Part of what makes Salt Lake City (and America, herself, for that matter) so great is diversity. Few things warm our COLLECTIVE hearts more than watching someone be unapologetically themselves, and to see that someone accepted and embraced by their community. Now, more than ever, we feel the need to raise a voice and hold open a hand for those who may feel cast aside, so when we heard there was a new LGBT+ Youth and Family Resource Center opening its doors in Provo, we jumped at the opportunity to sing their praises. It's called Encircle, and their mission is simple: no sides, only love.
Though its new home--Provo's William D. Alexander House--was built in 1891, Encircle opened its doors just a short week ago. And, since the stick-style Victorian space is said the be the only one of its kind in Utah, we think the house itself serves as the perfect metaphor for the folks it's meant to hold inside. There's a powerful sort of beauty in its uniqueness, and we think it speaks volumes for Encircle's message. The entrance of the house is announced by a welcoming front porch, and, upon entering, one is immediately greeted by smiling faces and an overwhelming sense of "home". Designers for the space wanted to keep the structure in its truest historical form, and to that, we breathe a COLLECTIVE sigh of relief (the avant-garde staircase with custom firework balustrades is just another example of Encircle's willingness to embrace the notion of proudly proclaiming one's difference). Each of the eight rooms was planned with purpose in mind--from receiving room to project rooms--and the art that covers the walls was donated by local artists to show their support. The house is truly the work of Provo's communal efforts, and the outpouring of support is inspired, to say the least.
An astounding 62% of Utah's LGBT+ youth attempt suicide. In recent studies, those that are shown love and acceptance are 8x less likely to attempt suicide. Encircle set out on a mission to provide solutions to this epidemic through love, acceptance, and support to all youth and their families. Their scope of services within the community ranges from inspirational "Tuesday Talks"--a confidence-building program that includes cooking, art, yoga, and meditation--to school advocacy, counseling, and so much more. There's a whole lot of "yes" going on here, and we urge you to check them out and--if you feel so compelled--lend 'em a hand. Love is love, y'all. Let's take care of each other.