Q Center takes long-term focus on funding

— The Q Center, a not-for-profit drop-in facility for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered and questioning youth, is the only center of its kind within an 80-mile radius.

It serves 250 youth annually, some driving from Utica, Watertown and Binghamton to make use of the center. The Q Center provides including education and support groups, school outreach, arts programs, summer workshops, after-school programs, HIV and STD prevention education, Youth Voice Advocacy programs and counseling services.

And all of this is made possible by a variety of funding sources. But, as any non-profit knows, those sources are not guaranteed.

We were thrilled last week to hear that the Q Center has organized an event that is structured to serve as a dedicated funding source for the center.

The “eQuality Film Fest” will be an all-day event Sunday, Oct. 9 featuring three LGBTQ-themed films, including local favorite “Fagbug,” by Syracuse-area native Erin Davies.

“We are hoping this is a fundraiser that mimics the AIDS Community Resource AIDS Walk,” said Maureen Harrington O’Neill, Q Center Development Director.

With budgets already slashed and expected to stay that way — or to become even sparser — it seems like a no-brainer that programs relying heavily on outside funding sources should be strategizing plans to wean themselves off of public money.

Yet few are doing it so publicly as The Q Center. We’re excited to see long-term planning with the goal of stabilizing funding for one of the most important youth programs in the city.

And the fact that those plans center around an event meant to connect the LGBTQ community with the greater population, and to “raise awareness and be a bridge between the youth and the community as a whole,” as Harrington O’Neill put it, is a huge bonus.

The Q Center is regularly in need of volunteers, mentors and donations. Recent flooding has created a small list of immediate needs, including an area rug. To donate or learn more about volunteering with the center, call 701-2431 or email qcenter@aidscommunityresources.org.

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