On Saturday, September 6, 2014, a local organization called Pizza Klatch (PK) will host an annual silent auction, “A Slice of the Good Life” in Olympia, Washington. Proceeds will benefit the nonprofit organization, which offers support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQQIA) youth, as well as their allies. GoodTherapy.org is proud to help sponsor this event and the local organization behind it.
Pizza Klatch is present in nine high schools in Thurston County, and Grotsky hopes to get groups in the three other high schools, as well as many middle schools in Thurston County, this fall. “When time and money allows,” says Grotsky, “we want to set up a way for other communities throughout the country to replicate what PK does. We have lots of requests, but the cost of training, consulting, and creating a clear and easy-to-understand start-up manual takes a lot of money and personnel time.”
These are all considerations for anyone looking to start Pizza Klatch in their own communities. “First,” advises Grotsky, “get a group of you who can work together and think about where you can get funding.” Then, she says, “Find money, maybe through grants that can cover the costs of training and consulting with them to start a Pizza Klatch. The biggest cost is the pizza.”
There’s no questioning the value of that pizza and the organization as a whole. Grotsky says she hears great feedback from students all around the county. “Many PK Youth state that the support group is keeping them in school and is their favorite part of attending high school.” The appreciation shows in Pizza Klatch’s immense success and growth: “We started with one after-school group in 2007 where two families ended up sending their students away to ‘straighten’ them out. Since then we moved the groups to lunchtime and included allies. We now have 16 weekly groups happening during the school year.”
Kelly Hanson, a facilitator of Pizza Klatch discussion groups, says, “Pizza Klatch does everything right; they know what the youth need and feed into that, not allowing outside sources to dictate what happens. That’s what makes PK special and what makes youth come week after week, year after year. They’re being fed physically, socially, and emotionally.”
Pizza Klatch groups have given students more than a place to talk; they have given many youth hope and motivation. Statistics from Pizza Klatch surveys show that 97% of youth who had attempted suicide previously report no new attempts, and 96% of youth who had self-harmed reported reduced or zero incidents of self-harm after attending Pizza Klatch. To LGBT youth who may be hesitant to seek support, Grotsky says, “Find a group like Pizza Klatch where you don’t have to come out. You never have to identify your sexuality in our groups. Also, find one person you know you can trust who you can talk to. It is so hard to keep all that in.”
GoodTherapy.org is proud to continue to support nonprofit organizations and strengthen the Olympia community, home to GoodTherapy.org’s regional office. CEO and Founder of GoodTherapy.org Noah Rubinstein says, “I envision a world in which ALL students, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or any other variable, will have a safe and positive school experience. It’s hard to reconcile how the human species can be so technically advanced, yet so unevolved emotionally that ignorance and fear-driven racism, sexism, homophobia, and bullying are present in our schools. No one deserves to be bullied and shamed and all children should be protected from it. I applaud and support Pizza Klatch for their work protecting LGBTQ kids!”
Learn more about Pizza Klatch at pizzaklatch.org. If you’re in Olympia or the surrounding areas, come check out the Pizza Klatch annual “gayla” this weekend. Auction items include dancing lessons, dinner with congressman Denny Heck, and a sailing adventure—to name just a few. Help show appreciation for Pizza Klatch and its community advocacy for LGBT youth!
© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.