Pride for Youth is a service and an advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) youth. Our mission is to enhance the health, wellness and cultural competency of LGBTQ young people through supportive services, education and youth development.
We believe that LGBTQ young people are courageous, bright, creative and exceptional youth that enhance our communities. Formidable barriers such as homophobia, stigma, lack of understanding and institutionalized bias prevent some of them from achieving their potential. Pride for Youth offers a matrix of opportunities and supports that assist LGBTQ youth with their healthy development, break through obstacles to their success, and create a more responsive community in which they can grow.
In 1993, Long Island Crisis Center started Pride for Youth at a time when support and outreach to LGBTQ youth on Long Island was virtually non-existent. Pride for Youth has grown to encompass multiple services addressing many of the needs of LGBTQ youth and their families.
- Pride for Youth created the Coffeehouse program in 1995 – the first suburban coffeehouse for LGBTQ youth in the country.
- We began airing public service announcements on MTV in the mid 90’s - one of the first mass media outreach strategies for LGBTQ youth nationwide.
- In 2001, Pride for Youth launched an action research project, which documented that 94% of Long Island students are exposed to homophobia in their schools and one in ten have been victimized because of their perceived sexual orientation.
- With the new millennium’s startling HIV resurgence among young gay and bisexual men of color, Pride for Youth led the way to building a healthier generation of young people through its culturally-sensitive Young Men’s Program, initiated in 2003
- Pride for Youth seeded and stewarded Gay-Straight Alliances in several high-need Nassau County school districts from 2004 through the present.
- In 2006, working with corporate partners such as CMP Media, Pride for Youth launched an employment mentoring program for LGBTQ youth.
- In 2009, transgender teens found their own place to share their specific concerns and build pride through Pride for Youth’s Trans Support Group.
Pride for Youth is a not-for-profit, 501c(3) organization, and we are extremely grateful to the government agencies, private foundations, corporations and individuals who make our vital work possible.
We cannot do this work alone and graciously accept donations of any size from persons who want to support our vision of a better world for the youngest generation of LGBTQ people. Please visit our Donations page for more information.
In 2010, Pride for Youth received financial contributions from the following government agencies, private foundations and corporations:
- New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute
- Paul Rapoport Foundation
- Horace and Amy Hagedorn Fund of the Long Island Community Foundation
- New York State Office of Mental Health (made possible by Senator Craig Johnson)
- Nassau County Bar Association
- Accounts Retrievable System
- Orasure Technologies
- National Grid
- Long Island Ravens MC Fund
- Medford Chemists
In early 2006, Pride for Youth established an Alumni Program to help former participants stay involved with the organization and maintain the network of friends they made while attending our programs. Many alumni are looking for ways to give back to the place that was a big part of their lives as teenagers. The Alumni Program provides the venue to contribute so that Pride for Youth remains an outstanding resource for LGBTQ youth for many years to come.
Here are some ways that alumni are contributing to Pride for Youth:
- Speaking at the Coffeehouse
- Soliciting donations from their employer
- Organizing fundraisers
- Serving on the Board of Directors or Advisory Board
- Volunteering to chaperone special events
- Making a donation of money or goods
Look for this page to expand as our Alumni Program grows. To get involved, contact Jill Estes, JEstes@longislandcrisiscenter.org., (516) 679-9000, ext. 124.
Pride for Youth collaborates with many local and national organizations that share a similar vision and purpose in order to augment our efforts. We have listed below links to some of our community partners along with other helpful websites that may be a resource for young people, family members, and/or adult allies.
Friends of PFY:
BiasHELP Long Island
Long Island Association for AIDS Care
Gay & Lesbian Switchboard of Long Island
Pride Alliance of Long Island
||Pride for Youth
2050 Bellmore Ave.
Bellmore, NY 11710
||See Staff Directory below
Pete Carney - DIRECTOR
Pete supervises Pride for Youth’s day-to-day operations and program staff. He is responsible for grant writing and the management of all government and foundation grants to the program. Pete is available to present LGBTQ sensitivity workshops to other professionals working with youth. In addition, Pete provides counseling to young gay/bi men and their families.
A New York State licensed master social worker, Pete has 16 years experience working in the field. He has worked with youth at a residential drug and alcohol treatment center and provided interventions to at risk youth in school and home settings. Prior to joining Pride for Youth in 2008, Pete spent six years working with Deaf-Blind adults and created and facilitated a ground-breaking LGBTQ support group for Deaf-Blind adults. Through this work experience Pete has developed skill in American Sign Language. Pete has provided training on various mental health/disability topics for other professionals throughout the country including service providers in Alabama, Washington and Texas. He is a graduate of Marywood University and Misericordia University School of Social work.
