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Love Letters to Indiana’s LGBTQ Youth

Portrait - Digital Image by Marg Herder“Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn.”
–Marianne Williamson

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer …”
–John Lennon

What does it mean to live a spiritual life? Who are we here to love? How do we demonstrate God’s love in our daily interactions? As author and priest Henri J.M. Nouwen wrote, “The spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it.”

According to the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth are 8.5 times more likely to attempt suicide when facing rejection from their parents. (Ryan, C., Huebner, D., Diaz, R. M., & Sanchez, J., 2009). Without adequate love and support, these youth face high levels of depression and become more likely to engage in at-risk behaviors.

Here in the heartland, the Indiana Youth Group (IYG) works incredibly hard to eliminate the dismal suicide rate by providing a safe environment for LGBTQ youth. IYG helps build self-esteem, a positive self-image, and support for these young people. IYG also works with parents and community members to ensure we protect, nurture, and care for our youth. If interested, you can read some of the youth’s personal stories in a recent article I wrote for NUVO.  Their stories deeply touched my heart.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we sent an outpouring of love to our LGBTQ youth? What if each one of us took five minutes to write a note to the youth at IYG to let them know how much they are loved? And if so moved, we could also include a check to show our care and support. Can you imagine how amazing it would feel opening all those letters and knowing that your community loved you—more than you knew?  Perhaps one such small act will save a life at risk.

Let’s make 2013 the year we show our love—for all that we hold dear to our hearts.
Let’s make 2013 the year we honor and uphold the future well-being of our youth.
Let’s make 2013 the year that our commitment, dedication, and ongoing acts of kindness,love, and generosity change the world.

For more information about IYG visit their website.

In joy and gratitude,

Diana J. Ensign

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