We Need Encircle

When loved ones come out to their families, too often they feel forced to seek answers alone. The Encircle: Family and Youth Resource Center will enable families to do what they do best — support one another through challenging times. 

Here, families will discover reliable information and referrals based on nationally recognized best practices. All materials are tailored to meet the specific needs of our predominantly, but not exclusively, Mormon community. 

The majority of LGBTQ youth, adults, and family members experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and family alienation. The latest research overwhelmingly reveals that the more love and acceptance sexual and gender minority youth are given, the more likely they are to succeed in life. And the most significant source of that love and acceptance is the family. 

 

Meaningful Design

Jared Connors, architectural designer, sits down with us to explain the plans we have for the Encircle Home. Encircle is Provo's 1st LGBTQ Family & Youth Resource Center. As you can see we are in the middle of construction but couldn't wait to share our vision with you!

 

Our Location

91 W 200 S
Provo UT 84601
USA

 
Credit Required: Encircle: LGBT Family & Youth Resource Center

Credit Required: Encircle: LGBT Family & Youth Resource Center


Our Timeline

 
 

ENCIRCLE: LGBT FAMILY & YOUTH RESOURCE CENTER

GRAND OPENING

PRESS STATEMENT

Release Date: February 7, 2017

 

Encircle: LGBTQ Family and Youth Resource Center will host its grand opening of the nonprofit’s new center located in a beautiful historic home at 91 West 200 South in Provo, Utah, on Saturday, February 11, 2017, 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Senator Jim Dabakis will open the event and as well acting as master of ceremonies, with additional remarks from founding director Stephenie Larsen, board members Barb Young and Katy Bettner, and Provo Mayor John Curtis. Conner Leavitt will perform a vocal solo “Bring Him Home” (Schonberg), accompanied by Lisa Hansen. Young’s husband, Steve Young will also be in attendance. 

Both the building and charity are being dedicated to John Williams (1944 – 2016), the first donor to commit funding to Encircle before his passing. His legacy of community involvement and generosity helped shape the vision of Encircle. Following the ribbon cutting there will be a reception with Encircle’s board, along with the organization’s dedicated volunteers, generous donors, and artists involved in the Love Louder Art Sale. 

Encircle is excited to be the first LGBTQ center, of its kind in Utah. Its dedicated team is ready and excited to serve the Utah community and plans to be around for years to come. The organization’s donors and supporters make the resource center stronger and, with their support, Encircle’s doors will never close.

Following the grand opening, the resource center will open to the public for services on Tuesday, February 14, 2017—Valentine’s Day. Encircle’s team will serve LGBT youth and their families within the community—offering support and love—while providing a safe gathering place for families, individuals, and the community. The center’s work includes hosting support groups, facilitating individual and family counseling, working with schools to create a safe space for sexual and gender minority youth, hosting guest speakers and workshops, and much more.

Encircle’s team would like to invite members of the press to attend the event. 

Location: 91 West 200 South | Provo, Utah

Grand Opening: Saturday, February 11, 2017 | 2 – 4:00 p.m.

Opening for Service: Tuesday, February 14, 2017

For more information, please contact Jacob Dunford at info@encircletogether.org.

Our Mission Statement

We are bringing together the family and community to help LGBTQyouth thrive. 

Our Philosophy

Encircle will deepen and enrich the conversation among communities of faith and LGBTQ people. By teaching individuals to love themselves and empowering families, Encircle will help to cultivate an environment where these individuals can thrive. 

Our programs and services will meet people wherever they are in their lives with cultural competency and sensitivity, using community partnerships, best practices, and innovative techniques. 

Our Ethical Standards

Encircle is committed to abiding by a standard of ethical communication and conflict resolution. It will adhere to the following ethics and ideals: Acknowledging and accepting differences in healthy ways,  listening and communicating effectively and respectfully, maintaining confidentiality, thoughtfully and responsibly engaging with media, and seeking to resolve interpersonal and community disputes.

Religion will always be respected, and all sexual orientations and gender identities will be considered healthy and normal. Encircle will maintain a trusted, respected, and respectful presence in the community.

Our Values

Respect for all persons and the celebration of unique identities and intersections.

Excellence in all programs, services, education and trainings.

Integrity in all interactions.

Transparency in operations and governance.

Best practices and development of new techniques to promote health and wholeness for sexual and gender minorities and their families.

Supporting faith and faith practices for sexual and gender minorities who desire spiritual connections.

Creating and sustaining community-based models that operate along a system of ethical care.

