The mission of Zebra Coalition® is to foster hope, dignity and self-respect in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and all youth (LGBT+), and to provide them an opportunity to grow up in a safe, healthy and supportive environment.
“Zebra has made me feel as if I actually belong in this world.”
Shannon, Zebra Youth
“Zebra has helped me be myself by surrounding me with like-minded peers who understand the struggle of being ostracized by the world.”
Nicole, Zebra Youth
“Zebra Coalition has given me a space in which I could express myself without feeling judged.”
Nate, Zebra Youth
“Zebra gave me a safe space to talk to my family and helped me get clothes during my transition.”
Maxx, Zebra Youth
“Zebra has helped me understand myself better through art and counseling.”
Justin, Zebra Youth
“Zebra Coalition makes me feel like I’m not the only LGBT person in the world.”
Jaz, Zebra Youth
“Zebra has taught me to stand up for myself and advocate for others.”
Ira, Zebra Youth
“The Zebra Coalition helps me feel comfortable and that there is no judgement.”
A Zebra Youth
Zebra Coalition has been providing housing and support services for homeless LGBT+ youth for over 6 years.
We are a very unique program comprised of 26 coalition partners that consist of service groups, government agencies, social service providers, churches, corporations and schools (middle, high, colleges and universities).
Funding for Zebra Coalition includes the Zebra Coalition Foundation & Board of Directors, Orlando Magic Youth Foundation, Department of Children and Families, City of Orlando, Disney and Universal. We also receive federal funding that is managed through Aspire Health Partners (Drug-Free Communities Grant).
In 2016, Zebra Coalition provided services to 182 youth at the drop-in center.
A total of 119 youth have been sheltered in the housing program at Zebra Coalition, and 26 homeless youth have been sheltered in 2016.
During the 2015-2016 academic year, Zebra Coalition provided outreach and training to 307 students from five high schools and 72 teachers and administrators from schools across Orange County. The “Creating Safe Spaces” curriculum is designed for both students and administrators to support LGBT+ youth through bullying prevention and social justice advocacy. Topics that are covered include a brief LGBT+ 101, issues that LGBT+ students face in the school in regards to safety and how to best support and advocate for LGBT+ students.
In addition to providing training to the schools, Zebra Coalition has also facilitated LGBT+ Cultural Competency training to local businesses, social service agencies and churches. In 2016, 155 people were trained on LGBT Cultural Competency. This training covers topics like terminology, sexual orientation and gender concepts, transgender culture, coming out process, types of oppression, macroaggressions and intersectionality.
In April 2016, Zebra Coalition held a GSA Meet-Up at the Youth Center for students, faculty sponsors and Safe Coordinators to discuss the specialized needs of LGBT+ youth and to launch our Zebra Student Ambassador Program. Over 25 people attended with representation from seven different schools, 15 youth and four sponsors. The purpose of the GSA Meet-Up was to provide a safe space for youth to connect with each other and meet members from across Central Florida.
The Zebra Coalition’s Youth Council, a committee of Central Florida youth ages 13-24, hosts activities and social gatherings for the community's youth that provide safe, healthy and supportive spaces and activities for youth to hang out with their friends. There are currently nine active youth members in the Youth Council, and meetings are on a weekly basis at the Youth Center.
The Zebra Youth Ambassador Project is part of the work of Zebra Coalition to ensure safe and affirming schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Zebra Youth Ambassadors provide a voice and perspective to the organization’s programming in partnership with staff and community allies.