Linked LGBTQ+ Mentoring Program
Our current program runs meetings every Saturday through April 25th, 12:30-2:30 on Clark University's campus. Mentors are trained students from Clark University.
Few peer mentoring programs that focus specifically on LGBTQ+ youth currently exist, because of this, GSA Link is looking to help establish and develop these important peer-to-peer relationships. Growing up, LGBTQ+ youth are often exposed to violence, marginalization, alienation, and rejection from a potential variety of sources: family members, peers, teachers, strangers, and the media, based on their LGBTQ+ identities. Many LGBTQ+ youth are not in situations where they have access to LGBTQ+ folks older than them who are invested in their success, growth, and identity development.
Through a variety of meeting styles, both one-on-one and group-centered sessions, with a focus on a different topic or skill each week, we will assist in developing mutually enjoyable connections. This variety of meeting styles will help to not only grow the connection between the pairing, but encourage the youth to interact with others in their own age group to develop multiple networks of support. The community and relationships built together may ultimately help the youth to navigate challenges they face in identity exploration, coming out, breaking down internalized messages of hate, advocating for themselves, and identifying their passions.
By emphasizing the importance of coming together as a community to support LGBTQ+ youth, the Linked LGBTQ+ Mentoring program’s goal is to connect LGBTQ+ youth with an LGBTQ+ mentor, so that the two can develop a trusting, supportive, mutually positive connection. Research on outcomes for young people engaged in mentoring relationships overwhelmingly shows benefits for both parties, including increased self-esteem, higher academic performance, and healthier relationships.
Interested in being a mentor or mentee with our Linked mentoring program? We'd love to have you!
Meet The Team
As Executive Director, Melissa oversees the multiple components of the Linked Mentoring program and works to direct and support and the Linked Advisory Board. Melissa, president of GSA Link, is also a speaker and advocate for LGBTQ+ youth. She is passionate about creating a world for LGBTQ+ to thrive, feel empowered and live their most authentic and successful lives. Melissa enjoys spending her free time with her two sons and loving husband.
Linked Project Manager
As project manager, Jake focused mostly on policy, procedure, and curriculum development while working with the Linked Mentoring Program. Jake is a senior at Clark University majoring in Psychology and minoring in Community, Youth, Education Studies. He is currently conducting research for his honors thesis on how LGBTQ+ young adults construct the role of social media in their gender and sexuality development. He has also been involved with Worcester-based nonprofit AIDS Project Worcester as a Peer Leader for an LGBTQ+ youth group. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, writing poetry, and spending time with friends.
Eli is a first-year student at Clark University where he is studying history and education. He is a queer transgender man who began his medical transition at fourteen years old, and has since advocated for transgender youth's rights. Elijah is very involved with Jewish life on campus, and also serves as the Vice President of Public Relations at Clark's Hillel. His passions include writing, reading, proper queer representation in media, and helping others.
Taylor is a Psychology and Women & Gender Studies major at Clark University. They are also involved with Clark’s LGBTQ+ group, Prism, and enjoy connecting queer students from all over Worcester. Taylor likes to challenge gender role conventions when competing in ballroom dancing and aspires to be a professor of gender psychology.