7 May 2019
For Immediate Release:
ENCIRCLE OPENING THIRD LGBTQ+ YOUTH
CENTER IN ST GEORGE
Encircle, an LGBTQ+ Family and Youth Resource Center, will be opening a third location in St. George, Utah in late 2019 or early 2020. Utah has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the nation, with St. George above the state’s average, according to the Utah Department of Health. Additionally, LGBTQ+ youth, who experience isolation and bullying at higher rates, are approximately four times as likely to attempt suicide compared to their peers. In hopes of not only saving lives but of empowering this vulnerable population, Encircle seeks to bring together the families and community of Utah’s LGBTQ+ youth to help them thrive.
The nonprofit selected St. George as the next location to open an Encircle Home, with hopes of reaching LGBTQ+ young people and their families in Utah’s largest city outside of the Wasatch Front and one of the country’s fastest growing metropolitan areas. Encircle’s team recognized that, even with the successful efforts made by community members in Southwestern Utah to create a safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people, the area has limited services that address the specific needs of Utah’s LGBTQ+ youth that live there.
Encircle offers life-saving programs for LGBTQ+ youth and young adults, free and subsidized counseling for LGBTQ+ individuals and families, friendship circles (i.e. support groups), opportunities to create community, and much more. Gabbi (age 14) from Orem shared, “Encircle has helped me so much and keeps me sane. It’s the highlight of my day and I wouldn’t be here without it or the people [there]. I love it.”
In addition to St. George, Encircle operates two other homes—one in Provo, which opened in 2017, and another in Salt Lake City, which opened in February of this year. In 2018, Encircle served over 10,000 individuals in its Provo location alone.
The location of the future resource center, built in 1869 by an early pioneer, is nestled among old-fashioned roses with huge canopied trees that cool and protect the old house. Jared Connors, Provo-based architect who has worked with Encircle previously, described the building: “Like the homes in Provo and Salt Lake City this one has a character of its own—a simple gabled rectangle with shed-roof side rooms and exposed original interior brick walls here and there. With simple and minor renovations both house and yard will maintain an integrity established many years ago, while accepting and nurturing the families and youth that will come to rest, learn and connect there.”
Encircle’s founder and chief executive officer, Stephenie Larsen, desires that each resource center create a warm and welcoming atmosphere where those that visit feel at home. She explains, “I want the LGBTQ+ young people living in St. George and its surrounding communities to have a safe place that they can come to and find a community that embraces and accepts them just as they are, without reservation. I want these kids and their families to know they are not alone. We are excited to work with the people of St. George to not only save lives, but to help our LGBTQ+ youth reach their full potential while living authentically.”
Salt Lake City resident, Liam (age 21), related his experience at Encircle, “It’s a place of safety and comfort when most places and people don’t feel very safe or comforting.”
The nonprofit organization is able to create a loving, welcoming space through the support of generous donors, dedicated volunteers and the greater community.
From mountains to red rocks, we're there to welcome you home. Encircle St. George opens its doors Fall 2019.