Contact Pete: PCarney@longislandcrisiscenter.org or 516-679-9000 ext. 11
Tawni J. Engel - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
Tawni assists in supervising Pride for Youth’s day-to-day operations. She oversees our Counseling and Community Education programs, and carries a caseload of individuals and families. She also provides direct supervision to staff and student interns.
Tawni has a Masters in Mental Health Counseling degree at CW Post/Long Island University, as well as a B.A. in sociology from Hunter College. Tawni has been a lifelong ally of the LGBTQ community and came on board to PFY as an intern in 2009.
Contact Tawni: TEngel@longislandcrisiscenter.org or 516-679-9000, ext. 12
Galo Cunto - SEXUAL HEALTH PROMOTION PROGRAM SUPERVISOR
Galo provides HIV education and counseling to young gay men in the community and oversees the Mpowerment program, which serves young gay and bisexual men, ages 17-24. He works at Coffeehouse on Friday nights, coordinates all HIV and STD screening that takes place in the agency, and is available to present professional trainings on HIV and STD’s. In addition, Galo supervises Pride for Youth’s Sexual Health Education Specialist.
Galo comes from an HIV education/prevention background. He is trained in HIV counseling and testing and has worked with LGBTQ men and women in New York City. Galo is bilingual (English/Spanish). He has a B.A. in psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and is currently working on his Master’s in Social Work at Adelphi University.
Contact Galo: GCunto@longislandcrisiscenter.org or 516-679-9000, ext. 20
Jill Estes - PROGRAM LEADER COORDINATOR
Jill supervises Pride for Youth’s Program Leader Program wherein she recruits and trains LGBTQ young people to educate their peers about HIV/AIDS, STD/STI, teenage pregnancy, homophobia and other issues. She oversees all aspects of the Program Leaders to include the maintenance of a youth run online blog as well as youth involvement in Pride for Youth’s Youth/Adult Consortium. She also provides Homophobia and Transphobia workshops in middle and high schools throughout Long Island. In addition, Jill is available for GSA support and workshops on how to be an effective LGBTQ ally.
A PFY alumna, Jill has been a strong LGBTQ advocate since her high school years and during her first year of employment at PFY had been the Community Educator presenting Understanding Homophobia and Transphobia workshops to over 2,000 students throughout Long Island.
Contact Jill: JEstes@longislandcrisiscenter.org or 516-679-9000, ext. 16
Erin Furey - SOCIAL WORKER
Erin serves as a program Social Worker in various capacities at Pride for Youth, providing counseling to youth and their families, running therapeutic groups, workshops/educational outreach and supporting all the great programs here at PFY, such as Coffeehouse. Erin is also responsible for PR, marketing, promotions and fundraising at PFY.
Erin has an MSW from Columbia University where she was elected as the Student Government Vice President. She holds a B.A. in Women’s Studies from Stonybrook Univeristy and an A.A. in Theatrical Performance from Suffolk CCC. Erin comes from a background in working with LGBTQQ youth who have been incarcerated, with Autism and who are undocumented. Erin is also a professional musician who often directs youth programming at local theatres. Erin frequently uses art and music in her social work practice and was recently selected to represent the Levi Strauss Jean Company as a Spokesmodel for her work with local youth. Erin had her first interaction with Pride for Youth when she performed in the Broadway musical RENT and decided to host a fundraiser for PFY – she’s been a proud PFY’er ever since!
Contact Erin: EFurey@longislandcrisiscenter.org or 516-679-9000, ext. 17
Christopher Reid - SEXUAL HEALTH EDUCATIO SPECIALIST
Chris assists with all aspects of Pride for Youth’s Mpowerment program, co-facilitating M-Groups, Core Groups and community outreach. He also manages our condom distribution system, and helps with the orientation of new participants at Coffeehouse.
Chris began as a participant at Pride for Youth in 2007, and soon thereafter became a Peer Educator. Chris has conducted workshops at the Nassau County HIV Commission’s Annual World AIDS Day conference (♥B.E.A.T.S.), the Nassau County Human Rights Commission’s annual conference, in addition to many other school and agency settings. He is a student at Nassau Community College, pursuing study in social work.
Contact Chris: CReid@longislandcrisiscenter.org or 516-679-9000, ext. 14
Meredith Barranco - PROGRAM ASSISTANT
Meredith is in charge of managing the office, provides clerical support to the administrative staff and helps keep PFY’s programs and events running smoothly. Meredith is also the primary point of contact for Community Education scheduling.
Meredith started as a participant at Pride for Youth in 2007, became a Peer Educator/Program Leader in 2008, and has been working with the agency ever since. She has been an integral part of several PFY projects, including the Program Leaders’ HIV workshop and Youth-Adult Consortium. Meredith studied Sociology at CUNY Hunter, but recently changed career paths and is pursuing her dream of becoming a veterinary technician.
Contact Meredith: MBarranco@longislandcrisiscenter.org or 516-679-9000, ext. 10