The Link that connects
LINKED LGBTQ+ MENTORING
Mentors are screened and trained adults with a passion for building LGBTQ+ community and supporting LGBTQ+ youth. Mentee ages 7-18
Few mentoring programs that focus specifically on LGBTQ+ youth currently exist. Because of this, GSA Link seeks to establish and develop these essential 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 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 virtual communication, one-on-one mentoring, youth committees, and community meetings, we will assist in developing mutually enjoyable connections between LGBTQ+ youth and LGBTQ+ adults. This variety of meeting styles will help to not only grow the connection between the pairing, but encourage everyone in the program to interact with others to develop multiple networks of support, and create an intergenerational LGBTQ+ community. The community and relationships built will ultimately help both the youth and adults involved in our program to better navigate challenges they may face in identity exploration, coming out, breaking down internalized messages of hate. This may also assist in developing self-advocacy skills, and in identifying their passions.
By emphasizing the importance of coming together as a community to support LGBTQ+ youth, Linked Mentoring’s goal is to connect LGBTQ+ youth with an LGBTQ+ mentor, so that the two can develop a trusting, supportive, affirming, 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 Linked Mentoring? We'd love to have you!
The Links though it all →
Heart, compassion, and understanding
We aim to support, nourish, and celebrate our members at every juncture through a strengths-based approach, programmatic flexibility, and a deep commitment to goofiness and warmth throughout our interactions.
LGBTQ+ identity are expansive, fluid, and beautiful
Founded on the love and respect for the ways in which community can affirm, connect, and inspire, we seek to co-create as many spaces/outlets for identity exploration and expression to happen and be celebrated.
Youth equity and empowerment
We aim to create as much space as possible for youth voices to shape how our program evolves by asking youth what they want to see, promoting youth leadership, and embracing their interests.
We deeply value and embrace all identities of our members, and commit to supporting all facets of each member’s identity through anti-racist, trauma-informed, and inclusive programming, training, and program procedures.
Commitments to accountability and transparency
At every stage of our processes, we seek to make programmatic information available to all members, reflect & take action on areas of growth, and engage with this work with humility and openness to feedback.
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What our mentors are saying
"Being a mentor has been such a joy. The staff coordinators are thoughtful and inclusive of everyone, so you really feel that you're part of the GSA Link community. I feel Lucky to have found this program and met so many wonderful people, especially me mentee."
"GSA link has given me the opportunity to work with and learn from an amazing young person. More than that GSA link has given me an amazingly supportive queer community from a variety of people. It is a source of support and joy through all accomplishments and challenges for everyone involved."
"I think the program has provided a safe space for queer youth to be able to trust in someone and truly be themselves. "
"When I was in high school, I really wished that I had a non-parental resource to speak casually about things that mattered to me. Being able to be that resource for someone else has been incredibly rewarding. Not only does being a mentor make me feel like a wise elder, it has strengthened my relationship with Worcester's Queer community and gives me hope for all that we can accomplish together. "
"Volunteering as a mentor with GSA Link has been such an incredible experience for me. As a trans, queer young person who never had support around those aspects of my identity growing up, it is amazing to be able to be that older queer person to help support queer youth now. The energy of the team, the plethora of supports I get as a mentor, and the amazing training opportunities on top of mentoring are such awesome benefits of participating in this program and I am grateful to be able to volunteer beside so many amazing folks while supporting an incredible young person. "
Participating in GSA link as a mentor has engaged me as a learner just as much as a leader. It's so exciting to be exposed to a younger concept of queerness and identity- a much more creative and critical one than I had at the same age. Working with my mentee over the course of a few months has been such a source of joy and I can't wait to see how this relationship continues to change and grow!
"I'm really glad for the chance to be a mentor in this program because nothing like this existed for me when I was growing up, and I'm really happy to be able to do something I would've really appreciated."