Time to Shine
Hope and support for those who push past the system and want to own who they are
Adolescence can feel like a chasm, and we want to help our kids get to the other side.
Many parents tell me they feel overwhelmed and out of their depth when trying to shepherd their child through the struggles of the world. Teens can feel out of place and bullied because of their gender or sexual orientation.
It's hard enough to navigate the world as an adult, even more so as a teen just trying to figure out life. When so much hatred and bigotry surround us, how can help our kids grow into strong, confident adults?
Many parents fear that their kids might never find a place where they belong. They want their kids to feel confident and connected with others, despite bullying, anxiety, or isolation they face.
Parents have told me if their child doesn't get support, they're afraid that the teen will suffer:
- Increasing anxiety, making it difficult to use their abilities, intelligence, and talents
- Worsening self-harm
- Mistrusting others and having difficulty forming relationships
- Inability to navigate school and work systems
- Developing addictions to alcohol or other drugs
- Shutting themselves off from the world
- Withdrawing from the family and loosing connections with their parents
It doesn't have to suck forever
I say this again and again because it's true: it doesn't have to suck forever. Yes, things are hard. Yes, things can be scary and feel like they're too much. No, it doesn't always have to be this way.
Getting guidance from a professional in a supportive peer environment can be life-changing. Having a safe space - one where it's okay to be sad and angry and confused - can help teens figure out who they are and feel connected to something greater than the chaos around them.
In my years of work with LGBTQA+ people, I have found professional support has unparalleled benefits.
I've seen teens in support groups:
- Learn to trust others and open up about their struggles
- Manage their overwhelming feelings in positive ways, including creating music, reaching out to friends, and decorating their rooms as a safe space
- Figure out ways to navigate organizational structures (such as schools, religious communities, extra-curricular structures) to get what they need in order to be successful
- Become advocates for and give hope to other people who are struggling in the community
- Communicate with their parents about their fears, hopes, and passions - which in turn often allows them to really hear their parents' love and admiration
Time to Shine is an ongoing support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, transgender, and self-identified "queer" youth. There are multiple cohorts based on age and maturity. Enrollment is currently open for middle school teens (12-14), high school teens (14-18), and college-aged adults (17-23).
Parents and/or young adults can get started by registering below.