Encircle LGBTQ family and youth center opening in Salt Lake City

Encircle LGBTQ family and youth center opening in Salt Lake City (Photo: Encircle: LGBT+ Family & Youth Resource Center/ Facebook)

(KUTV)- With one location already in Provo, Utah, Encircle: LGBTQ Family and Youth Resource Center announced the opening of its second center in Salt Lake City Wednesday evening.

Encircle found a beautiful house, now under contract, near the University of Utah and the Trolley Square Trax station that will hopefully become the next safe place where LGBT+ individuals can find understanding, information, and support within their families and communities.

Encircle, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was established in 2016 and opened its first center in downtown Provo with the mission to "empower families to sustain the circle of their love, enabling each member to thrive."

Created by founder and executive director, Stephenie Larsen, along with her uncle, John Williams, a prominent member of the community, the nonprofit's new house will be dedicated to Williams, in honor of his contributions to both the organization and the Salt Lake community.

“We are thrilled to be expanding into Salt Lake City where we can reach more youth and families. Our Provo house is bursting at the seams, with as many as 50 plus visitors a day. We are excited to expand our services to Salt Lake County and impact more lives,” expressed Larsen.

The Salt Lake location will offer services to LGBTQ youth, their families and the community—providing a loving space to gather, find support and create meaningful friendships. Encircle also strives to address the loneliness and high rates of suicide experienced among Utah’s sexual and gender minority youth and young adults.

Utah continues to have one of the highest suicide rates in the country, with suicide being the leading cause of death for young people in Utah and LGBTQ youth who are three times more likely to commit suicide than their "heterosexual" peers.

According to a recent study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in November 2017, the federal government recommended expanding mental healthcare focused on evidence-based methods and implementing prevention programs that focus on helping young people feel connected with their communities, schools, and families.

With the recommendations made by the CDC regarding Utah’s youth suicide rate, Utah Department of Human Services’ suicide prevention coordinator proposed that one of the ways Utah could improve efforts in addressing the alarming increase in youth suicide was through “creating more places where lesbian and gay youths can meet up” to strengthen connectedness.

Encircle wants to make progress in the prevention of teen suicide in Utah. The LGBTQ family resource center applauds Utah governor’s recently-announced youth suicide task force and looks forward to the contribution.

Stated in the press release, Encircle states:

Encircle embraces and sustains every LGBTQ+ youth, every family and every community—the organization aims to give LGBTQ youth and their families the space, resources, and community support they need to make healthy decisions about their futures. These services include individual and family therapy, support groups, training for Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) clubs statewide, and much more.

If you want to help support the opening of the new SLC center you can donate $10 monthly at Larger donations to help with the purchase price of the John Williams Encircle House in Salt Lake, now under contract, are now being sought.

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