Our Mission Statement
GLYS WNY builds affirming cultures and supportive communities for youth of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.
Our Purpose & Goals
GLYS provides a safe and positive environment for LGBTQ+ youth to learn more about themselves through peer interaction and educational experiences. The organization creates opportunities for emotional growth and community awareness.
Through GLYS outreach, other agencies learn about and increase their sensitivity to the needs of gender and sexual minority youth. GLYS provides LGBTQ+ youth with positive role models and a safe space, while promoting positive self-esteem and the integration of these youth into the larger community. GLYS can also assist youth and their families by providing resources and referrals.
Members range in age from 5-21 and represent many racial, ethnic, religious and class backgrounds.
GLYS Assists LGBTQ+ Youth By Providing:
Health & Wellness Activities
LGBTQ+ Adult Peer Interactions
A Safe Space
Event & Youth Activities
Information / Resources & Referrals
Our Staff is also diverse in background, education, and experience. Each staff member is dedicated to serving LGBTQ+ youth.
Jack is a social worker with over 15 years experience in youth programs and nonprofits. Jack brings his passion for supporting LGBTQ+ youth and a deep roots in Western New York to provide GLYS the resources and support we need to provide excellent services and advocacy for our youth and their families.
School Support Coordinator
Faith began her career at GLYS as an intern and is our current School Support Coordinator. She works with school districts across WNY to make sure our LGBTQ+ students are safe at school by working with administrators, educators, students and GSAs - she is also GLYS' GSA Advisor Liaison. Faith is trained in restorative justice and has a background in psychology, women, gender, and sexuality studies.
Gi Swords, MSW
Gi began as a volunteer at GLYS in 2019 and became the Programs Manager in September 2022. They completed two full-time Americorps terms of service and have 10+ years of experience in youth, school-based, and community programming. They hold a Master of Social Work degree from the University at Buffalo and are a field educator for students at the University at Buffalo and Daemen University.
Development & Communications
A retired pastry chef, Leah came to GLYS in September 2022, with a background in Anthropology & Arts/Media Management from SUNY Purchase College. Leah has over 10 years experience in social/mass media, marketing and event planning, and has held leadership roles in youth programs throughout New York State. Having taken advantage of GLYS as a teenager herself, to work here is an opportunity to work for something that matters to her, personally, and professionally.
Youth Peer Advocate
Blaise came to GLYS in February of 2023 and works directly with youth in various programs. They head the GLYS Drop-in Center and have a background in youth support. Blaise is also a Buffalo Artie Nominee and artist. Her passion for the arts serves as a way to connect with the GLYS youth
Family Support Coordinator
Sarah began at GLYS as an intern through the University at Buffalo's Master of Social Work program and became the Family Support Coordinator in the fall of 2023. They have over 10 years of experience working with LGBTQ+ youth and families as well as many years of experience working in education. Sarah holds an MSW from UB and is currently a PhD student in the Social Welfare program where their research area focuses on LGBTQ+ youth and experiences of identity.
Meet Our Staff