Uplift Outreach Center is the only youth center in Upstate South Carolina who’s exclusive purpose is to serve LGBTQ+ youth. The Uplift Outreach Center was founded by Eric Nolley who envisioned a safe place for homeless and at-risk youth who identify as LGBTQ+ and needed resources in a county that had no safe spaces for socialization among LGBTQ+ youth. Eric and fellow PFLAG Spartanburg member, Debra Foreman began forming Uplift Outreach Center through the Rainbow Masquerade Ball fundraising gala held in May 2019 which helped launch the Upstate’s first LGBTQ+ outreach center. The Uplift Outreach Center opens a few afternoons during the week for youth up to 18 years old to offer enrichment, support, and resources for mental health and medical needs. An organization that was established in response to LGBTQ+ youth suicide and lack of safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth in Spartanburg, Uplift Outreach Center now provides programs for youth suicide prevention, socialization and culturally competent programs for LGBTQ+ youth ages 10 – 22, financial assistance and culturally competent mental health providers, tutoring assistance and emergency funds for the older youth.
Uplift Outreach Center will be supporting Pride Month by providing a “Queer Prom” for our youth and also streaming a program from the NYC Youth Pride organization for our youth to enjoy. Also, Uplift will be attending different venues to tell others about their organization such as hosting a booth at Black Pride in Greenville, SC. The first “Pride March” or “Stonewall Uprising” was on June 28, 1969, and was a protest in response to the criminalization, beatings and persecution of members in the LGBTQ+ community in New York City. Since then, Pride month is a part-political activism, part-celebration of what the LGBTQ+ community has achieved over the years. By recognizing the lives of the activists throughout history who fought for equal rights, those who passed due to hate and bigotry, and those lives lost to HIV/AIDS, Pride Month also lifts these important lives by celebrating through parades, protests, drag performances, live theater and memorials. Pride month honors and lifts up lgbtq voices, culture, and the support of equal rights for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Uplift Outreach Center exists because of the support from the community. If you would like to help the Center reach their goals and want the LGBTQ+ youth to be loved and supported, If you believe that LGBTQ+ youth are in need of love and support, there are many ways to contribute to the organization. You can join a youth group ranging from ages 10 – 22, volunteer at the Center, partner with the Center for services or programs, or donate to Uplift Outreach Center’s mission.