LGBTQ+ - The Laurel Foundation honors Cher and Chaz Bono as co-recipients of The Laurel Foundation’s prestigious Youth Empowerment Award.
The award is given annually to an individual(s) who supports the empowerment of youth through equality, authenticity, LGBTQ+ rights and more. Cher and Chaz Bono were selected as the co-recipients for their ongoing activism for LGBTQ+ rights, and specifically for their work to build a better world for transgender/gender diverse youth and youth affected by HIV/AIDS.
“We are thrilled to present this year’s Youth Empowerment Award to Cher and Chaz Bono." said Margot Anderson, Founder/CEO of The Laurel Foundation. “This award honors the people who are helping to build a better world for our youth and who stand up for their rights. Cher and Chaz embody this award.”
The awards will be presented via video at The Leslies' Annual Toy Drive and Fundraiser on Saturday, December 3, 2022 in Palm Springs, California by The Honorable Lisa Middleton, Mayor of Palm Springs. The Honorable Lisa Middleton was first elected to the City Council in 2017 and is the first transgender person to be elected in California for a non-judicial position.
Lisa Middleton, Mayor Palm Springs Margot Anderson, Founder/CEO of The Laurel Foundation
The Laurel Foundation, has been changing the lives of thousands of children and youth affected by HIV/AIDS and transgender/gender diverse youth for over 30 years. "I have personally watched children come into our programs, with no hope for the future and literally after one week of camp, be empowered to change the world. I have watched children who dreamed of being a nurse, doctor or social worker so they could help other children like them, make their dreams come true. It is just so wonderful". Margot Anderson, Founder and CEO of The Laurel Foundation stated.
Last summer, The Laurel Foundation welcomed the return of their in-person resident camp sessions to children and youth affected by HIV/AIDS and transgender / gender diverse youth. The youth connected with friends and made new friends in the safe, affirming wilderness camp setting. Youth were supported by volunteer mentor counselors and volunteer medical staff and mental health staff. "Camp is a magical place. The youth feel safe to open up and tell us how they are feeling, so we can support them and offer the necessary life skills needed so they can overcome the adversities they face. All while hiking a mountain, swimming in a pool or riding a horse. Magic!"
The Laurel Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides free year-round mental health and social support programs to empower transgender/gender diverse youth and youth affected by HIV/AIDS. For more than thirty years, they have created a safe space where youth can be their authentic selves, build peer support groups and learn from volunteer role models.