Whether you are seeing the Hillcrest Youth Center (HYC) space or its coordinator, Sophia Arrendondo, the axiom rings true: big things can come in small packages. While both are arguably diminutive in size, there is no question that a lot of love is packed into the space as well as the woman who runs it.
The youth center has called a couple locations home and has certainly evolved, but in their current location at Park Boulevard and Robinson Street, and under Arrendono’s leadership, the center is growing into a resource we want for our LGBTQ youth. With a focus on those aged 14 to 18 years old, the HYC fulfills the need to belong that many youth will not experience elsewhere during their childhood. Whether in a discussion group regarding coming out, playing video games or just chilling in the big, comfy red chair, visitors have an opportunity to shed the pressure of conforming to someone else’s vision and can instead just be themselves.
As well as being a safe place for coming to terms with one’s sexuality or gender identity, the center also celebrates that expression by feeding artistic outlets. The Changing Reels program, which are workshops that teach video recording and editing, have produced short films about topics including bullying, coming out and Hurricane Katrina.
Read the full story from Gay San Diego, a SDGLN content sharing partner, HERE.