From opening day onward, Encircle will evolve into both an incubator of innovation and a collaborative service leader. Our team will create a flexible outreach model that will work in tandem with a range of community-based volunteers, allied professionals, and mental and social-support experts, in ways that are highly effective and compassionate. 

Finally, the most distinct, the most distinct benefit that Encircle will bring to the current situation facing our community will be a safe, welcoming, and supportive physical space. And the spirit that we cultivate in the space will be the simplest yet most important factor that Encircle will host. 

There are many support groups, sources of information, and best practices for addressing the needs of families in the community. However, what all these resources lack, is a spirit-filled space that invites individuals and families to gather as often as needed. We need a space where individuals can be vulnerable, be heard and explore all that they are called to face at the intersection of their faith and being a sexual or gender minority.

Press Release

Encircle Family and Youth Resource Center—a nonprofit organization that addresses the needs of LGBTQ youth and their families in Utah—employs a revolutionary approach that focuses not just on the LGBTQ youth, but on the family. Stephenie Larsen, founder and the center’s Executive Director, stated that Encircle’s “main goal is to help support the family through trying times.  We want to help the family enlarge and sustain their circle of love. We believe the most important factor in a youth thriving is for them to feel genuine love and support from their families.”

The nonprofit center serves as hub to find resources that support the overall well-being of sexual and gender minorities, as well as provides a physical gathering place for families, individuals, and the community, to host activities that are safe and enriching. Additionally, Encircle plans to facilitate skills training, individual counseling, conflict resolution, and other resources, and will model what an inclusive home might look and feel like.

Located in Provo, Utah, Encircle will open its doors in February 2017. Motivated by the number of LGBTQ youth and adults experiencing alienation from their families and communities of faith in Utah, Larsen decided to take action in order to prevent tragedy.  She explained: “kids in Utah are often scared to come out to their families for fear of being kicked out or disowned. Loneliness, depression and absolute fear overwhelms these LGBTQ kids, [as] their worlds are turned upside down and they have nowhere to turn.” Encircle was created to address the lack of support and information surrounding Utah’s LGBTQ youth and their families in the area’s predominantly LDS Utah community. 

Utah has the fifth highest rate of youth suicide in the country, with sexual and gender minority youth who experience rejection from their parents having an eight-times greater risk of suicide. Additionally, eight-six percent of sexual and gender minority students also report experiencing harassment at school. Those that are LDS experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and family alienation, all of which frequently results in a loss of faith and of their spiritual support community. However, Encircle’s unique focus on the family stems from the knowledge that youth are nine times less likely to commit suicide if their family is affirming. The organization aims to give LGBTQ youth and their families the space, resources and friends they need to make healthy decisions about their futures. Their hope is that if the families are accepting—having more well-educated and positive conversations—that will trickle out into the community and eventually help change attitudes.

Encircle advocates that every single LGBTQ youth needs love and acceptance, and that knowledge and increased understanding are crucial to creating that space in homes and communities. You can learn more about the organization at encircletogether.org, or by contacting them at info@encircletogether.com.

 

What does Encircle offer?

Encircle programming will serve the needs of our three key populations: Family, Youth, and Community. We will provide a healthy mix of short- and long-term services as part of our programming. All programming will align with nationally recognized best practices and their expected outcomes in the following formats:

Encircle will host “Tuesday Talks” bringing in guest speakers to cover a variety of topics such as: ministering to LGBTQ people, suicide prevention, advocacy for your LGBT student, the ABC's of LGBTQ (alphabet soup) & best family practices.

Encircle will compile a thorough list of resources that can assist with mental health assessments, short term housing, medical care, individual counseling, mentorship, substance abuse, crisis management, etc. and refer appropriately. Encircle will provide space for outside support groups including but not limited to; Circles of Empathy, 12 step meetings, LDS ARP, USGA, PFLAG, UVU Spectrum Club & therapeutic recreational activities.

NOTE: Encircle will not provide housing - it is not a shelter. It will coordinate and collaborate with Volunteers of America and Wasatch Mental Health’s Vantage Point Center to secure housing and services for homeless youth.

Keynote Speakers

Host  guest speakers to cover a variety of topics to promote healing and mental wellness.

 

Community Events

Host concerts, service events, & festivals geared towards the family and youth. 

School Advocacy

Work with schools to create a safe space for our LGBTQ youth. 

 

Baked Goods

At Encircle we will always have home baked goods to welcome you.

REFERRALS 

Recommended LGBTQ friendly organizations, counseling and therapy

 

Classes

Free confidence building classes like Cooking, Art, Music, Yoga & Meditation.

Mentor Program

Connect individuals with other like minded groups of people who share common experiences. 

