Friday, January 27

Ohio LGBTQ+ youth (12-24) *NEEDED* for “Ohio Thrives Needs Assessment”

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Data collection has begun on the Ohio Thrives Needs Assessment, an effort to yield data looking at the intersections of LGBTQ+, disability, and racial identities for young people ages 12-24.

The assessment is a partnership between Kaleidoscope Youth Center and the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council. The goal is to yield recommendations to local organizations and governments on how they can better serve these communities. 

There are three opportunities for input:

  1. An anonymous online survey for youth 12-24
  2. A one-hour, paid focus group for youth 12-24
  3. A 30-45 unpaid stakeholder interview for youth-serving professionals

The Buckeye Flame spoke with Lane Shirrell, Community Education and Research Manager at Kaleidoscope to learn more about this data collection initiative.

Give us the background on the project.
Kaleidoscope Youth Center (KYC) got a grant from the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council to do a study looking at the intersections of race, developmental disability, and LGBTQ+ identities. KYC expanded the definition of developmental disability to include mental health disorders and really anything that could impact day-to-day functioning.

So there are three different methods for input. Let’s start with the survey. What are some of the topics?
They survey asks questions about physical mobility in various locations schools, workplaces, places of spiritual practice, etc. 504 and IEP plans, whether those around them respect their LGBTQ+ identity, and what resources they are able to access.

And then there are focus groups?
Yes, which I am scheduling this month moving forward. Those will be groups of 6-8 youth. We get together for an hour and it’s paid through a gift card at a living wage. And we will talk about all of the same issues.

And then finally stakeholder interviews?
The third component is indeed stakeholder interviews. Those are for youth-serving professionals or parents, anybody who is close to these youth with these identities who can talk about what challenges they are encountering and what resources they need access to. It’s all the same questions but in a slightly different capacity.

What will you do with all of this collected info?
All of this data collection will take place from May to November. In December, I will write a white paper making recommendations to school districts, the City of Columbus, interested workplaces, all about what they can do, what structures they can put in place to help people with these identities, and specific dollars and funds recommendations to the City of Columbus as to where they can distribute their money to support these individuals.

So the idea is actual change?

Any goals for participation rates?
We would like to get more non-white participants up. We started at 60% white respondents and now we’re up to 90% white respondents. So we need to get more responses from the entire community. 🔥

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About Author

Ken Schneck is the Editor of The Buckeye Flame. He received the 2021 Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for the LGBTQ Journalist of the Year from the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists. He is the author of "Seriously, What Am I Doing Here? The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew" (2017), "LGBTQ Cleveland" (2018), "LGBTQ Columbus" (2019), and "LGBTQ Cincinnati" (2020). In his spare time, he is a professor of education at Baldwin Wallace University.

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