Friday, June 10, 2022
Happy Pride! This month, The Home for Little Wanderers happily celebrates the youth in our programs, the families we serve and our dedicated staff who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
As an organization, we are privileged to support and advocate for LGBTQ+ children across the Northeast, and we are especially proud to provide innovative programs that offer safe, positive environments in which these individuals can feel respected and empowered. Waltham House and Out at Home are two such programs at The Home that provide a supportive space and specialized care to youth who are often experiencing difficulties or discrimination due to their gender expression or sexual identities.
On Wednesday, June 15, Waltham House residents and staff hosted their third annual Pride event, complete with yard games, great food and of course, many, many rainbows. Staff at Waltham House thoughtfully apply the spirit of Pride Month to services all year long, ensuring that residents feel celebrated, empowered and appreciated for who they are as The Home helps them prepare for reunification with their families, transitioning to a foster family or independent living.
Out at Home, operated in coordination with Waltham House, works to support youth and families by offering comprehensive services and resources while keeping individuals within their home environments and communities. The outpatient therapeutic program has grown by 400% in the past nine months and is continuously expanding to meet the needs of local families, school systems and outside agencies looking to better serve the LGBTQ+ community.
As we celebrate the achievements of our current LGBTQ+ programs this month, The Home remains focused on new opportunities to fill additional service gaps in our region for this community.
Most recently, The Home was licensed to operate a new 12-bed group home in New Hampshire, which will bring the first LGBTQ+ residence of its kind to the state. This development will enable The Home to offer specialized care and resources to an area where such supports are sparse, which has left many New Hampshire agencies with no choice but to refer their clients to The Home’s programs in Massachusetts. It is time that these youth and families have adequate care closer to home.
Ideally, congregate care dedicated to LGBTQ+ youth wouldn’t have to exist, as we would like every program at The Home to be competent in providing quality care and support to this community. Until that time comes, however, our organization will continue to leverage and lean on our 200+ years of experience in serving and LGBTQ+ youth and families, stepping in to ensure that all children feel safe, cared for and respected.