 

Substance abuse education

Substance abuse education and recovery support. In house space for support groups.

Family Unity

Host workshops to educate families on LGBTQ issues and promote love & acceptance within the family.

 

TRANS SUPPORT

Help raise awareness and provide resources to families of transgender youth.

 

We are here and we are not going anywhere.

Stephenie Larsen Board Chair, Executive Director Stephenie and her husband, Mitch, love Utah County and have chosen to raise their six children here. She received a law degree from J. Reuben Clark Law School. She is a member of the Utah State Bar. While living in Washington, D.C. Stephenie was an attorney for abused and neglected inner-city children. She worked on Capitol Hill for both the House Committee for Children, Youth & Family and Utah Congressman Bill Orton. In Washington, D.C, she also worked for the lobbying firm MacAndrew and Forbes. Stephenie has done clerkships with Parsons, Behle and Latimer, Justice Stirba, Senator Orin Hatch and Utah County Guardian ad Litems.  steph@encircletogether.org +1 (801) 995-2202

Stephenie Larsen

Board Chair, Executive Director

Stephenie and her husband, Mitch, love Utah County and have chosen to raise their six children here. She received a law degree from J. Reuben Clark Law School. She is a member of the Utah State Bar. While living in Washington, D.C. Stephenie was an attorney for abused and neglected inner-city children. She worked on Capitol Hill for both the House Committee for Children, Youth & Family and Utah Congressman Bill Orton. In Washington, D.C, she also worked for the lobbying firm MacAndrew and Forbes. Stephenie has done clerkships with Parsons, Behle and Latimer, Justice Stirba, Senator Orin Hatch and Utah County Guardian ad Litems. 

steph@encircletogether.org

+1 (801) 995-2202

Nina Brostrom Board Secretary Nina was raised in Farmington, UT and graduated from Brigham Young University with a Public Relations degree. Before starting a family with her husband Kyle, Nina worked for several years as a marketing director. Nina has spent the last 12 years raising children full time. Nina has had the privilege of being the confidant to loved ones who’ve struggled to reconcile their experience as LGBTQ members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These relationships have given Nina the desire to create better resources for LGBTQ individuals and families who are trying to gain understanding and help.

Nina Brostrom

Board Secretary

Nina was raised in Farmington, UT and graduated from Brigham Young University with a Public Relations degree. Before starting a family with her husband Kyle, Nina worked for several years as a marketing director. Nina has spent the last 12 years raising children full time. Nina has had the privilege of being the confidant to loved ones who’ve struggled to reconcile their experience as LGBTQ members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These relationships have given Nina the desire to create better resources for LGBTQ individuals and families who are trying to gain understanding and help.

Tom Christofferson Board Treasurer Tom Christofferson is a senior executive with First Data Corporation, responsible for strategic client relationships in the Western US.  Prior to joining First Data, Tom was a Managing Director at J.P. Morgan Investor Services for eighteen years, as global head of sales, client management and marketing.  Previously, he was a managing director at Barclays Global Investors, based in San Francisco and London, as Chief Administrative Officer and regional head of sales; and headed client management at Morgan Stanley Trust Company and also as managing director of Morgan Stanley Bank Luxembourg.  Tom describes himself as a “happy gay Mormon” and currently serves as Sunday School president in his Salt Lake City ward. 

Tom Christofferson

Board Treasurer

Tom Christofferson is a senior executive with First Data Corporation, responsible for strategic client relationships in the Western US.  Prior to joining First Data, Tom was a Managing Director at J.P. Morgan Investor Services for eighteen years, as global head of sales, client management and marketing.  Previously, he was a managing director at Barclays Global Investors, based in San Francisco and London, as Chief Administrative Officer and regional head of sales; and headed client management at Morgan Stanley Trust Company and also as managing director of Morgan Stanley Bank Luxembourg.  Tom describes himself as a “happy gay Mormon” and currently serves as Sunday School president in his Salt Lake City ward. 

Jared Connors Architectural & Interior Designer Jared Connors is owner of Jared Connors Design, an architectural design firm based in Utah Valley. He is known for custom homes, additions/remodels, and full architectural design services that focus on people. He has been creating for over twenty-five years and is in his twelfth year in his own business. He is honored to be the consulting designer for Encircle.

Jared Connors

Architectural & Interior Designer

Jared Connors is owner of Jared Connors Design, an architectural design firm based in Utah Valley. He is known for custom homes, additions/remodels, and full architectural design services that focus on people. He has been creating for over twenty-five years and is in his twelfth year in his own business. He is honored to be the consulting designer for Encircle.

