First, I am excited to announce that starting with the new year, we will open the doors to our free counseling program! In this program, LGBT young adults who are currently homeless, at high risk of becoming homeless or those with a history of homelessness will be able to receive free counseling services from a counselor who has agreed to volunteer their time. Our first counselor is Jean Speegle, LCSW, MSW, who has been practicing in Little Rock for 33 years and a large number of her clients have been LGBT. She is now semi-retired and has agreed to assist Lucie's Place and see our homeless LGBT young adults in need of counseling services. As the program grows, we will add more counselors who have agreed to offer their services, free of charge, to this vulnerable population. We have been working on the specifics of this program for almost a year now and it feels wonderful to add another level of assistance we are able to offer to our clients.
In 2013, we worked with and assisted 25 young adults in the area, who needed help in a variety of ways. Some needed cell phones, bus passes, food, toiletries or advice on which shelters/agencies in the area they should attempt to visit. Some of these clients simply needed someone to talk to, who wouldn’t judge them for their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. Through 2014, as Lucie’s Place grows and we move closer to opening our Transitional Living Program (TLP), we expect these numbers to rise.
We are working hard to secure the money we need to open the doors of our TLP in the coming year. Several grant requests are currently being drafted and will be submitted in January and we have two fundraisers scheduled for 2014, so mark your calendars now! March 18th, we will be hosting a dinner with the Arkansas author Brock Thompson, who wrote The Un-Natural State: Arkansas and the Queer South. On October 10th, we will be having our second annual “Hair Affair”, which is a celebration & competition of large, fabulous local hair.
The third piece of our fundraising puzzle involves donations from our own community members; that is to say, you! In the past, we have put our efforts towards searching for larger, one-time donations. This leads to us seeing spikes of donations at very specific times of the year and then those numbers decline drastically, leaving us with very sporadic income. We also recognize that asking for smaller amounts more often places less of a financial burden on our community members, who we are relying on to operate our programs.
This year, we have set a different goal for community donations. Instead of focusing on a specific monetary amount, our goal is to secure 100 donations each month, regardless of their size. Starting today, you can sign up to have any amount you choose, big or small, automatically donated each month through Paypal We hope that you will take this time to sign up to give monthly to Lucie’s Place and will encourage your network of friends to do the same! Please click here to visit the subscription form.
2013 was a year of exponential growth for Lucie's Place. With your help, 2014 will be just as successful! The board of directors & myself are excited to see where Lucie’s Place goes in 2014 and we hope that we will be able to meet our goal of opening the TLP by the end of 2014.