March 05, 2012

GLSEN Student Ambassador Founds "Make It Safe Project"

This post is by GLSEN Student Ambassador Amelia

I am a GLSEN Student Ambassador and the founder and president of The Make It Safe Project. The Make It Safe Project donates LGBT-themed books to schools and youth homeless shelters nationwide. The idea started when I went to my school's library in search of books about being LGBT and discovered that there were almost no books on the subject. I then talked to my fellow GLSEN Student Ambassadors and they described similar situations at their schools. I added youth homeless shelters to my donation program when I found out that roughly 40% of homeless youth nationwide identify as LGBT.

The Make It Safe Project officially launched in the November of 2011. Since then, many wonderful people have donated, shared their stories, and requested books. Each box of books The Make It Safe Project sends includes ten books, a mix of fiction and nonfiction.

One of the things I enjoy the most about the project is I have gotten the opportunity to talk to teens across the country who are doing whatever they can in their own communities to make them accepting. Currently, I have sent nearly twenty book boxes to schools and youth homeless shelters in Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington.

Following GLSEN's message that everyone can be involved in creating positive change, The Make It Safe Project is not just about large donations (though they are wonderful, of course). The goal is for everyone to be able to take part in whatever way they can. While each book box costs $100 to put together and send, donations of $10 still play a huge role in changing the lives of thousands of LGBT teens.

Many have asked me if The Make It Safe Project is a "solo project." While I am the founder and president of The Make It Safe Project, I would not call it a solo project. Every person who has taken part--whether they have donated, posted the link on their Facebook page, or shared their stories on the website--is part of the team. We are all working toward equality for all.

I would like to thank GLSEN for inspiring me to make positive change for LGBT teens. GLSEN taught me that anyone can make a difference, and gave me the courage to begin a project that has now reached thousands of teens across the country.

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