Holly Alden Board Member Holly Tholstrom Alden is the director of the Alden Charitable Foundation which she operates jointly with her children, ages 17 to 25, to support philanthropic local efforts such as the ‘Holly House,’ a transitional home for familIes fleeing polygamy and her newest project, the Encircle house in Provo supporting LGBT youth. She has been involved in numerous entrepreneurial efforts over 27 years including Skullcandy, headquartered in Park City, UT and Stance Socks, based in San Clemente, California. She received her BA in Behavioral Sciences from Metropolitan State University in Colorado. She currently resides in Park City, Utah. Holly also sits on the board of Sunstone Symposium.

Holly Alden

Board Member

Holly Tholstrom Alden is the director of the Alden Charitable Foundation which she operates jointly with her children, ages 17 to 25, to support philanthropic local efforts such as the ‘Holly House,’ a transitional home for familIes fleeing polygamy and her newest project, the Encircle house in Provo supporting LGBT youth. She has been involved in numerous entrepreneurial efforts over 27 years including Skullcandy, headquartered in Park City, UT and Stance Socks, based in San Clemente, California. She received her BA in Behavioral Sciences from Metropolitan State University in Colorado. She currently resides in Park City, Utah. Holly also sits on the board of Sunstone Symposium.

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Karen Deysher

Board Member

Karen was raised in Reading, Pennsylvania and holds a Master of Social Work and Master of Public Administration from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. Her experience as a generalist social work practitioner has included the provision of services to individuals, groups, families, and communities in the fields of mental health, public housing, LGBTQ advocacy, and higher education. Karen is the Program Manager of LGBT Student Services at Utah Valley University, where she provides supportive services and educational programming in order to promote and support a community of inclusivity at UVU. 

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Katy Drake Bettner

Board Member

Katy has been an outspoken advocate for equality and social justice since childhood. She views her advocacy as inseparable from her testimony of Christ.  A gratefully recovering alcoholic since 2000, Katy has an extensive background in substance abuse and mental health intervention and treatment. She was recently released from a 5 year calling as an LDS stake family services missionary in the addiction recovery program and knows the value of having an advocate and a safe place to land.  In 2010, Katy and her husband Paul founded the Drake Bettner Foundation to support and empower people doing the hard work of building bridges, saving lives, and changing the world. Along with their three children, they split time between Sundance, Utah, and McKinney, Texas.

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Will Spendlove

Board Member

As the VP of Product Marketing, Will is one of Salesforce’s chief storytellers. With over 18 years of marketing and sales experience, his stories are pretty exciting (just ask him). Prior to Salesforce, Will was Senior Director of Sales Enablement at Embarcadero Technologies, he ran Sales Enablement for Vignette in Austin, TX, and was a Sales Rep at Symantec. He held marketing roles at EMC/Legato, Digital Signature Trust/Zions Bank, and was head anchor at KBYU news. Will holds an MBA from The University of Utah and a BA in Broadcast Communications from Brigham Young University

Barb Young

Board Member

For almost two decades, Barb has been a strong advocate for children and families, LGBTQ rights, and integrative healthcare. Barb has been recognized by the Human Rights Campaign, Affirmation, and the Arizona Interfaith Movement for her passionate work. Along with her husband, Steve Young, Barb co-chairs the Forever Young Foundation, serving children facing significant physical, emotional, and financial challenges by providing them with academic, athletic, and therapeutic opportunities. Barb created the foundation’s newest initiative, “Sophie’s Place”: a dedicated music therapy facility in children’s hospitals. Most notably, Barb finds her greatest joy raising four wonderful children, spanning from ages seven to fifteen, to be active, compassionate, thoughtful human beings.

Jacob Dunford

Freelance Creative Designer

Jacob is Creative Director at Dunford Creative, a marketing consulting business for non-profits. Jacob is responsible for Encircles photography, videos, website, and all other marketing/outreach materials...like this website!

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Lisa Hansen

Lisa Tensmeyer Hansen is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She earned an M.S. from BYU and is currently a doctoral candidate in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is an educational speaker on relationships, depression, anxiety and community/family support for marginalized youth and has been featured as the voice of mental health research on Mormon Matters podcasts. She specializes in couple and family distress, including issues of trust, power and emotion in relationships, alcohol and substance abuse, and best outcomes for families and individuals. She is an LGBTQ-positive therapist and welcomes clients of all sexual orientations. She and her husband, Bill, are the parents of seven children and a few extras.

All images/b-roll/videos are available for use by media with the credit: 

www.EncircleTogether.org and/or Encircle: LGBTQ Family & Youth Resource Center

Videos