Inside Out Youth Services is one of a kind in southern Colorado.
"Sometimes home isn't a safe place. And then sometimes school is the same story," said Keeley Griego with Inside Out, an organization that offers a community center and supportive services to LGBTQ+ kids, teens and young adults. "We offer free on-site clinicians. We have a school advocate. We have a lot of different ways that we can support them."
There are several different kinds of services that are critical for the community any day, and particularly important after one specific day last year.
"Club Q ... it changed everything, for all of us," said Griego.
With one safe haven in the city now the scene of a horrific crime, Inside Out stepped in.
"There was a lot of grief, but we also — we had to work," said Griego.
To be there for the community during such a hard time was the priority, but in the aftermath of the shooting, safety concerns limited their efforts.
"We had to close our community center for several months after the shooting because we also experienced a lot of hate messages, and we were also getting threats," Griego said.
The lack of the physical community center itself didn't stop the organization from doing what it could.
Since November 2022, 962 people have used the group's online discord server or off-site programs. Nearly 200 therapy sessions have been held, and 644 people were impacted by community training events hosted by Inside Out for businesses or community groups.
"An intro to LGBTQIA+, talking about the different terms. What are pronouns? Why are they important? How can you, every day, better support LGBTQIA+ young people?" said Griego.
The number of training events they held after the shooting doubled compared to the same time the year before. It's a good sign for organizations like Inside Out that other members of the Colorado Springs community are wanting to be better allies.
"Our one community center here in Colorado Springs is not enough for the young people that we serve, and it's never going to be enough until our entire community is safe, welcoming and affirming," Griego said.
This story was originally published by Danielle Kreutter at Scripps News Denver.
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