Attic Youth Center, Philadelphia’s only independent LGBTQ+ Youth Center and one of the oldest in the country marks its 30th-anniversary milestone and announces the recipients of the 2023 Attic Youth Center Awards, honoring individuals and organizations in four categories: OK2BU Role Model Award, Legacy Award, Outstanding Alumni Award, and the Shawn Leavitt Outstanding Volunteer Award. With more than 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills proposed across the country and youth recovering from the impacts of the pandemic, the 2023 theme of the “WE SAY GAY-LA” promises to be an extraordinary celebration of LGBTQ+ joy and a tribute to the organization’s past, present, and future. The gala will take place at The Crystal Tea Room on Saturday, November 18, 2023. VIP Reception at 6pm, Cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres at 7 pm, Dinner Awards and Dancing at 8 pm.
“We are proud to be serving LGBTQ+ youth for the past 30 years, creating a safe space for youth to be themselves, empowering them to develop into independent adults. Every day, we are doing life-changing and often life-saving work, forging a path toward a more inclusive and affirming society for all,” said Jasper Liem, Executive Director for Attic Youth Center. “Our 30-year anniversary is a celebration of our growth and development as an organization and also a bold declaration of our dedication to creating a future where every young person can flourish and grow, free from the hate and discrimination plaguing our communities now. LGBTQ+ youth and young adults led the charge to many of the rights we have won, and The Attic is here to continue supporting them as we move toward a safer and more equitable future.”
2023 awardees include:
OK2BU Role Model Award: TS Madison
TS Madison is a reality television personality, actress, hostess, and LGBTQ+ activist. With the reality show The TS Madison Experience, she became the first black trans woman to star in and executive produce her own reality series. As one of the biggest names on social media, TS Madison is featured on Beyonce’s “Renaissance” track titled “COZY”, making her and Honey Dijon (a producer on the track) the first transwomen to land a top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Madison uses her celebrity status to advocate for both the trans community and LGBTQ rights. Her body of work in television and film for which she is known includes Trans-Me, The Lady in The Locket, Zola, Bros., AMC’s ALLBLK series, Hush, RuPaul’s Drag Race Untucked! and more. Madison’s story of growing up trans and sharing her life on social media platforms has reshaped the way the public conceptualizes transgender and gender-nonconforming identities and experiences.
Outstanding Alumni Award: O’Shae Sibley (posthumous)
O’Shae Sibley was an Attic Youth Center member since he was 17 years old. As a talented and dedicated dancer, he was very involved at Philadanco! and brought his skills to The Attic’s Dance, Art, and Vogue groups, often supporting other youth in exploring their identities through performing arts. O’Shae often represented The Attic Youth Center at Philadelphia Pride and OutFest events as well as his involvement with the LGBTQ Kwanzaa collective. He stood out as someone who always worked to talk through difficult situations, gave time for understanding, and wanted to share his love of dance with others. He was a rare individual who spoke truth to power but with kindness in his heart. This award serves as a tribute to O’Shae’s life, his unyielding commitment to equality and inclusion, and an enduring reminder that the fight for justice and acceptance must persist. The posthumous award will be received by O’Shae Sibley’s family and friends.
Shawn Leavitt Outstanding Volunteer Award: Dow Inc.
Named by the Human Rights Campaign as one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality,” Dow Inc. is a globally leading chemical and plastics manufacturer that avidly advocates for fair and equal treatment to the LGBTQ+ community. Dow offers best-in-class policies and practices for LGBTQ+ colleagues, including equal benefits to same-sex partners for health, dental and life insurance, parental and bereavement leave, and more. Dow also established global minimum standards for paid time off for new parents and family caregivers – which includes birthing and non-birthing parents, regardless of gender, as well as adoptive and foster parents. Dow has been a decade-long partner and supporter of Attic Youth, sponsoring monthly dinners, sitting on the Board, celebrating our annual Harvest Dinner, and more.
The Outstanding Volunteer Award is named after Attic Youth’s former Board President, Shawn Leavitt who died suddenly in 2020. Leavitt was a leader in health care benefits programs and worked as an executive in that capacity for several Fortune 500 companies for over 20 years, including Knight-Ridder, Safeway, The Coca-Cola Company, and Comcast.
Legacy Award: Carrie Jacobs, PhD
In 1993, Carrie Jacobs, alongside Daren Wade, started an eight-week “pilot” project to provide a weekly, after-school support group for LGBTQ+ youth, meeting in the attic of Voyage House, a Philadelphia-based social service organization. Under Dr. Jacob’s leadership, as Executive Director for 26 years, she led a diverse team of staff and volunteers to build a comprehensive multiservice social service agency for Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ youth community. She is committed to creating social change through education, training, and outreach and by the process of developing LGBTQ+ youth into leaders for the future. Dr. Jacobs continues her commitment to creating social change into the future by serving as a consultant to a multitude of youth serving organizations. Among her many accomplishments, Dr. Jacobs served on Mayor Michael Nutter’s Advisory Board on LGBT Affairs where she chaired the Education Committee. She also played a key role in leading a workgroup of Philadelphia housing providers in creating additional housing options and supportive services for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. Dr. Jacobs is a licensed clinical social worker and holds a Doctorate in Psychology.
The Legacy Award recognizes and celebrates Carrie Jacobs for her decades of service and advocacy for LGBTQ+ youth and the steadfast leadership that built The Attic Youth Center into a nationally renowned multi-service organization. During her tenure, The Attic served over 20,000 youth, many of whom have become leaders and advocates themselves.
The Attic offers a wide range of programs and services designed to provide youth with the support and skills needed to transition into independent, thriving adults. The Attic strives to have a positive impact on all aspects of youth’s lives; to facilitate growth, empowerment, and resiliency; and to help youth find their voice, which is often silenced.
Sponsors for the Attic Youth Center 30th Anniversary gala include notable, Philadelphia-based businesses and organizations including Comcast NBCUniversal, Dow Inc., Independence Blue Cross, Philly AIDS Thrift, Stradley Ronon, Tom Spann and Family, David Topel, Bob Courey, and Tom Keebler.
To purchase tickets and learn more about the Attic Youth Center 30th Anniversary Gala, please visit https://atticyouthcenter.org/gala/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Attic Youth Center, please visit https://atticyouthcenter.org/.