Why have you started SAGE House?

SAGE House was born out of my love for my children and complete disbelief that any parent could reject their child for being their true self. I was shocked when two of my daughter’s friends were kicked out for coming out to their parents.  My position was: ‘If your parents won’t accept you for who you are, I’m your mom now’. 

What sort of programs will be in place once the house is established? Why are those programs needed in Collier County?

A residential site specifically for LGBTQ+ adolescents and young adults, along with additional supports services, including mental health care, would be as asset to the community as currently there is no agency in Collier County that meets these needs. In addition to providing a loving home and supportive environment, the programs at SAGE House will address the emotional, social, educational, physical, and mental health needs of homeless LGBTQ+ adolescents and young adults.  Providing peer support services, social activities, educational programs and workshops, advocacy, and referrals for LGBTQ+ youth, their families and friends, and the community, enhancing self-esteem, promoting healthy dialogue, and increasing awareness of gender and sexuality issues for adolescents and young adults are just a few of our priorities. 

What are your goals for the next three to five years? What priorities will help you achieve them? What barriers are in your way?

Our number one goal right now is to raise money in order to find a home for SAGE House.  Beyond that, we want to invest in finding the right staff as well as partner with community organizations to provide the absolute best programs. Creating a sustainable revenue stream through grants, donations, and other sources will also be key to our long-term success. Our biggest challenge now is to find donors that are passionate about our mission and willing to fund the purchase of a home.  Beyond that, sadly, we a major barrier is the persistent ignorance and misinformation about LGBTQ+ issues.