Community Engagement

In addition to youth programming, community engagement is a cornerstone of our work at GLSEN Collier. In a state where queer youth continue to be attacked in political, social, and often educational arenas, it is imperative that we educate and inform those around us about the impact this is having on our LGBTQ+ youth. It is by amplifying the student voices to share their own lived experiences that we will change our community to be a safer, more welcoming, and affirming place for each child.

School Board Meetings

Our commitment to these students drives us to be a presence at every Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) Board meeting. Staying up-to-date with the latest developments in the school system is crucial for the advocacy and protection of our LGBTQ+ youth. We are able to advocate for comprehensive policies that make our campuses safe for all students regardless of gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, or disability by regularly speaking at these board meetings. GLSEN Collier County is more than just a voice in these meetings – we are a beacon of hope, understanding, and unwavering support for every LGBTQ+ young person wishing to feel safe and affirmed in their academic journey. Contact us if you are interested in sharing your story or speaking at a CCPS Board meeting.

Collier County School Board. Credit: CCPS
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Greater Naples speaking engagement.

Community Education

GLSEN has always been committed to training educators to create safe and affirming spaces for queer and trans youth while also empowering educators to act in solidarity with LGBTQ+ students. In the past, our local chapter has been able to provide professional development in our schools. However, new laws have created a climate of fear, and we have largely been forced to pivot from this school-based forum to one that is community-based. Through our work with the Collier County Education Association (CCEA), our local teacher union, and Equality Florida, we provide training for educators on how to implement policies that create safe and affirming classrooms without putting a teacher’s livelihood at stake. We also are able to provide training for parents and families as to what their rights are under the new laws and how to use the laws to provide better support and care for their queer children. Finally, we meet with school district administration periodically to share concerns from teachers, students, and parents while also presenting resources and policies that support our queer and trans youth without violating any of the recent anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

Engaging our community and informing them of the reality our students are facing in CCPS is another key component of the work we do. In doing so, we believe it is essential to center the student voice and lived experiences, so we train our youth to share their stories. The GLSEN Collier SHINE Team recently presented 'The Effects of Today’s Social and Political Landscapes on LGBTQ+ Youth' to a local audience who was disheartened to hear about the reality our queer students are facing in our schools and around our community on a regular basis. Whether it be a student panel presentation or as a panelist on a local town hall event, GLSEN Collier County is dedicated to amplifying student voices across our community to effect real and lasting change. If you, too, would like us to present at one of your events, please contact us.

Organizational Partnerships

GLSEN Collier County works with a variety of groups and organizations here in Collier County that have similar missions and values.

  • We work closely with the Naples Pride Organization as a member of their Business Alliance. We also play an active role in their Advocacy Committee.
  • We have always been a part of the Naples Pridefest, where GLSEN Collier co-chair, Chris, was recognized as the 2023 Advocate of the Year.
  • Each year we partner with Equality Florida and Collier County Education Association (teachers union) to provide education and information to families and teachers.
  • We continue to partner with the Interfaith Alliance of SWFL and UUC Greater Naples to advocate for social change among many people of varying faiths.
  • Many affirming businesses and organizations, both locally and across the state, have partnered with us as sponsors at our annual Youth Pride Conference.

Contact us if you, too, would like to partner with us.

GLSEN Collier County booth at Naples Pride 2023.

Stay Up to Date

Stay up-to-date with everything going on with GLSEN Collier County! Learn about upcoming social events, training, volunteer opportunities, and more. Sign up for our Newsletter today so that you are ready to answer the call to action when it comes.