Making a spot for everyone
October 20, 2023
For lots of us, a thriving neighborhood means feeling truly at home. Being at home means being yourself. But that can be hard when you’re struggling to connect to others.
Countless studies have shown that social isolation, just like diet, has a profound impact on our health and wellbeing. In a time when even connecting with your next-door neighbor can feel difficult, learning something new and sharing a meal can be a way to bridge that gap.
All this is especially true for people who’ve historically been pushed to the margins of society.
Growing in tough conditions
From Splitlog’s location next to ME Pearson Elementary, produce makes its way throughout the neighborhoods. This year, some of it went to youth from Our Spot KC, a KCK-based organization with the mission to provide safe, accepting, and affirming programming, services, and resources to empower the LGBTQ+ community.
Splitlog Farm and other community gardens help build on the power of food to build connections. CHWC and our partner KC Healthy Kids use those spaces to not only grow fresh local fruits and veggies but also community connections.
Youth at Our Spot KC live alongside each other every day, but the only thing they know they have in common is that they are all queer. While the most common and easily accessible queer spaces tend to be bars, these are not accessible to youth, sober people, or those who don’t feel comfortable in bars. Something like a meal is accessible to everyone.
The CSA provides kids with a safe conversation topic and shared activity. They help create “community that is sober with no pressure, no expectation to engage in anything you don’t want to, no need to be ‘on.’”
“This is our spot”
Our Spot KC was founded in 2016 by Star Palmer to address the need for safe housing services for queer youth and adults. As the LGBTQ+ community is targeted by legislation that make it increasingly difficult to find a safe space, Our Spot provides one place where queer people can just be themselves.
In addition to conducting local and national education and advocacy work, Our Spot KC also works directly with queer people experiencing housing insecurity to offer transitional housing and other support.
For the Our Spot team, it’s been great to see the kids in their youth-focused housing connect over something as simple as food. “They’ve started learning and experimenting and growing not only in their taste,” the team shared, “but in their willingness to experiment and try new things and create things on their own.”
“A spot for everyone”
Our neighborhoods thrive when people are connected and feel at home in their own community. Organizations like Our Spot help fill an important gap for our LGBTQ+ neighbors by not only addressing physical safety needs but safety in community connection.
In a time when the LGBTQ+ community is experiencing an escalating environment of hatred, and the spaces where queer youth can feel safe become few and far between, the work Our Spot does to make safe spaces for our LGBTQ+ neighbors is critical to building full, thriving communities where every person can feel at home. If you want to learn more, visit Our Spot’s website, where you can also volunteer or donate to their work.
Together, we’re investing in the power of our neighbors to build communities that thrive for generations. Want to be part of building communities where every person can thrive? Join us today!