As we celebrate the start of a new year, we’d like to take a few minutes to share some of our plans for 2014 with you. We had an incredible year in 2013 and are poised to make 2014 even better!
Laramie Project Support
When The Laramie Project plays at Natrona County High School in Casper, Wyoming this spring, students will tell the story of one of their former cohorts. Matthew had been a student at Natrona before the Shepards moved abroad, and his childhood friend, Zach Schneider, will direct the play.
While we will work with many productions of the play, our in-depth work with Zach and the student thespians at Natrona will be a highlight of 2014 for us. If you know of a production in your area, encourage the director to contact us.
Erase Hate Speakers Bureau
Judy and Dennis Shepard will continue to speak about what Matthew meant to them and what we can all do to erase hate from our own lives. Judy will be speaking at the University of the Pacific in a month and we have many other events with the Shepards we hope to announce soon, including continuing our partnerships with the FBI, the Department of Justice and the Department of State.
Our work with Lesléa Newman will continue to grow as she tells her story of arriving at the University of Wyoming days after Matthew’s attack. We will be releasing classroom resources with our friends at GLSEN to help supplement her program and we are exited to build on that relationship.
Around the Web
MatthewsPlace.com will continue to grow as we provide resources and support to LGBT youth regardless of location. We are particularly excited to see what our bloggers will write about, as many of them reflect, from their unique positions, on approaching life milestones such as graduations. Last year, when Caleb, a 21 year-old, found Matt Neal’s blog on Matthew’s Place, he commented, “I am also a handicapped gay man and just needed to say thank you! You are an AMAZING and inspiring person.” In 2014 we hope to inspire many more users and provide them the tools to be happy, health, and productive members of the LGBT community.
Our 3rd Annual Financial February Presented by State Farm Bank will bring even more resources to Matthew’s Place that address the unique financial hurdles LGBT young people can face as they enter adulthood. We are thrilled to continue this partnership with our partners at State Farm.
You too can help Matthew’s Place by submitting your personal story to share with users. These stories of coming out, overcoming bullying, or talking about how Matthew’s story has impacted you, are incredibly useful and one of the most popular sections of the site.
We have many more programs and events planned here at the Foundation office, so we encourage you to continue to look out for our weekly eBlasts! They are full of information about our work and let you be the first to know about all of our big events.
Happy New Year!
MSF Executive Director