Based in the Washington, DC, metropolitan region, SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders) supports and empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth ages 6-24.
Through youth leadership and daily community programs, SMYAL creates opportunities for LGBTQ youth to build self-confidence, develop critical life skills, and engage their peers and community through service and advocacy. Committed to social change, SMYAL builds, sustains & advocates for programs, policies & services that LGBTQ youth need as they grow into adulthood. In addition to working in schools and communities across the DMV, SMYAL has a comprehensive housing program for homeless LGBTQ youth that provides safe & stable shelter, food, case management services, crisis intervention, and community support for its residents. To further meet one of LGBTQ youth’s most pressing needs, SMYAL also provides free affirming mental health counseling through their Clinical Services Department. Through this unique program, queer and trans youth have a space where they do not have to worry about how they’re going to pay for services or have to educate their therapist on LGBTQ issues. Instead, they can just focus on themselves. With programs tailored towards the individual needs of each young person who walks through their doors, SMYAL works to ensure that LGBTQ youth have access to resources, support, and community at every step of their journey.