Hrc_logoNavigating the trials and tribulations of life as a middle school or high school student can prove to be emotionally exhausting and difficult for many adolescents. For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths, the road can be even tougher.

According to the Human Rights Campaign’s “Growing Up LGBT in America” report, 51 percent of LGBTQ youth have been verbally harassed at school, compared with 25 percent of students who do not identify as LGBTQ. In addition, 63 percent of LGBTQ youths said they thought they would need to move to another part of the country to feel accepted.

To promote the safety, inclusion and mental well-being of LGBTQ youths, HRC is launching its Youth Well-Being Project. Coupled with a national conference, Time to THRIVE, the project will provide training, technical assistance and best practice tools to help K-12 teachers and youth-focused organizations such as after-school enrichment programs, recreational sports leagues, summer camps, family counseling centers and job training centers to better serve young people in the LGBTQ community.

Time to THRIVE, which will take place Feb. 14-16 in Las Vegas, aims to bring LGBTQ awareness and cultural competency to attendees. Attendees will also have the opportunity to learn best practices from experts and organizations in the field. The conference is accepting workshop and presenter proposals until Oct. 11.

The American Counseling Association is partnering with HRC on the conference as a member of its host committee, and ACA Executive Director Rich Yep is thrilled that the association is supporting such an important endeavor.

“For those who advocate for the safety of all our nation’s children, adolescents and young adults, the Time to THRIVE conference will be one of the most important events to attend in 2014,” he says. “The networking, professional resources and educational sessions will provide these advocates with the information and support they will need to ensure that their communities are supportive of those who are most vulnerable to bullying, taunting and violence.”

For more information and to register, visit

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Contact her at