OLYMPIA, WA - Pizza Klatch, a youth-focused LGBTQ+ nonprofit in Olympia and Thurston County, will host their 2nd Annual Fundraising Gayla: 'A Slice of the Good Life' on Saturday, January 23 at 7 p.m. at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts (512 Washington St. SE, Olympia).
'As a member of the LGBTQ+ community for over 40 years, I am delighted to see changes that have led to marriage equality and advancements in Transgender healthcare. However, more than ever LGBTQ+ youth need a supportive environment where they can explore who they are and to begin to understand how essential they are to a rich and diverse society,' said Kathy Kravit-Smith, Pizza Klatch Board President.
'The 2nd annual Gayla is the single most important fundraiser for Pizza Klatch. It encourages us to rally around our LGBTQ+ youth and demonstrate the incredible support that exists in the greater Thurston County community. This is a 'command performance' for all of us who want to send a message of support and acknowledgement to Thurston County LGBTQ+ and allied youth.'
'A Slice of the Good Life' will raise much needed funds and awareness to continue Pizza Klatch's weekly lunchtime support groups in 11 Thurston County area high schools, serving pizza and support to nearly 250 LGBTQ+ youth and allies each week. Support groups meet during high school lunch period with free pizza, two trained facilitators, and a convenient and safe forum for support, discussion and education.
Pizza Klatch aims to eliminate suicide and reduce bullying, with the mission to foster resiliency in LGBTQ+ youth and create a safe and positive school experience through support, education and empowerment.
'We are dedicated to supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning, Intersex, Two-Spirit, Pansexual, Asexual, Gender-fluid, and Genderqueer Youth (LGBTQ+) and their allies. Since 2007, we have been building community and promoting self-love for LGBTQ+ youth while preventing suicide, reducing self-harm, and keeping teens on track to graduate high school.'
What does 'Pizza Klatch' mean?
Pizza - A favorite food among high school students. Italian in origin, made of thin bread dough with a spiced mixture of tomato sauce and cheese and various toppings.
Klatch - A Yiddish word for informal social gathering, especially for means of conversation.
GAYLA EVENT DETAILS:
The VIP Reception (6:00-7:00 p.m.) will feature keynote speaker Ed Murray, Seattle's openly Gay Mayor and other special guest speakers plus catering and wine from Swing Wine Bar. VIPs will also enjoy the best seats in the house.
Main Event (6:30-7:30 p.m.) Silent auction and plenty of networking with LGBTQ+ and allied professionals, Pizza Klatch youth participants, dignitaries, and public elected officials. A sponsored Panowicz Jewelry RING EVENT provides guests with a chance to win jewelry worth over $1500.
Mainstage Performances (7:30-10 p.m.) include the talents of:
o Student speakers from two Thurston County high schools to share how Pizza Klatch has helped them build community and simply survive the challenging experience of being an LGBTQ+ teen.
o Richard Blanco, Poet Laureate at President Obama's second inauguration, writer, storyteller, multi-winner of the Maine Literary Award for poetry, and winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize and Thom Gunn Award for his 2012 book of poetry Looking for the Gulf Motel, 'which related Blanco's complex navigation through his cultural, sexual, and artistic identities.'
o Chely Wright, first popular country musician to come out as Lesbian, star of auto-biographical documentary 'Wish Me Away,' Author of Like Me, and founder of The Like Me Foundation, a LGBTQ+ community center and scholarship foundation in Kansas City, MO.
VIP Tickets: $107-$117; Reserved Seating: $67-$77; $47-$57; $27-$37; Student: $7-$17. Call 360-339-7574 or visit http://pizzaklatch.org/ to order tickets.
EVENT SPONSORS include:
AFSCME Local 443, South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) and the SPSCC Foundation, Chehalis Confederated Tribe of Indians, City of Tumwater, Karen Valenzuela, Robert and Sue Quillian, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Kathryn & Susan Kravit-Smith, Rep. Sam Hunt, NOVA School, Beyond the Bridge Foundation, Paul Battan Law, Pride Foundation, Phoenix Offices, Mary Hall, Shawn Myers, Jonathan Lack and more.
ABOUT PIZZA KLATCH:
Pizza Klatch helps some of the most vulnerable youth in Thurston County. A Pizza Klatch 2014-2015 survey of high school students who participated in Pizza Klatch revealed 91% of students hear LQBTQ+ slurs used in a derogatory way, 70% of youth attendees had attempted to harm themselves in the past, and 34% of youth surveyed had tried at least once to end their life prior to attending Pizza Klatch. The support groups are truly working. 64% of participants feel less isolated at school, 45% use less alcohol and/or drugs, 71% feel more supported and listened to, and 63% think less frequently about suicide since attending Pizza Klatch.
For more information, please contact Executive Director Jessica McKimmie at firstname.lastname@example.org, Board President Kathy Kravit-Smith at email@example.com, call 360-339-7574 or visit http://pizzaklatch.org/
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