When I was in middle school I came out to someone I thought I could trust, and they outed me to the guy I liked. I thought it would feel better to let other people know who I was, but it just made me a target. I became sad, lonely and had considered dropping out of school, and even taking my own life.
Then at 14 years old, I heard about The Attic Youth Center. When I started going to The Attic I was in a very dark place – I didn’t interact much with anyone but somehow, I felt safe there, and so I kept coming back. I no longer felt so alone. Instead I felt a sense of community and belonging which helped me feel hopeful about my life again.
The Attic provided me with so many opportunities and experiences, all of which helped me to become the person I am today. I found family, friendship, and a passion for living that I had nearly lost. I started going to The Attic everyday and participating in as many groups and programs as I could and took advantage of the many leadership opportunities. I became a Peer Leader at The Attic, and for the first time I was responsible for learning information and communicating it effectively to others.
Through my connections at The Attic I found a job which I needed, and love, at a restaurant. After several promotions, I am now a manager and travel around the country as a trainer, responsible for teaching teams of people.
Without the emotional support and the skills that I developed at The Attic, I honestly don’t think that I would be where I am today.
The Attic helped me to grow and overcome my sadness and fear about my sexuality while finding myself. There was a time I didn’t have a voice, and now I’ll never let anyone take that voice away from me.
Today, as a 26 year old, black gay man, I am so happy to say that I love myself and the life I’m living.