophmore and Founding Member
Brandywine Middle and High School Gay-Straight Alliance
For their courage and leadership in making Brandywine Middle and High School a safe and inclusive learning community for LGBTQ+ students.
The OutCenter worked with Marilyn and Austen in the development of their school's first GSA. Since that time, the fledgling group of 7 now numbers more than 20 at times, along with much needed allies in attendance. Additional assistance was provided through OutCenter intern, Vinisha Rana, Andrews University Masters candidate in clinical psychology. Vinisha assisted Marilyn in the creation and delivery of group exercises designed to build self awareness, leadership, and self esteem and pride in self, among other things.
Shane Peters, Superintendent
Bridgman Public Schools
For his courage and leadership in educating the staff of the Bridgman Public Schools making the school system a safe and inclusive learning community for LGBTQ+ students.
In September 2016 the OutCenter was invited to provide the LGBTQ+ Diversity and Inclusiveness Training for staff encompassed elementary through high school, and administrative as well as teaching staff. This was the first time this training was provided (and mandatory) to an entire school system in Southwest Michigan. More than 75 people attended along with representatives from Lake Michigan College and Saint Joseph High School.
Cindy Swem, Guidance Counselor and Co-Founing Advisor
Charli Herman, Spanish Teacher and Co-Founding Advisor
Buchanan High School Prism Gay-Straight Alliance
For their courage and leadership in making Buchanan High School a safe and inclusive learning community for LGBTQ+ students.
In late 2016 the OutCenter began meeting with Buchanan High School staff and now continues to provide support and guidance in the first ever GSA at Buchanan. Additional assistance followed when OutCenter interns, Brittany Kind and Robert Sepulveda, Andrews University, providing support and guidance to teens. New conversations with Cindy and Charli include a possible field trip to the OutCenter, and help with the re-launch of the GSA in September 2017.
Counseling Association of Southwest Michigan
Becky Foster, President
Tracy Wagner, President Elect
For their courage and leadership in making schools and counseling practices across Southwest Michigan safe and inclusive of LGBTQ+ people and their families.
For many counselors who do not have supportive environments for LGBTQ+ students, organizations like CASM can help. CASM reached out to the OutCenter to provide the LGBTQ+ Diversity and Inclusiveness Training to its membership in October 2016. This was possibly the most engaged session the OutCenter has ever had the privilege of working with and more than 12 schools were represented within the training. Conversations are ongoing, and reports roll in about how the training, and Communities that Care decals in school counselor windows, continue to help these counselors support LGBTQ+ students across the area.
Doctor Dennis Waite
Doctor Brad Hinman
Department of Graduate Psychology & Counseling, Andrews Univeristy
For their courage and leadership in making counseling and therapy internships possible at teh OutCenter, and for their support to 5 very amazing interns.
Chris Lacefield was the first intern through Andrews University and, through his work with Doctors Waite and Hinman, paved the way for free therapy and counseling to be available to the LGBTQ+ people served by the OutCenter. Vinisha Rana, aside from her internship, also helped the Brandywine GSA. Andrea Khoury, aside from her internship, also helped to establish a pilot support group, paving the way for interns Brittany King and Robery Sepulveda who also helped Buchanan's GSA. This process has also helped to deepen the conversation regarding SOGI within Andrews University.