Rev. Morgan R. McLean recently visited the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia to present a donation check for $1,820 to the center’s Ally Safe Schools Program as part of the church’s Offering Outreach campaign, which designates a different charitable organization each month to receive half the Sunday collection plate.
There are many organizations that advocate for LGBTQ issues, but the Ally Safe Schools Program is unique in specifically reaching out to staff and students in Philadelphia schools to create more inclusive environments for LGBTQ youth. Ally coordinates Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs), which are meetings that bring students from throughout the region together for networking, collaboration, and friendship. The program hosted seven citywide GSAs this year in addition to working with 56 middle and high schools in the Philadelphia School District.
Rev. McLean explained why this match made sense: “The Ally Safe Schools Program was an exciting effort to support, as it directly lines up with our sexuality education program, Our Whole Lives. We are committed to teaching our children and youth the values of healthy sexuality as part of their faith development, and giving them support when they are ready to express their own identities.
“Main Line Unitarian Church is also a dedicated member of the Welcoming Congregation Program of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Our members work to create a safe and welcoming place for all people, as well as engage as public advocates for LGBT issues. We’re happy to connect with the Mazzoni Center, who have been a leading voice for inclusion and care in the Philadelphia area.”
Mazzoni Center Prevention Services Director Eric Paulukonis said: “We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Main Line Unitarian Church community. This donation from their Offering Outreach Program will help us to reach more youth in need of support, and enable us to create more safe spaces across Philadelphia for LGBTQ youth and allies.”
He added, “It is always wonderful to connect with organizations who share in our commitment of improving the well-being of youth, and we hope that we can continue this relationship in the future.”
Photo: Rev. Morgan R. McLean of Main Line Unitarian Church presents a donation check for $1,820 to the Mazzoni Center Ally Safe Schools Program, which reaches out to staff and students in Philadelphia schools to create more inclusive environments for LGBTQ youth. From left: Mazzoni Center Director of Development and Marketing Perry Monastero, Rev. McLean, Ally Program Associate Jaymie Campbell, and Executive Director Nurit Shein.