Providing a safe and supportive journey for young individuals who are in the process of discovering and understanding their own identity.


October 12, 2023 – Episode # 109

Nurturing Youth Through the Journey of Self-Discovery featuring Zoe O’Haillin-Berne

LGBTQ+ youth face a unique set of challenges as they navigate the path toward self-discovery and authenticity. In a society that should ideally be a safe haven for diversity, they often find themselves contending with prejudice, discrimination, and a lack of understanding. The struggle to have their voices heard and their identities respected can be an arduous one. Many grow up in environments that don’t affirm their experiences, leaving them feeling isolated and misunderstood. This isolation can have profound effects on mental health and well-being.

Tragically, society often falls short of providing the necessary support and acceptance for LGBTQ+ youth. Outdated norms and biases persist, making it difficult for them to express themselves openly. This lack of affirmation not only affects their self-esteem but can lead to devastating consequences. The prevalence of suicide among LGBTQ+ youth is a heartbreaking reality, highlighting the urgent need for more inclusive, affirming, and empathetic communities that celebrate and protect the rights and well-being of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Since its inception in 1987, Indiana Youth Group (IYG) has been at the forefront of creating safe, affirming spaces for LGBTQ+ young people. Their mission is clear: to support individuals aged 12-24 who self-identify as LGBTQ+, as well as their ally peers. What sets IYG apart is its unwavering commitment to offering all programs and services free of charge.

Zoe O’Haillin-Berne, the Director of Engagement, recently shared insights on Raise Nation Radio, shedding light on the crucial work undertaken by IYG. The organization’s primary focus is to establish spaces where young LGBTQ+ individuals can build self-confidence, explore their unique identities, and form meaningful connections within the LGBTQ+ community. By creating safe havens, IYG not only fosters a sense of belonging but also amplifies the voices of LGBTQ+ youth.

Zoe also highlights the harsh realities faced by many LGBTQ+ youth, with one in four individuals experiencing rejection from their families upon coming out. This often leads to precarious living situations, such as couch-surfing or, in extreme cases, homelessness. However, with Indiana Youth Group spearheading systematic change, there is a glimmer of hope and the promise of brighter prospects for these young individuals.

This episode covers:

  • Championing acceptance, equity, and restorative practices.
  • Advocating for LGBTQ+ youth in various spheres, including schools and communities.
  • Supporting, affirming communities where LGBTQ+ youth live vibrant, empowered lives.

Connect with Zoe on Linked In: Zoe O’Haillin-Berne or visit: Indiana Youth Group


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