FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Allen County Drug and Alcohol Consortium officially opened the BRAVE Alliance center Friday evening. It’s an LGBTQ center for youth and young adults in Fort Wayne.
The BRAVE Alliance center, which stands for Building Radically Affirming and Validating Environments, is a drop-in center that offers resources like counseling, activities and mutual aid groups.
MaryClare Clark, President/CEO of the Allen County Drug and Alcohol Consortium, said through drug and alcohol prevention research, she’s found that there is a need for an affirming space for LGBTQ youth.
“One of the highest populations for substance use disorder is our young people that are in the LGBTQ community,” Clark said. “So we are targeting this community as this place that can get some more services in that area, get some mental health counseling.”
The center will have groups specific to different age ranges and will include education, support, and other types of wellness like art therapy and yoga.
It will also have a free to use Queer Library, and a Hall of Fame of well-known members of the LGBTQ community.
“We want to make sure that there’s a safe place for kids and young adults to feel like they can be who they are and be loved no matter what,” Clark said.
Clark said they will also offer services to older adults as well, that may not have received the support they needed long ago.
“There’s a large group of older adults that didn’t really have the opportunity to have a safe space when they were younger, especially you know, in Indiana, so we’re having some certain hours there specifically for 55 and older as well,” Clark said.
The goal is to offer assistance to whoever needs it. Clark said they will not turn anyone away unless they are coming with hate. She said they have no tolerance for that.
Opening hours will vary each week depending on age groups. BRAVE Alliance will post each week on their website and social media pages alerting the public of what age groups will be allowed at what time.