SOY alumni team up to fundraise for the next generation of 2SLGBTQ youth
For almost a decade, Supporting Our Youth (SOY) was a lifeline for Felipe. He had immigrated to Toronto as a young queer person without a social circle and little money, leaving behind a painful coming out experience in his home country. Looking to connect with other 2SLGBTQ newcomer youth, Felipe joined SOY.
Thanks to the Sherbourne Health program, Felipe says he was able to heal from his emotional hardships. He attributes this to SOY staff connecting him with essential services and making friends for life through SOY’s weekly drop-in groups. “SOY helped me access therapy at Sherbourne Health and resources that I never knew existed in the city” Felipe says. “Joining the program was a catalyst for me to get help with my health, finding employment, and getting housing.”
After hearing that SOY was hosting its last Bowlathon fundraiser on Saturday, October 21, Felipe decided to step up and fundraise with fellow former participants Husayn, Arun, and Yutta. Along with team captain Aamer, a former SOY staffer, the group created a Justgiving page, named themselves the Flaming Pins, and shared their story with their social networks. So far, The Flaming Pins have raised over $1,800 for the next generation of SOY youth.
For Felipe, it was important for him to share exactly what makes SOY such a vital program on his personal fundraising page. He notes on his page the direct impact that donor support has, as more 2SLGBTQ youth than ever are facing homelessness, food insecurity, and social isolation – issues that SOY addresses with its drop-in groups, housing units, and community meals. By telling his story to friends and coworkers, he’s been happy to see the far reach of his story among his social networks and how many people have been motivated to contribute to his cause.
A collage of team members on the Flaming Pins.
Once it’s time to bowl, Felipe is excited to give it his best and reunite with his friends. And for SOY’s current participants, he hopes they find their chosen families just like The Flaming Pins had. “You’re going to go through a lot of hardships, but there’s a lot of beautiful people around you,” Felipe advises. “Connect with them and life will be beautiful too.”
The Ultimate Bowlathon takes place on Saturday, October 21 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at The Ballroom (145 John Street). To donate or register for the Bowlathon, visit Justgiving.