Nation’s Largest Education and Counseling Organizations Partner with HRC in Supporting LGBTQ Youth

by HRC Staff

NEA and American Counseling Association Join HRC’s Time To THRIVE Conference, Promoting Safety, Inclusion and Well-Being for LGBTQ Youth

WASHINGTON – The National Education Association (NEA) and the American Counseling Association (ACA) have become Co-Presenting Conference Partners at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s inaugural Time To THRIVE Conference – supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. The national conference, which will take place in February, is for educators and other youth-serving professionals and will build awareness and cultural competency, offer best practices, and deliver resources from leading experts working on behalf of LGBTQ youth.  The NEA is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing 3 million members in education; and the ACA is the largest association representing professional counselors in various practice settings.  

“Our partnership with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation comes at a critical time in the struggle for the rights of LGBTQ people in our country,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “We’ve come a long way on the road to legal equality, but we have many miles still to go.”

"Time to Thrive was created to address an issue head on. That's the approach our counseling professionals encourage and that's the approach we support as a strong, unified counseling community. By sharing knowledge, tools, insights, and techniques, we can better serve this invaluable population," said ACA President Cirecie West Olatunji, Ph.D. 

The NEA has long been an advocate for LGBTQ rights. Partnering with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation will help the organization’s leaders provide members with the tools they need to better meet the needs of LGBTQ youth. Participating in the first annual Time to THRIVE conference will give NEA members an opportunity to develop partnerships and share what they’ve learned with other professionals who are also serving America’s youth. 

The ACA and its diverse professional membership embrace a humanistic approach to mental health, focusing on empowerment, engagement, and support as integral components of health and well-being for each individual. HRC and the Time to Thrive conference also embody this approach by striving to provide relevant, timely, powerful education and resources, which will help youth-serving professionals address the realities of one of our nation's most vulnerable populations. A shared vision of focused care and prevention made this partnership a natural progression for ACA.

"All young people should be provided with a safe place to learn and an equitable chance to thrive,” said Vinnie Pompei, Director of HRC Foundation’s Youth Well-Being Project and conference chair.  “Unfortunately, that doesn't happen automatically for those who identify or are perceived to be LGBTQ.  Educators and other youth-service providers are thirsty for training and resources.  I am thrilled that Time to THRIVE will provide these professionals with a ‘one-stop-shop’ opportunity to become emerging experts and change agents in their communities.”

About Time to THRIVE

Time to THRIVE is the premier national convening to build awareness and cultural competency, learn current and emerging best practices, and gather resources from leading experts and national organizations in the field.  Time to THRIVE will take place over President’s Day Weekend, February 14-16, 2014 at Bally’s Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.  Learn more and register   

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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