Member Spotlight: Riot Youth (Neutral Zone)
Riot Youth is a safe and supportive space for teens to build community for teens to build community and connect through social activism at The Neutral Zone, a diverse, youth-driven teen center dedicated to promoting personal growth through artistic expression, community leadership and the exchange of ideas.
Here's a quick Q&A with Neutral Zone's Program Director, Suzie Staley, about Riot Youth's current and upcoming adventures!
Any current highlights for new projects, or projects just finished?
"We are currently connected with a state organization called MOASH (Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health) and are working together to create community conversations in our area where a team member and a community member go into school districts to talk about how to be of highest service and support to LGBTQIAA+ young people. We will provide a training as well as ongoing coaching and resources. This was done on a small scale last year with Neutral Zone and a partner at the University of Michigan. Additionally, we made a video about how LGBTQIAA+ young people in Michigan feel at school and in their communities and what they need to thrive. Finally, the teens at NZ have hosted a number of teach-ins for local educators to understand how they feel and how to best serve queer teens."
Where is the program hoping to go in the future?
"We would like to continue having conversations within the Neutral Zone, in the broader community and beyond. Additionally, we would like to work in schools in a more in-depth way this year."
What has been a challenge for the program this year?
"We are in a transition year in that we lost a lot of seniors and are recruiting more youth. We are also continuing to explore how to best hold space for those most marginalized in our queer community."
What's next on the adventures list?
"Community Conversations, dreaming up the next digital storytelling project that will hopefully, be scaled to the State Level."
Learn more about The Neutral Zone on their website.